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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Stop Watering Lawns at Night

Q. I read with interest your column in the RJ on watering. Our small lawn seems to be dying in patches. We water 4 days a week for 20 minutes at 11pm.  We regularly feed with Turf Builder Plus and Ironite. What should we do?

Lawn disease of reader.

A. First of all change your watering time to 4 in the morning and finish before sunrise. Never put your lawn to bed at night, wet. You are asking for disease problems if you do.
Most warm weather lawn diseases need about 6 hours of a damp, dark warm environment to get active. After a watering cycle, wait 30 minutes and push a long piece of rebar or screwdriver into the lawn in several locations. Make sure it pushes easily to 10 to 12 inches before you meet much resistance.
If it does, then you are watering deep enough. If not, increase you watering until you can push it that deep. If deeper than this, reduce the minutes to 15 or so and repeat. Break your 20 minute cycle into three shorter cycles totaling 20 minutes and space them about 15 minutes apart. 
This helps prevent puddling and runoff. This fall, rent a core aerifier and punch holes in the lawn. Verify your lawn every three to four years; more often if your lawn gets a lot of foot traffic.
In lawns, nearly any iron product works so you don’t have to spend a lot of money on iron. Not true about other plants.

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