Watering Tips For Lawns in Georgia
Learn how to properly water your bermudagrass, zoysia, or centipede grass lawn.
We are going to take a deep dive into how to properly water your lawn in the south to keep it thriving all year long.
Before we get too far along, let’s cover some basic ‘best practices’ when it comes to lawn maintenance. There are 4 primary tasks that need to be completed on a certain schedule and in a certain manner for any lawn to be as healthy as it can be.
The 4 lawn maintenance tasks are: Proper lawn mowing, proper fertilization, watering properly, and core aerating.
Proper mowing consists of a couple of things.
First, make sure your blades are sharp and your mower’s deck is clear of debris. Grass likes to get caked to the top of the deck, be sure to scape this off regularly.
Next is simply mowing often enough. You never want to remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade each time you mow.
We are in Georgia, so our grass is trying to grow in Georgia clay! It is going to need some nutrients provided by fertilizer to thrive.
Proper fertilization consists of applying the right amount of fertilizer for that time of the year based on your soil, grass type, and the recent and current climate. We aren’t going deep into fertilization as we are focusing on watering right now.
Below you will find much more specific information on watering specific southern grass types.
The basics of watering which hold true no matter the grass type include ‘water deep, not often.’ All this means is to water for a longer period of time each time you water instead of more frequently. Watering is best performed in the early hours of the day also.
Aerate Your Lawn
A core lawn aeration should be performed once or twice a year if you truly want your lawn to be as healthy as can be.
The aeration process pokes holes in your lawn which allows water and nutrients to more easily travel to the root zone of your turf where your lawn can utilize it! It also de-compacts the soil allowing the roots to expand more easily.
Bermuda Grass Watering Tips
Bermudagrass needs about 1 inch of water per week in the spring and fall. The 1 inch total includes natural rainfall and any supplemental watering. In the fall, start reducing the amount of supplemental watering as the temperatures fall to reduce the chance of turf disease forming.
Zoysia Grass Watering Tips
Zoysia grass needs about 1 inch of water per week in the spring and fall. The 1 inch total includes natural rainfall and any supplemental watering. In the fall, start reducing the amount of supplemental watering as the temperatures fall to reduce the chance of turf disease forming.
Centipede Grass Watering Tips
Established centipede grass typically does not need supplemental watering in the spring. During the summer it needs about 1-1.25 inches of water per week. The 1-1.25 inch total includes natural rainfall and any supplemental watering. In the fall, watering should be performed if there is not adequate rainfall.
Pro Tips For Watering Warm Season Grasses
- Water Early in the Day – The reason you want to water early in the day, between 4:00 AM and 10:00 AM is twofold. The first is because less water will evaporate since the temperatures are cooler in the morning. Second, leaving your lawn damp overnight can lead to turf disease.
- Water Deep, not Often – The idea behind this great advice is to water for a long enough period that the water can soak deep into the soil. When water and nutrients are available deep in the soil, your lawn’s root system will extend down to retrieve the water and nutrients. Lawns with a well-developed root system are about to withstand drought and disease much better than lawns with shallow root systems.
Advanced Watering Technique
For those really into their lawn, we wanted to share an advanced watering technique that really makes a big difference when dealing with clay soils. The concept is to water deep, of course, but to do it one section of your lawn at a time and then circle back and water each area a second time, if not even a third time.
Why would you want to take the additional time to water each area of your lawn multiple times?
Because of water runoff. Water runoff is compounded in Georgia because of the high amount of clay in the soil. If you were to water one area of your lawn for 30 minutes there is a good chance a lot of this water will run off instead of soaking deep into the soil.
Instead of watering for 30 minutes straight, watering each area for 10 minutes 3 times would be more beneficial for your lawn. There is a little more work involved doing it this way if you do not have an irrigation system. Most newer irrigation control boxes have an interval watering schedule built-in which makes this a breeze.
If you are watering with a garden hose and sprinkler attachment, it would just require a little more time to continue to move the sprinkler around the lawn. Below is a great video by How To With Doc in which he explains this concept and offers some more great advice for making your lawn as healthy as can be.
Watering With a Garden Hose and Sprinkler
A cost-effective and somewhat efficient way to water your lawn is by using a garden hose and sprinkler attachment.
All you need to do to water your lawn with a garden hose and sprinkler is move the sprinkler head around your lawn as needed to make sure all of your lawn is watered. It would be best to set a timer to remind you to move the sprinkler so you can achieve even coverage.
Watering With a Garden Hose and Sprinkler
Another cost-effective, but not very efficient way to water your lawn is by using a garden hose to water your lawn by hand.
All you need to do to water your lawn with a garden hose is systematically move your hose around your lawn watering a small section at a time.
If you have a helper, are into audiobooks, or can carry on a conversation with your spouse, friend, or neighbor while watering it could be a relaxing experience if you have the time.
Watering With an Irrigation System
The most expensive, but certainly most accurate and efficient way to water your lawn is by installing a sprinkler system.
Sprinkler systems, or irrigation systems, use a system of underground pipes, several permanent sprinkler heads, and a control box to allow for watering your lawn to be fully automated on a set schedule.
Watering and Aerating Compliment Each Other Nicely
If you are wanting to learn more about watering, we figured you would probably be interested in learning a little more about aerating as well.
Core aerating pulls plugs or cores from your lawn’s soil surface. There are numerous benefits to aerating alone, but when you take the time to water properly after having an aeration service performed, the results are amplified. The graphic below will help you understand why.
The Science Behind a Healthy Lawn
This simple graphic really does a wonderful job of clearly showing why aerating is beneficial and how watering plays a role in the success of your lawn aeration.
Once the holes are poked, it is obvious how this makes it easier for water, oxygen, and nutrients to reach the turf’s root zone. Hopefully, you can also understand how this makes it easier for the roots to more easily expand and travel deeper to retrieve the water, air, and nutrients below.
As shown in the ‘after aeration’ portion of the graphic, the way your lawn looks on top is a direct reflection of how healthy its root system down below.
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We’ve been lawn maintenance clients for several years and also recently had a large landscaping project completed.”
-Cindy and Chuck |Fayetteville, GA
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