Most people under estimate the value of proper watering when it comes to lawn maintenance. The best way to water any established, mature lawn made up of St. Augustine grass is on an as-needed basis, as long as the proper amount of water is applied when needed.
How to Water Your Lawn
Irrigation is needed when leaf blades begin to fold up, wilt, or turn a blue-gray color, or when footprints remain visible after walking on the grass. Apply ¾ – 1 inch of water per application. This applies water to roughly the top 8 inches of soil where the majority of the roots are. Be sure to follow any local watering restrictions.
To determine the amount of irrigation supplied by a sprinkler system, place several straight-sided cans (e.g., tuna fish or cat food) throughout each irrigation zone and run each zone to determine how long it takes to fill the cans to the ¾ – 1 inch level, then record the time. Each zone will likely take different amounts of time to give the same quantity of water. The recorded run times for each zone should then be programmed into the irrigation clock for automated systems. If the variation in the catch cans is great, a more thorough audit of the irrigation system is needed.
How Often Should You Water Your Lawn
The frequency of irrigating should change seasonally, with less water needed in the fall and winter. In most Central Florida counties, a maximum of once per week for the cooler months and twice a week for the warmer months. The amount applied should not be adjusted—only the frequency.
Proper watering also helps develop a deep root system and makes your St. Augustine grass less susceptible to damage by pests and environmental stresses. If large (brown) patch or gray leaf spot diseases are a continuous problem, excessive watering may be responsible. Certain weeds, such as dollarweed and sedges, also thrive in soils that are continuously wet.
If you have a weak area in your irrigation system, hand watering might be more appropriate for small drought stressed areas rather than trying to run the entire sprinkler system for an extra day.
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