After a long Massachusetts winter, your lawn is probably thirsty. Frigid temperatures and the dry start to winter kept your soil frozen and dry for long periods of time, preventing it from absorbing the water it needs.
Compare a spring watering to dumping a glass of water on a sleeping friend— it’s your grass’ shocking wake-up call, awakening it from winter dormancy to start growing!
But how long for and when should you water your grass? Hydrate your lawn, the right way, with our spring grass watering tips.
1. Determine if it’s Actually the Right Time for Watering
Do you know why your grass is yellow, brown or dead right at the start of spring? Before you start flooding your turf with water, make sure it needs it— or if it really needs some TLC beforehand.
There’s a number of reasons grass dies or gets damaged over the wintertime, so click on our article and see which applies to your turf.
It’s important to assess the damage before hydrating a dying landscape. For instance, watering a lawn that suffered from crown hydration (AKA severe grass freeze) or snow mold likely won’t solve your problem. You may need to aerate and reseed to grow new grass first.
Conditions like cold desiccation (AKA frozen roots) and salt damage, however, may have left your lawn dehydrated. In cases like this, a proper watering can quench your turf’s thirst or flush out that toxic sodium build-up if caught in time— before your grass completely dies. A well-timed watering can bring life back to your deary grass.
2. Go Fertilizer Shopping First
If your grass doesn’t need to be completely regrown post-winter, a light watering that’s paired with rich fertilizer can reinvigorate your turf and stimulate new growth.
Head over to your local landscape center and pick out a nourishing fertilizer. Not sure about the difference between liquid, granular and organic fertilizers or what ingredients to look for on the label? Check out our article and scroll to the end of this blog to download our free fertilization ebook.
The reason we advise you pick your fertilizer before firing up your sprinklers or hose is that it’s always best to hydrate your grass at least 24 hours before fertilizing.
3. Understand When to Water
After you have your fertilizer, that’s when to water your grass and soil!
The morning hours are usually the best time to water your turf, as this allows the moisture to soak into your soil throughout the day instead of pooling and being subject to cool night temperatures— which can cause fungal growth. It’s also a much more mild time than lunch or dinner hours, helping to ensure the water doesn’t evaporate from the hot sun before sinking in.
Be sure to coordinate your watering around the weather as well. Watering your lawn only to have it start to downpour hours later could oversaturate your turf, and be detrimental instead of helpful.
4. Give Your Grass 1 to 1-½ Inches of Water
Sure, dosing your turf with one to one and a half inches of water sounds easy in theory, but how long do you water your lawn for? The amount of water your sprinkler or hose releases will depend on your particular unit, but there are some general rules for measuring your soakage.
It takes most automatic sprinklers about an hour to properly hydrate your turf, but always confirm. Stick an empty one-inch tall tuna can in a spot on your lawn before watering your grass. Make sure when you turn the sprinklers off, the can is full. This same tuna can trick can help you determine when to stop your passes with a spray attachment on your hose.
5. Determine if Your Fertilizer Requires a Second Watering
Within 24 hours of hydrating your turf, lay down your fertilizer. The type of fertilizer you use will determine your need for a second watering or not.
Granular, or solid, fertilizers need water to help them break down and absorb into your soil. So while hydrating your lawn before laying these nutrients down was excellent prep, second water is needed to activate the fertilizer.
Liquid fertilizer, however, can be washed away if hit with water too soon after application. Remember to watch the weather for rainfall too, which if forecasted hours or even a day after application, can rinse away your liquid minerals. Be sure to read up on the dangers of over-fertilizing as well, which can also ruin all your hard work!
Still Feeling Nervous?
If even after reading this article you feel unsure about watering or fertilizing your grass, you need more tips!
Download our Ultimate Guide to Fertilization. It’ll help you build a strong, nutrient-dense turf and properly rejuvenate your lawn this spring.