The two most basic chemicals your lawn needs are water and fertilizer. Ah, you weren’t used to thinking of water as a chemical? Well, H2O is certainly a chemical formula.
These two work together to give your lawn everything it needs from you. The rest it gets for itself. Even these, of course, may be supplied in other forms or from other sources, depending on the soil and climate.
One of the most common difficulties in proper lawn care is how much and when to apply either of these. To overcome those problems, though, is relatively simple.
If you live in an area where there is regular, ample rainfall during the non-winter months, there is little you can or need to do. It’s impractical to try to control the amount of rainwater a lawn receives, in most cases. The only important and possible step you can take is to ensure there is adequate drainage. Make sure that any spots in your lawn where excessive water can collect have a drain.
That drain can take any of several forms. You can have a literal drain – a grate-covered pipe that is kept free of leaves and dirt. That will allow excess water to flow out to the street or into a pond or other area. That can be helpful even if sprinklers are your primary source of water for the lawn.
Other drain styles are possible, and sometimes preferable. If, for example, you have a very large yard – say, one that is part of a large rural property – but have areas where water collects, a shallow ditch is often good enough. That can be made more attractive and functional by lining it with small pebbles.
The ideal solution in all cases is to have a yard design – best implemented when the house is first constructed, whenever possible – that slopes away from the house continuously. That keeps water from building up near the house – which protects your home foundation and basement.
It also is good for the lawn, since water will flow more or less evenly over the entire surface. It will then drain off the lawn into side areas. Those side areas could be partly garden, which makes watering the garden less of a problem. Or it may simply go off into rocks or the street.
When you don’t get sufficient rainfall a sprinkler system is, of course, the easiest solution to supplying water. In warm climates, during Spring and Summer, 15 minutes per day is usually best – but not necessarily every day.
If you live in truly hot areas, 15 minutes per day every day is good. If you live in a more moderate climate, 15 minutes per day every other day or less often is preferable. Automatic sprinkler systems that allow you to set the length and days of watering are the easiest solution of all.
Some even allow you to set different days of watering for up to two weeks. Then you can water on Monday one week, but Tuesday the next. Absolute regularity isn’t necessarily the best thing for your lawn.
Water very early in the morning when possible, not the evening. This avoids having water on the lawn overnight where it contributes to the growth of harmful plant and insect life.
Avoid watering in the middle of a hot day. Even though it looks as if the lawn could use it, it causes the grass leaf pores to open (when it is trying to conserve water) by cooling it down. This leads to it evaporating even more water than it absorbs, counteracting your intention. In some cases, it can lead to burning when water droplets focus sunlight onto the grass leaf.