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7 Summer Lawn Watering Tips

July 7, 2014 by

With high temperatures averaging in the upper 80s in both July and August, keeping your Fescue lawn green and healthy in Middle Tennessee can be a challenge.

Proper watering is key to maintaining a vibrant, healthy lawn. But how much water does a lawn require? How often does it need to be watered? Is there anything else that can be done besides watering?

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Keep your Middle Tennessee lawn green through the hot summer months.

Here are answers to 7 of the most commonly asked questions regarding summer lawn watering.

How much water does my lawn need?

The University of Tennessee Extension Service recommends between 1 -1.5 inches of water each week, or 630 to 945 gallons of water per 1,000 square feet of lawn space.

When is the best time for me to water my lawn?

The earlier, the better, according to the University of Tennessee Extension Service. By watering in the morning, you can avoid some of the rapid evaporation that would happen later in the day as the temperatures rise.

Do I need to water my lawn every day?

In most cases, no. Ideally a lawn should be watered around three times each week. It’s always better to water infrequently, but water thoroughly each time you do. A light, shallow watering every day can result in a lawn with shallow roots.

If you use an automatic watering system, be sure to keep in mind the impact of rainfall – especially if you don’t have a rain sensor. (A rain sensor is designed to suspend or interrupt automatic watering when the rainfall total reaches a specified amount.) If the rainfall was adequate, you may be able to skip a scheduled watering.

Or, if rain is forecasted later in the week, consider skipping one of your regular waterings. If the rain doesn’t fall – which, honestly, happens quite frequently around Middle Tennessee  – you can make up the watering later in the week. (Your safest bet? Don’t bank on the rain. Water anyway, then reduce later according to rainfall.)

How do I know if my lawn needs to be watered?

Look for footprints. Yes, really. If someone walks across your lawn and the grass doesn’t spring back up – resulting in a lingering indented footprint in the lawn – then it could use some watering.

Is there anything else I need to take into consideration when it comes to watering?

If your lawn has other landscaping elements that feature trees, flowers, and other plants and vegetation, be sure to know the watering requirements of each. There may be some plants that need to be watered daily; others may only need a couple of waterings each week. In cases like these, a one-size-fits-all watering plan may not be sufficient.

What other things should I do to keep my lawn healthy through a hot summer?

Lush Fescue Lawn

Lush Fescue Lawn

In the summer months, apply a low-nitrogen fertilizer with post-emergent weed control.  If you’re spraying broadleaf weed killer on your lawn, be careful when temperatures climb above 80 degrees, as you may damage or even kill the Fescue as well.

Be sure to not heavily water your lawn immediately after applying the granular fertilizer – the last thing you want to do is wash away all of those nutrients! Water gently, instead. As the summer fades into fall, aerate and overseed your lawn in October to help repair your lawn after a hot summer.

I’m building a new home (or resodding my existing lawn). Is there a particular type of sod that I should use to withstand the summer elements?

If you don’t mind a dormant (brown) lawn in the winter and you have full sun exposure on your lawn areas, try using Zoysia or Bermuda sod for new lawns. They’re both much more drought tolerant than Fescue and hold up to foot traffic much better.

Keep all of these tips in mind over the next two months to help keep your Fescue lawn green and healthy this summer.

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