Since the weather is constantly changing and we never know for sure if we will get adequate rainfall or not we need to irrigate when needed with a long-range purpose in mind. Our lawns may not show signs of water shortage stress now but the heat of summer will consume moisture rather quickly once we go a few days without a shower. Therefore, 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. 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. We should also water early enough in the day so that the turf’s leaf blades can dry before nightfall to help prevent an ideal environment for diseases.
Published June 4, 2012
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