Are you over watering your lawn?
A sprinkler system with rain sensors calibrated to your lawn’s slopes and hills to prevent over watering a lawn. It can save you thousands of dollars in water bills and money spent to fix the problems of overwatering grass. Essentially, buying a sprinkler system will pay for itself and save you time in the process. Overwatering your lawn can cost you lots of money and time. The problem with overwatering a lawn is simply that too much water interferes with the growth of healthy grass, more weed growth, susceptibility to pests and disease, and a need for repeated applications of fertilizer.
So how do you know you are over watering your lawn? If you see puddles on the lawn, the ground feels spongy when you walk, or there is a runoff in the driveway or street, these are signs of overwatering. The detriment to overwatering is that the excess water is moving the nutrients away from the grass roots to the street causing the grass to turn light green or yellow.
Waterlogged lawns can also prevent the beneficial organisms from breaking down thatch, a build up layer of partially decomposed plant material. This is a problem because if the thatch is not broken down, it will lead to shallow root development, which leads to more thatch build up. Thatch is not a problem if it is less than ¾ inch thick on the soil’s surface. Once it becomes thicker, it can stop oxygen from reaching the grass roots and provides a environment for fungal and insect pests.
Over watering lawns that allows for thatch build up creates a habitat for insects to thrive. The amount of thatch built up will actually protect the pests from insecticides like Bacillus thuringiensis and will allow the insect pests to attack a weakened lawn. Armyworms, cutworms, and white grubs are just a few of the insect pests that will kill your grass as it feeds.
Just like leaving damp clothes on the floor would lead to fungus growth, the same occurs with damp lawns. The frequent or excessive watering of a lawn keeps grass wet and encourage fungus growth. For example, mushrooms and anthracnose infects lawns that are over watered. Anthracnose is a fungus that causes irregular brown patches in the grass when the temperatures are between 80 and 95 degrees in an overwatered lawn. Chemical fungicides are not necessary with appropriately watered lawn.
Weeds grow more heavily in overwatered grass. Crabgrass and yellow nutsedge grow in conditions too wet for healthy grass growth. Crabgrass forms light green clumps that grow to six inches tall and is incredibly hard to get rid of. This weed got its name because it sprawls from a central root low across the lawn. Yellow nutsedge is also light green but with pointed leaves and can be three feet tall. Watering appropriately and pulling up weeds as they appear can prevent weeds. Since weeds are better adapted to adverse growing conditions, they will thrive where healthy grass won’t. Water lawns deeply and less frequently to wet the soil 4-6 inches deep or ½ to 1 inch of rainfall.