Watering Your Lawn
All plants require lots of water to remain in good, healthy condition, and your lawn is no exception. Water forms over 80% of the grass plant’s make-up; only 15% is actually dry matter.
Water is also an essential component of photosynthesis (the process whereby plants convert daylight into food for growth and development) and without sufficient quantities of water the plant cannot fulfill this vital function. Also, water inside the plant cells actually makes the leaf stand up straight (acting like our skeleton) and this is why grass wilts if insufficient water is present.
For the plant to develop a deep and extensive root system, water is required in the soil (not just on the surface of the lawn) to act as a stimulus to root growth. With correct watering practices, the root system will develop to such a level that the lawn eventually becomes very drought resistant, allowing the plant to recover rapidly from wear, and maintain good colour throughout the year. It is no coincidence that a properly treated and maintained lawn remains greener in hot, dry conditions, long after neighbouring lawns have turned straw-coloured!
It is therefore essential that water reserves within the soil are maintained in order to develop and sustain a dense and uniformly green lawn. In addition, an bi-annual application of a wetting agent will maximise the benefits of watering and prevent the condition known as ‘Dry Patch’ which can rapidly cause areas of an otherwise healthy lawn to die back.
When and how should I apply water?
The obvious answer is water when the soil is in a dry state. However, it is better if you water heavily and infrequently. Generally speaking, the lighter the soil (i.e., more sandy) the more water will need to be applied. A heavy application of water once every 1 - 2 weeks during the growing season, ideally together with other, lighter, applications every 3 days or so, will encourage your lawn to maintain good top-growth, density and colour. Keep a check on the weather forecasts, because over-watering a lawn not only wastes valuable water, but can also encourage the grasses to produce shallow roots. This is because if water is always available on the surface, the roots will not fully develop.
What are the advantages of correct watering?
Your lawn will be drought resistant
The grasses will retain better colour throughout the year
The lawn will recover from wear at a much faster rate
The lawn will become more resistant to attack from pests and diseases
A healthy, thick sward discourages the growth of many problem weeds
It should also be remembered that a high proportion of water in the soil is lost, in one of two ways; firstly, after water has entered the plant through the root system, it travels upward to the plant leaves and is eventually lost to the atmosphere through thousands of tiny openings on the leaves called stomata. This action of water loss is called transpiration. Secondly, water is lost from any exposed soil surface between the grass plants by simple evaporation. Together (Evapotranspiration) these processes account for the majority of water which is lost from the soil.
Dry Patch is caused by a hydrophobic (water-repelling) condition in the soil, which results in the turf grass plant being unable to obtain and retain water. The hydrophobic condition can be caused by a number of factors, the most frequent being compaction of the soil, drought stress, and a build up of organic material. Dry Patch results in irregular areas of unsightly brown or yellow turf, leading to total die back in some cases.
Dry Patch is an ever increasing problem in the UK due to climate change, increased recreational usage of lawned areas leading to extra strain on the turf, and restrictions on adequate irrigation.
The wetting agent used by Four Seasons Lawn Care contains a unique surfactant system, which binds very strongly to water repellent materials in the soil. This strong bond gives long lasting properties and enables the wetting agent to rapidly re-hydrate dry soils. If Dry Patch has been allowed to develop, our wetting agent will rapidly re-wet the soil, and with the correct application programme, season-long control of Dry Patch is achievable. Please ask us for a free demonstration of how wetting agents work!