Are You Overwatering or Underwatering Your Lawn? Signs and Solutions!

 1. Introduction

Lawn care can be quite daunting. Among the crucial lawn care practices, besides mowing, is watering. Your lawn certainly needs water. But how much is enough?  

Overwatering and underwatering of lawns is a problem affecting a large portion of homeowners. So to say, homeowners lack control over their installed sprinkler system and perhaps how to effectively use it. Factually, sprinkler runtimes were set by the irrigation service upon installation and have never been adjusted or monitored. Some run on before, during and even after storms.

watering plant

Plant is being watered

 2. Get control of your sprinkler system

Knowing how to use your sprinkler system effectively is known as proper watering. When used effectively, a sprinkler system(with smart/wifi sprinkler controller) saves you money as well as keeps your lawn healthy and beautiful. For sure, not all sprinkler systems are complicated. Therefore, figuring out how to use shouldn’t be challenging.

For instance, have your system installed with rain sensors which turn off the system in case of rainstorms during the scheduled watering period. You ought to know how to pause the system from its normal routine. Fine tuning the system saves money and brings great benefits to the lawn.

sprinkler system

 3. How much water is enough?

As the rule of thumb, watering turf requires one inch of water per week. This approximation more or less suits the standard Kentucky bluegrass lawn. Unfortunately, being the quintessential lawn of most of the American suburbs, the grass type isn’t suitable, desirable or even legal in various parts of the country.

The one inch per week requirement can be delivered by little spring rain. However, in unachievable periods such as summer, supplemental watering using either a hose/sprinkler set up or automatic sprinkler system can be used. Lawns with modern grass types such as fescues and rye grasses can withstand even fewer amounts.

watering plant

How much water is enough?

 4. How much is overwatering? 


Lawn is overwatering

Overwatering is defined by watering mature and healthy lawn every day. Depending on your lawn’s grass type, watering daily can be good or bad. In many cases, an overwatered lawn gets plagued by a host of various negative results. You’ll know that you are overwatering your lawn when you see the following:

  • Development of thatch – thatch is a small layer of partially decomposed plant material. They could be roots and stolon which form a dense mat over the soil surface. Thatch develops because overwatering prevents beneficial soil bacteria from decomposing thatch. 
  • Presence of fungus – frequent watering results in a wet blade as well as promotes fungal growth. Thin, weak and reddish-orange grass characterize fungus infection. 
  • Weeds – weeds such as yellow nutsedge and smooth crabgrass thrive well in overwatered lawns.
  • Insect pests – overwatered lawns provide a conducive habitat for insect pests. It also protects the pests from insecticides. Insect pest attack stresses and weakens lawns. For instance, armyworms, cutworms, and other pests result in irregular areas as they chew and cut lawn grass at the base. 

Generally, overwatering isn’t good for your lawn. It drowns shallow plant’s roots as well as stresses the roots. On the other hand, you’ll end up waiting a lot of time and money. Note that groundwater is a natural resource that can be utilized effectively. Overwatering will, therefore, be a wastage. 

Pumping requires electricity. This wastes energy and cost of energy. Fertilizers applied are easily washed off the tuft. You’ll need to apply more fertilizers for effective usage. The washed fertilizers result in nitrate pollution of the groundwater.

Pumping requires electricity. This wastes energy and cost of energy. Fertilizers applied are easily washed off the tuft. You’ll need to apply more fertilizers for effective usage. The washed fertilizers result in nitrate pollution of the groundwater.

 5. How much is underwatering? 

A wilting plant

A wilting plant

Anyone who doesn’t supply enough supplemental water to the lawns causes underwatering. Contrastingly, symptoms of over and underwatering can be similar and quite confusing. Both result in the same outcome – sick or dead plants. Some of the important signs of underwatering include:

  • A wilting plant – though this could signify stressed roots due to overwatering, a wilting plant is more likely to be associated with lack of water. Plants lacking water close their stoma, pores that facilitate air entry on the leaves surface. The closing of the stoma stops evaporation resulting in wilting. 
  • Dry soil – driving a long screwdriver to the soil is a simple method of testing soil moisture. The screwdriver should penetrate easily if the soil is moist. As the soil dries up, the screwdriver will be harder to push. 
  • Slowed growth – a slowdown in plant’s growth could signify lack of enough water. Slowed growth could be temporary or permanent. A temporary decrease in the water supply may result in temporary stunted growth. Permanent challenges lead to a reduced size of leaves. 
  • Discolored leaves – underwatered plants develop leaves with dry edges. They become yellow and curled.
  • Visible footprints on turf – you’ll realize that your footprints appear in the lawn as you walk across. This is because the grass blades have low levels of water in their tissues. When compressed, the low water levels prevent the grass blades from springing up.​​​​

 6. The Solution

smart wifi sprinklers

Smart Wifi Sprinklers

Overwatering or underwatering is undoubtedly not good for your lawn. You can correct this by setting a perfect amount of supplemental water for your lawn. Properly watering a lawn is simple. Apply water thoroughly but infrequently. This is perhaps getting a good sprinkler system.

Advancing technology in the development of these systems has made it easier to achieve this. The latest being the introduction of smart sprinklers. They simplify lawn and garden care and reduce water consumption thus saves money, water, and energy.

The smart/WIFI sprinklers are the best solution. Instead of fixing timers, the system draws raw data from sensors, weather forecast and developed plant care databases to determine your lawn’s water needs. They deliver just enough moisture at the right time.

Besides reducing the risks of overwatering or underwatering, smart sprinklers are easy to install and use. The systems are tailored to meet your needs. In few steps, you’ll need to enter some details including your lawn’s plant type, soil types, and level of sun exposure.

With these details, the sprinkler system automatically calculates watering cycles ascertaining that it delivers just the right amount of water whereas minimizing runoff. The system references thousands of local weather stations which help in calculating the watering schedule. This lowers water wastage and overall costs.

Hannah Ross

My name is Hannah. I have one handsome son and I love him so much. Gardening is my greatest hobby. I always want to turn the garden behind my house into a relaxing place.

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