When to water my lawn in sandy soil?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by turbosl2, Jul 8, 2012.

  1. turbosl2

    turbosl2 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56

    I have been trying to understand what the correct type of watering schedule should be for my lawn.
    I live in NY,
    the grass is kentucky blue and tall fescue.
    Its a large lot ~1.75acres.
    Its planted in sandy loom soil
    Its irrigated (16zones, 2-4 rotors per zone)

    The lawn is about 2yrs old

    I have Rainbird 5000 series rotors.

    Currently i water every other day for 40-45mins per zone, i have 16zones. This time of year everyones grass seems to look burnt out, mine is holding its own but you can tell by the second day its asking for water.

    So here are some questions maybe you can help me with.

    -Should i water every day this time of year?
    -I start my sprinklers at about 3:15am, because it takes 6hrs to water half the lawn when i water 45mins, and i do the other half the next day (12hrs total to do the whole thing). So the system completes by 9:15am daily, but the grass goes a day without water.

    I have been told so many things:
    Some say you cant water overnight because it will promote disease, others say its fine, thats a myth.

    Some say dont water every day, it promotes shallow root growth, if you water every other day it will send the roots in search of water and they will tend to grow deeper.

    My grass drys out so fast, by the end of the day that was watered it looks dry as a bone to me.

    I was recommended by an individual on another thread to get a mositure meter and do it that way, this is a great idea but idk what to look for.

    What do you think.
  2. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,778

    Water by volume, not by minutes. Start by putting some tuna cans out in the lawn and measuring how much water 45 minutes is applying...it might only be 1/16th of an inch. After you know how much water you are applying we can make better and more accurate suggestions.
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  3. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,135

    I also suggest a good fertilization program as well. Drought tolerance and rooting depth is influenced by how well fed the lawn is. Please do not confuse dark green with being well fed. Lawns greened up with excessive nitrogen suffer the most during hot weather.
  4. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,335

    sigh .................................................

  5. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    What in the world is your problem with Tuna... think of the increased sales.

    Oh, wait you do have catch cans in there. :laugh:
  6. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,778

    I'm sure the OP understands this...My guess, and it's just a guess, is that he blows right over your calculations and has a tuna sandwich or two for lunch today. ;)
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  7. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,808

    Expert groundskeepers(like at baseball stadiums and golf courses), judge the need for water based on the appearance of the grass. If it starts to wilt, they start the irrigation. They have skill and a practised eye. Temperature is important, loss of water (evaoptranspiration) is faster at high temps, sandy soil, low himidity, or windy conditions.
    You will get lots of opinions here. I would not worry about disease during hot dry conditions, even at night. Disease--especially red thread, dollarspot and brown patch--tends to occur during warm rainy humid nights. During dry spells you will only be wetting the grass for an hour or two.

    I am not sure roots can sense where water is hiding. They mostly grow downward, and branch regularly. They will not penetrate dry soil.
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Catch can are simple and good at telling you the inches per hour that your sprinklers are putting out at various parts of the lawn... looking at the soil after watering will tell you what is happening to that water... watching the grass will tell you how well that water is being utilized by the plants...

    The nice thing about extreme heat is that it tells you where the weakness in your irrigation system lies... :)
  9. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    Unfortunately, there are many reasons an Irrigation system is operating at less than optimal conditions.

    Name 3?
  10. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,778

    Pressure, flow and spacing...just a guess

    Around here it's only two reasons...people are cheap and watering restrictions.
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