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Can you water grass too much?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by whitenack, May 31, 2007.

  1. whitenack

    whitenack LawnSite Member
    Posts: 78

    I sowed some grass seed early spring.

    I sowed some tall fescue with a little bit of annual ryegrass. Both have been doing well, with the ryegrass, obviously, doing better.

    We are going through a drought right now, and I hadn't noticed but my fescue has been struggling. The rygrass has been doing fine, and I hadn't noticed the fescue browning.

    Now that I have noticed, I am ready to put the water to it.

    Is there such a thing as watering too much?

    Obviously I'm not talking about 24 hr watering, and we are on a slight grade so there is no pooling of water. Can I water every day and be fine?
  2. NickN

    NickN LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Posts: 1,010

    Yes,you can definately water too much.Watering everyday will cause your grass to have a shallow root system.The roots won't have to search for water.
    Also,watering in the evening,which would seem to save from evaporation,can cause fungus due to excessive moisture on the leaves.So,water in the morning.
    Water every other day and change your routine every now and then.M,W,and Friday for a while,then switch to T,T,and Saturday for a while.
    On a slope,you need to water for a longer period due to runoff.
    Raise the cutting height of your mower also,during hot months.The longer the leaf,the more moisture it's able to hold.
  3. whitenack

    whitenack LawnSite Member
    Posts: 78

    Nick N.,

    Thanks for the reply. Does the every-other-day rule apply to newly sowed grass also?
  4. NickN

    NickN LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Posts: 1,010

    If you're talking grass that hasn't emerged yet,then no.You need to keep the ground moist until the seed germinates and you can't pull the grass up by the root.
    If you're talking about grass that has sprouted and can't be pulled out of the soil,then yes.That grass needs to be weaned from every day watering.
  5. whitenack

    whitenack LawnSite Member
    Posts: 78

    thanks! ......
  6. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,781

    If the rye looks better than the fescue, I would say you are already at an over watering point. Every other day is better than every day, but I personally like every third day or even every fourth or fifth when the weather will permit. The agronomic answer to "how often and much should I water?" is to water as much as the soil will hold (in most cases 1" of water and 50% of that is not plant available) and don't water again until the plants are near stress (at or aproaching the 50% mark) If you have very tight clay or slopes, use short multiple runs to allow the water to soak in. I recomend watering .5" at time total. This replaces the water that the soil will release to the plant material (grass or landscape). In 100+degree heat, you will still mow every week watering every third day if you apply .5" per watering cycle. The exception to this may be arid climates with very low humidity. FWIW, for most irrigation systems, a good rule of thumb to get that .5" precip rate is one hour total run time on rotary zones and 15-20min on spray zones. For tight clay or slopes, run 25% of that four times with staggered start times to let the water soak in.
  7. dwost

    dwost LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,666

    I may be a different case since I'm irrigated but I have 9 zones total and run each zone for 1.5 hours every 5 days unless there is rain. Deep watering and longer spans are the rule of thumb. Short and quick will burn out faster.
  8. Mic_bug

    Mic_bug LawnSite Member
    from N.B. MI
    Posts: 201

    9 zones at 1.5 each is over 13 hours...
    do you do it in one day or over many days( mornings only)?
  9. dwost

    dwost LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,666

    Correct, it starts at 7:00 PM and finishes up around 8:30 the next day. I know watering at night is not ideal but I've been doing this for about 6 years and have never had issues with fungus or anything else. If I was watering that much each day or every other I'd have all kinds of issues. Since it's only running every 5 days (unless there is rain) I've not had any issues other than high water bills :)
  10. North Ga

    North Ga LawnSite Member
    from Georgia
    Posts: 65

    You know I hear everyone saying dont water at night because it causes water fungus alot.IMO I think its just a rumor that isnt true.

    Reason I say that is how many times does it rain at night?Alot(probaly more than it does during the day it seems) and ive never had any problems.I also water alot at night and also never had any problems whatsoever.

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