Need tips for retaining moisture

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by MrC, May 30, 2007.

  1. MrC

    MrC LawnSite Member
    from Jersey
    Posts: 189

    My backyard tends to get direct sunlight all day. Any water (30 min) I put down in the morning seems to be sucked out. When I get home it seems like I never watered it. The soil is arid and the grass is browning. I've been cutting my lawn (kb, tall fescue, rye) at 3.5" but I'm thinking I may need to go to 4". Should I spread peat moss to retain water? Any tips?
     
  2. Focal Point Landscapes

    Focal Point Landscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 401

    If the soil is compacted , core aeration is needed - it will allow the soil to accept deeper watering. If you water every day for 30 minutes , you are likely to be causing the roots to go shallow . You need to water at least one inch and do it every three to four days , put a cup or pan out and see how long it takes for your system to do this - it could vary by zone. Definately unnecessary to water every day . Look closely when you irrigate to see if the water is soaking into the soil or just running off the watered area . A heavy mower will cause soil compaction over time , regardless of soil type . Heavy thatch will shed water and impede the effectiveness of your irrigation - just some random thoughts ....
     
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,082

    30 minutes isn't much. We typicically go 60 to 90, three times a week. Obviously cutting high and and adding organic matter can only help. More fertilizer than water is a common problem in our area. If you are high maintenance in fertilizer you need to be high maintenance in water. Saturate once and see how long it remains vibrant. Put a pan in the middle somewhere and see how many inches you get per week. 1 inch per week is average. Sandy soils can use more.
    .rick.
     
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,082

    Simutaneus post. Not intentional to repeat, and great additional points.
    .rick.
     
  5. Focal Point Landscapes

    Focal Point Landscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 401

    Great minds think alike , maybe. We are in the clutches of a major drought throughout the southeast and water restrictions are getting tighter every week . I water the centipede in my yard once per week , but for at least two hours , which gives me more than an inch . Turf is green , with no dry patches because the roots go deep. I am changing the timers on all of my clients' yards to irrigate no more than twice per week . We may be under a total ban on outdoor water use before this is over , so I want to get the roots as deep as possible asap .
     
  6. MrC

    MrC LawnSite Member
    from Jersey
    Posts: 189

    So 30 minutes was not enough. I thought anything past that was way to much. So 60-120 min. is not uncommon? I curious what the average is?
     
  7. Focal Point Landscapes

    Focal Point Landscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 401

    This will vary significantly , depending on system design - pipe size , nozzle size , water pressure , and a lot of variables . The only way to know how much water your putting out is to catch it in a can or some type of container. It is best to water deeply and less frequently , particularly when it is hot and dry. If you put one inch of water on the turf , the ground should be moist up to six inches deep - turfgrass roots will go even deeper than that.
     

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