My lawn with almost no summer water. Notice how well it holds up to playing sports on it.

It may come as a surprise because of all the lawns I keep looking great throughout the year that my personal lawn rarely receives any supplemental water. If it’s going to go dormant, well so be it. (Oh, and I like clover but that’s a post for another day. :-)) This post is for all my sustainable friends, like me, that refuse to give their lawns any more water than is necessary. IT’S TIME TO WATER! 

If you live the the Pacific Northwest we are being greeted by an unprecedented amount of rainfall for August… We could receive more than 1/2 inch over a 24 hour period! That’s big news for us. SO WHY WATER?

One of the basic principles of using water judiciously is: “Water infrequently, but water deeply when you do.”  Watering frequently doesn’t encourage grass roots to go deeply looking for water because the water is always at the surface. If you let your soils dry out between waterings you will train your grass roots to look for water down deep.

“Great,” you say, “but why am I watering when it is raining?” Because the rains are softening the soils and if you supplement their ground-moisturizing effects then you can get your water down nice and deep, something that we don’t do very frequently in the Northwest this time of year.

My next door neighbor's lawn receiving almost equal amounts of summer water.

My next door neighbor’s dormant lawn receiving just about the same amount of summer water as mine.

Practically speaking, don’t water when the rain is actually dropping from the sky. Water in between rainfalls or better yet, water within the next 48 hours preferably in the early morning. Watering when it is raining could cause runoff which is not helping drive water down deep and potentially adding to neighborhood stormwater surge. Once the first drop of water runs off your property, stop watering because every drop behind that is running off too. You want to put the water on the surface and let it percolate in slowly.

So go water and give your lawn some much needed attention. I know I will. And once your soils are well saturated, stop. Your job is done and we can start watching the weather for our next rainfall hopefully in September.