Are You Overwatering Your Lawn?
Having a healthy lawn in Florida can be trickier than you would imagine, especially in the fall. The reason being is that Florida doesn’t experience typical seasons. Rather, we have Hurricane, Rain, and Dry Season. This puts a stress on our lawns, going from overwatering to underwatering.
As an average, Florida receives 50 inches of water annually. With grass requiring an inch, to inch-and-a-half of water a week, this comes out to a good amount of water. However, because of Florida’s seasons, this rainfall isn’t distributed evenly throughout the year, leaving your yard parched from November to April.
So, you may wonder, how to water your yard in Florida’s unique climate? While there is no one answer, it can be relatively simple to figure out.
How Long Should You Water Your Lawn?
To determine how long you should water your lawn, you’ll first want to determine how much water your grass is receiving from your sprinklers. There are special rain gauges you can buy, but all you really need is a tuna can.
Make note of how deep the can is (they’re typically an inch), then leave it for 30 minutes in a part of your yard that collects water. Measuring how full it is, you can then extrapolate how much water your lawn received. If it is a half-inch full, then an hour and a half of watering is all your yard needs a week.
While that’s the general rule, because of Florida’s intense summer temperatures, it’s possible that you will have to water more frequently in the hotter months. One way to determine this is by inserting a 6-inch screwdriver into the ground. If you can stab it in with no problem, then you should be fine. If you have resistance, or can’t pierce the ground, then your soil is too packed and dry, and needs to be watered deeper.
Signs of overwatering can be that the grass is dying (despite being watered regularly). or the water overflowing from your yard into the street. Keep on the lookout for this if you have recently experienced a lot of rain, and your sprinklers are on a timer.
How to Water New Sod
If you have recently laid some new sod, you may be cautious about having it dry out. However, one of the most important things to remember is to not overwater. It is important for the roots to dig into the ground, but if there is too much water, the roots will settle at the top, because they don’t need to dig. This means your sod will never settle, and rather just sit on the surface, making it less resistant to stressful conditions.
Local Watering Regulations for Orange, Seminole, Volusia and Osceola Counties
Many people may not realize that Central Florida counties have a lawn watering schedule. If you have service provided by OUC, and your address ends in an even number, you should water on Thursdays and Sundays. Those with odd-numbered addresses water on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Other counties have their own regulations on when to water, so make sure you check with their website, or your water provider, to know when to schedule your sprinklers. Following these schedules will help you plan how much to water each day of the week, and help maintain your lawn.