As Indianapolis lawns enter the heat of the season, you might be wondering how much water is appropriate for your lawn. The quick answer is that all Indiana lawns need 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week. But unfortunately very few homeowners actually know what to do to deliver that amount of water.
Here's what to do:
The next time you water, put an empty container (such as a empty tuna can or a pie pan) on the lawn and do not stop watering until the water level in the container is 1 - 1.5 inches deep. Then once you know how long it takes to deliver the correct volume of water, you can divide the waterings across a couple days if you wish. But don't divide it up too much Several short waterings aren't as effective as fewer long waterings. That's because the first few minutes of water is runoff and it takes a while for the water to penetrate deeply. And the deeper the water goes, the healthier your lawn will be. Deep penetration encourages the roots to grow deeper and deeper to reach the water...and deep root growth is essential for overall lawn health. Shallow watering encourages the roots to remain shallow, and that just isn't healthy.
Likewise, if yard is soft and mushy and seems to grow slower and die faster than your Hoosier neighbor, then you might be over watering. An over-watered lawn is more prone to weeds, crab grass, and insect infestation too, so if this sounds familiar, try cutting back on your watering schedule. And don't water overnight. Water in the early morning so that the lawn doesn't sit wet overnight, when fungus is likely to attack. In short, lawns prefer less moisture than more moisture, but can't live without water either. If mother nature is providing adequate rain, then let it be. If it gets dry, drag out the sprinkler to keep your lawn healthy as things heat up.