Condition Lawns for Summer Water Needs (5-31-11)
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After experiencing heavy rains, tornadoes, and flooding, it may be hard to imagine any shortage of water for our lawns, but the heat of summer will quickly consume this moisture once we go a few days without a shower.
We never know for sure if we will get adequate rainfall, or not, since the weather is constantly changing. Therefore, we need to irrigate our lawns with a long-range purpose in mind. We can help our lawns tremendously as the summer heat intensifies by beginning pre-stress conditioning now. Pre-stress conditioning is accomplished by watering less frequently but very thorough when we do water.
A good thorough deep watering allows the water to infiltrate down three or more inches into the soil to encourage grass roots to go deep into the soil and become more numerous. Daily light watering encourages roots to migrate close to the soil surface. Later in the summer as water becomes even more critical those lawns with a deep, large mass root system will be better prepared to forage much deeper for any available moisture. Schedule watering early enough in the day to allow the turf’s leaf blades to dry before nightfall. It reduces an environment ideal for diseases to proliferate.
Published May 30, 2011
Dr. Wayne Wells is an Extension Professor and Turfgrass Specialist. His mailing address is Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Mail Stop 9555, Mississippi State, MS 39762. firstname.lastname@example.org