Lawn watering & irrigation
During periods of drought
during the summer months, you will need to think about some kind of lawn watering or
irrigation program to maintain the quality of your lawn.
Usually the amount of rainfall in a typical British summer is enough to keep to root zone moist
and the lawn in a healthy condition.
However when there is no rainfall for a long period your lawn will need watering. How much
depends on several factors including your soil type, grass species, height of cut etc.
A heavy clay soil sown with ryegrass and cut at 25mm will withstand a drought better than a
closely mown lawn on a sandy root zone and require less lawn watering. Therefore each lawn will have different
Prepare your lawn for drought
While we can not control the weather in the UK, there are numerous techniques we can employ to
help create a deep and healthy root system. These techniques will help encourage drought resistant
It is important to carry out these tasks, especially as local authorities are quick to implement
hosepipe bans during dry periods. These techniques are as follows:
Aeration: By aerating at key times of the year we are creating channels
through the root zone. This will encourage the root system to go down creating a healthy
plant. You will also relieve compaction with certain types of aeration. Please see our
aeration page for more information.
Top Dressing: After any type of aeration has taken place, channels
through the root zone will have been created. By top
dressing afterwards and rubbing the material in to these holes or channels will create
ideal conditions for root growth. This practice is especially beneficial after hollow
tining has taken place.
Encourage drought resistant grasses: With the correct lawn care
management techniques it is possible to encourage grasses that will withstand drought
conditions better than others. These practices include the correct use of fertilisers and water (don't over feed or over water).
Raise the Height of cut: By raising the height of cut on your mower you
will help to relieve some of the stress placed on the grass by the drought. It is also
important to keep your mower sharp which helps the grass recover quicker after mowing.
The use of wetting agents: Wetting agents have been widely used for
many years in the professional turf care industry to combat the effects of drought and dry
conditions on turf. These products help water move downward into to soil profile where it
is needed, they also prevent and remedy dry patch. For more info on these products please
visit our wetting agent
When to water your lawn
Don't rush out with the hosepipe or sprinklers as soon as it turns dry in summer. In fact
letting the lawn dry a little will encourage deeper rooting, as roots tend to go down in search for
water. On the other hand don't let the lawn go completely yellow or brown before deciding to do
something about it.
When the grass starts to change from a deep green to a blue/grey - green hue then the time is
right to irrigate your lawn. Another tip is to purchase a soil sampler and inspect the root zone
for lack of moisture.
If it is very dry then it will need water. If the surface is very hard a light spiking before irrigating would be beneficial in aiding water penetration.
How often to water your lawn
There are no hard and fast rules on lawn irrigation. Under normal conditions generally try and
water heavily once a week letting the root zone dry out somewhat between watering.
However if the temperatures are very high, more frequent irrigation maybe needed. Also note that
light sandy soils will dry out quicker than heavy clay soils and will require more water.
Generally speaking it is better to avoid watering little and often. This practice tends to lead
to over watering and it keeps the soil wet for prolonged periods and can encourage shallow rooting
grasses like annual meadow grass.