New Homeowner - Couple of Questions

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by Watwood, Jul 17, 2006.

  1. Watwood

    Watwood LawnSite Member
    Messages: 31

    Hey y'all, I just found this site and it looks like it will be a great source of information. I closed on this house Friday and unless you're blind you can see what the builder dares to call "grass" is a bit on the dry side...



    My main goal right now is to get the yard watered properly and I have read that the best time to water is in the early morning hours.

    My questions are how long should I water the yard in the mornings and how many days a week?

    Also, I can't afford an irrigation system right now, so I will be using hoses and sprinklers. Any recommendation on a good quality sprinkler that will put out the right amount of water. My local choices are Tractor Supply, Home Depot, and Lowes unless you have a better place to buy from.

    I live in Huntsville, AL which is notorious for red clay. The builders just threw Bermuda sod on top of that red clay, so the ground is very hard right now to say the least. Any suggestions would be helpful.

  2. Steelratt

    Steelratt LawnSite Member
    from CNY
    Messages: 59

    I've installed several irrigation systems myself. For a property that size, it would only run a few hundred dollars, plus your own labor. Honestly, moving sprinklers around is a massive pain in the tush, especially since you want the water to be down early in the morning. All it really takes is a bit of planning, then renting a trencher and gluing pipe together. The hardest part would be getting the manifolds connected to your water line, and even that isn't too hard, depending on your setup.

    As for the soil, clay is really a pain. In my experience with clay, the root systems of the grass never got very deep due to the density of the soil. I was stuck with it in the front where the contractor put it down, but in the back I tilled in a ton of organic material (compost) which made the soil back there a lot more lawn-friendly.

    If you MUST go with a hose and sprinkler setup, I like the gear drive rotarys more than an impact-type. Oscillating arent too bad either, especially since they give a nice rectangle-shaped coverage pattern, so you can kind of plan out how you want to move it around ahead of time.

    EDIT: Wouldn't hurt to rent a plug aerator, or have someone do it for you, to loosen up the soil. It'll help promote root development. In the fall, rent a power rake/overseeder and hit the whole lawn. It'll dig up the soil and pull up your thatch, and thrown down grass seed into the loosened soil at the same time.
  3. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,361

    New sod you better get out there tonight and water completely 15 minutes on each section. It will need to be watered every day to keep that sod from dying way back. After two weeks then you can go to a three day schedule maybe. Can't imagine trying to water that much new grass with sprinklers you wil have your hands full.
  4. Watwood

    Watwood LawnSite Member
    Messages: 31

    Here's another question, if I am running two sprinklers off of the same spout coming out of the house, will that significantly hinder the pressure output or will it be ok? My plan is to set out 4 sprinklers in the yard covering the whole area of the yard and turning them on at 6 in the morning and cutting them off at 7. If I do decide to install a sprinkler system myself it will be a while because I need to read up on how to install one, and by the time I would be ready it will be August. School will start then and I have two semester left in school, taking 15 hours each semester, so I won't be spending too much time installing sprinkler systems.
  5. LarryF

    LarryF LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,181

    I missed this one the first time around, but I use one of those so-called "traveling sprinklers", and it seems to be the best solution I've found to not spending a lot of time watering the lawn. It has wheels, looks like a toy tractor, and water pressure propels it slowly across the lawn. I set it up and come back an hour or two later to turn off the water. I also have a half dozen of the stationary but oscillating type of sprinklers, but I never use them any more now that I have the traveler. 60 bucks will get you one at Sears or Lowes. That plus a longer-than-100 foot hose plus one of those cubic-shaped reels (20"x20"x20") will be the next best thing you can get to an in-ground sprinkler system. By the way, I wouldn't mind spending a few hundred dollars for an in-ground system as Steelratt stated is possible, but the estimate I got for a professional installation was 5 grand.
  6. TforTexas

    TforTexas LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 260

    The amount of water any sprinkler you choose will vary greatlty with the water pressure that is available to you. In order to know how much water you are putting out you really should put out some rain gauges or use the old "tuna can" method and collect water from the center of your sprinklers pattern and measure the amount you collect. A mature lawn will require 1.5-2"
    of water per week deeper less frequent waterings will encourage the roots to penetrate deeper into the soil and make for a more drought resistant turf.
    If the soil is heavy clay or compacted and does not percolate very well you may have to do shorter sets with more repetitions. Sandy soils that drain too fast may require much more water more often to keep the root zone moist.
    New seeded or sodded lawns only require the upper soil to stay moist so need to be watered for short sets 3-4 times a day for the first 4-6 weeks.
    The gradually start treating it like the more mature turfs.
  7. Watwood

    Watwood LawnSite Member
    Messages: 31

    Thanks for all the help guys, the yard is looking MUCH better. I watered it deep for about 2 weeks then it started getting some decent color and I cut it last Friday. It looked pretty good where the bermuda was, but the "dallas" grass still owns some of the yard:realmad: . It rained some Friday right after I finished cutting the yard (first rain in at least a month) and watched to see if it would rain on Sat. and it did so I went to Lesco and got some 32-3-8 (or 11 I can't remember) and put that on the yard. It rained HARD for the rest of the day after I put the fertilizer down and the grass is growing great now, I had to cut it yesterday (4 days after cutting it last time). Now all I have to do is get rid of that crab / dallas grass.

    The guys at Lesco said that by fertilizing the bermuda and encouraging it to spread it would eventually take over and choke out the weeds, is this correct? They also said to put down sand in the areas where the bermuda hasn't quite made it yet to help it spread.
  8. FLAhaulboy

    FLAhaulboy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 852

    run the sprinklers at 4 am instead of 6 am

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