How to Water Your Central Florida Lawn

Everyone wants a healthy lawn of full, green turfgrass, but achieving it can be challenging in Central Florida’s climate. New residents of The Sunshine State may especially be flummoxed as to how to water it, especially during summer. Afternoon and evening thunderstorms can drench the ground, followed by a few days of relentless sun and triple-digit heat. Fortunately, it is possible to consistently provide the right amount of H2O to keep your grass alive and thriving all year long! Just keep reading the following advice and tips from our experienced lawn care pros at Daniel’s Lawn Service & Pressure Washing!

How Many Times a Week Should You Water Your Lawn?

In general, water once or twice a week during the summer months, and once every two to three weeks over the winter. According to Duda Sod, an average Florida lawn requires about three-fourths of an inch of water per watering session. But understand that this is a broad generalization – at least when it comes to summer. Pay attention to weather reports to avoid watering 24 hours before a predicted rain. Overwatering grass leads to a shallow root system, since the roots don’t need to extend deep in the soil to find water. This, in turn, reduces your lawn’s ability to tolerate stress – such as drought and foot traffic. And as Natural Green Lawn Spraying points out, overwatering can promote fungus and weed growth.

Our blog post – “How to Care for Your Central Florida Lawn in Summer” – covers this topic in further detail, along with tips for mowing, fertilizing and pest control.

Instead of following a strict watering schedule that may be counterproductive, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Gardening Solutions recommends “listening” to your lawn to tell you when it’s thirsty. Look for at least one of these three signs:

  • Folded leaf blades.
  • Blue-gray color.
  • Footprints are visible in the grass (which indicates the grass isn’t springing back).

The time of day that you water your lawn is just as important as how much water your lawn receives. As Duda Sod states, “Lawn experts agree that the best time of day to water a Florida lawn is in the morning, and the earlier, the better. Watering your grass later in the day, mid-morning or afternoon, causes a lot of moisture loss due to evaporation, especially on a hot, sunny day. Watering on a windy day can also cause a lot of water to evaporate.

“If you turn on your sprinkler to water your lawn too late in the afternoon or too close to dark, the grass won’t have a chance to dry out, and this can encourage fungus growth and other diseases. Watering early in the morning wets the soil but gives the grass a chance to dry during the day. Watering early is especially important in Florida where the humidity level is always high.”

Also, be aware of any watering restrictions your county or municipality may have. Restrictions are common during summer, and may limit residential watering to certain days of the week and times of day. Check your community’s website if you aren’t sure, as you may be subject to a fine if you don’t follow restriction rules.

Things to Consider: Soil Composition, Grass Variety and Location of Landscape Plants

Central Florida’s soil is primarily sandy, while North Florida’s soil has more clay content. For this reason, our region’s soil doesn’t hold water for long, and dries out faster – therefore requiring more frequent watering. However, soils in urban areas are compacted, which does not allow water to penetrate, and may result in waterlogged conditions or standing water. So city dwellers should keep this in mind.

Your turfgrass variety will also affect the frequency of watering. Popular St. Augustine grass typically requires irrigation every four to five days without rain during summer. According to Hillary Thompson – horticulturist and communications director for Super-Sod – Zoysia grass best performs when it receives approximately 1″ of water per week. If one or more inches of rainfall occurs in a week, additional irrigation is not necessary.

In addition, UF/IFAS Gardening Solutions notes it’s important to remember that a sprinkler zone may be irrigating not only turf but landscape plants, as well. “These plants may have different irrigation requirements and may be over- or under-watered if your irrigation strategy is based solely on the needs of your turfgrass. A properly designed irrigation system would zone turf and landscape plants separately.”

Which leads to our next section:

How to Check Your Irrigation System

Many Central Florida homeowners have an in-ground irrigation system with pop-up sprinkler heads. Check coverage regularly because heads may become clogged, damaged, or off-center, and leaks in the line may occur. UF/IFAS Gardening Solutions offers the following instructions:

  • Place small, straight-sided cans in a straight line from your sprinkler to the edge of the watering pattern. Run the system for 15 minutes and check to see if you have about equal amounts of water in each can. If an area is not receiving water from one or more heads, or if a head is not providing complete coverage, dry spots can develop. This can lead to any of the problems associated with drought-stressed turf.
  • While checking uniformity with the catch can method, you can also determine how long it takes your system to apply ½” to ¾” of water. Measure the amount of water in the cans after running the system for 15 minutes. If, after 15 minutes, you have ¼” of water, it would take 30 to 45 minutes to apply the correct amount of water through your irrigation system.

Water Your Central Florida Lawn Like a Pro! For Everything Else, Call Our Pros!

Watering your lawn to keep it at its lush, green best doesn’t need to be complicated when you know what to do. Neither does lawn maintenance, when you call us! Our experienced team of professionals at Daniel’s Lawn Service & Pressure Washing specialize in lawn maintenance – as well as landscaping, landscape design, pressure washing, and more. Visit our website to learn about our services and contact us so we can do the work and you can do the enjoying!