A vital aspect of lawn care and upkeep is irrigation. Your grass requires plenty of water to grow, especially when it is under stress. Many homeowners like to water their lawns using sprinklers, which is why you should learn how long to water a yard with an oscillating sprinkler.
After mowing your lawn, you’re likely to have a stressful period. However, your grass can recover reasonably well if you leave your oscillating sprinkler on for long enough.
What is an Oscillating Sprinkler?
It’s a sprinkler head that sprays water in a fan-like pattern. Just like regular sprinklers, the oscillating sprinkler pushes water delivered via a hose through tiny holes.
An oscillating sprinkler is popular among lawn irrigation equipment because you don’t have to continuously change the sprinkler’s location. The term ‘oscillating’ comes from the fact that it has metal arms that move back and forth.
On the other hand, a stationary sprinkler sprays water around a preset diameter. To irrigate a large lawn, you’d need a giant rotating sprinkler, or sprinklers in some cases, paired with high water pressure. However, this is not the case with an oscillating sprinkler, which is why it is a standard piece of equipment on larger lawn properties.
How Long Should You Water Your Lawn with an Oscillating Sprinkler?
Now that you know what an oscillating sprinkler is, the question is: how long to water lawn with oscillating sprinkler? Several factors come into play before you turn on your sprinkler that affects its running time.
First of all, you don’t want to leave the water running all day. Even if you have an endless supply of water, too much moisture ruins your lawn. Even under the extreme summer weather, it’s always an excellent idea to let your lawn stay dry to some extent. This allows the roots of your lawn to grow deeper into the soil. Apart from that, mud will start to build up because of too much water, and if there is a lot of traffic in the yard, it will look like an absolute mess.
In addition, weeds and other such organisms thrive in damp environments. As a result, your grass only needs a certain amount of water and not a drop more.
Factors to Consider When Irrigating Your Lawn
1. The Sprinkler’s Water Output
First off, you must know how much water your oscillating sprinkler can dispense. The water pressure that your sprinkler can manage determines how long you should water your lawn.
The process is pretty straightforward since you need to gather water from the sprinkler head for a set amount of time. Activate the sprinkler first, then place numerous cans or containers within the sprinkler’s range. To get clear findings, it would be ideal if you use a few vessels.
Once the vessels are in place, turn on the sprinkler and let it run for 15 minutes. After you hit the 15-minute mark, stop the flow of water and measure how much you’ve collected. You can also use a ruler to find out the depth in inches. Finally, calculate the average of the measurements from all of your vessels. You can use the results to determine the output of your sprinkler for 15 minutes. Furthermore, you can also find out the hourly flow from your sprinkler by extending the output for one hour.
2. Water Requirements for your Lawn
Another thing to consider is your lawn’s water requirements. Typically, grass requires up to 2 inches of water regularly, so you should deliver this quantity weekly via irrigation. However, if your area receives sufficient rain, it is better to wait until the dry season to install irrigation lines. As we discussed earlier, your backyard requires a specific amount of water, and leaving the sprinklers on even while it’s raining outside is bad for your lawn.
You can get an estimate of how long you need to leave the sprinkler by comparing the output of your sprinklers per hour to the turf’s requirements. For this purpose, allow the sprinkler to run for an hour before checking for water penetration in the soil. Then extract a soil sample using a glass or metal tube. You will see how the dirt is collected in a narrow capillary tube that mimics soil levels in the container. From this sample, you should be able to determine how well water penetrates the ground.
If the soil appears dry, keep watering. It’s worth noting that mild watering stimulates shallow root growth in the grass. Since water is accessible mainly at the top levels, the roots also concentrate in this area. On the positive side, heavy watering causes water to soak deep into the soil. To match your irrigation regime, your grass should grow a deeper root system. Plants with deep, strong roots are always more rigid and resistant to pest attacks.
3. Prevailing Weather Conditions
If you water your lawn during the hottest part of the day, not all water will reach the grass. This is because high ambient temperatures accelerate the rate of evaporation. And if it’s windy, even more moisture will be lost to the atmosphere.
To minimize water loss, you should water your lawn when your lawn isn’t getting direct sunlight. We’ll elaborate more on this later.
4. Type Of Soil in your Lawn
The degree of water penetration varies among soils. Sandy soil, for example, allows water to pass through easily. Since the sand particles are more prominent, and the gaps between them are equally vast, these pores readily allow a large amount of water to pass through without being restricted.
Clay soil, on the other hand, contains finer particles and fewer pore spaces. As a result, it takes a long time for water to travel through it.
If your lawn’s soil has many clay particles, it will store a lot of water, and you won’t need to irrigate it as often. On the other hand, if the soil is sandy, you will need to water as soon as the ground becomes dry.
5. General Lawn Care and Maintenance
Every lawn is different when it comes to water requirements. If you’ve newly set up turfgrass on your property, you’ll need to provide as much water as the soil can hold. This is because young grass is fragile and prone to drying up quickly. Watering regularly ensures optimal growth rates and a stable soil temperature.
However, watering your grass frequently is not required for mature lawns. Once the grass takes off, it produces a large number of leaves that soon cover the ground. This cover keeps moisture from escaping through evaporation.
Furthermore, much organic matter from dead leaves and root portions boosts the soil’s water holding capacity. As a result, mature grass can help you conserve a lot of water, and you will only need to water it once a week.
On the other hand, stressed grass has a high water demand. For example, when you mow your lawn, you’re significantly reducing the amount of grass that grows on your land. Therefore, you’ll need to give the grass lots of water afterward to help it recover.
Conserving Water While Using An Oscillating Sprinkler
If you’re irrigating your lawn, there’s a good chance your area doesn’t get nearly as much rain as your grass needs. As a result, to make the most efficient use of the available water, you need to take on some means to conserve water.
Water sprinklers are the last thing that comes to mind when you think about water saving. However, water conservation does not imply a reduction in the amount of water consumed. The key is to minimize the loss, even if you’re using an oscillating sprinkler. Here are a few ways to conserve water.
- Irrigate Your Lawn When the Temperature Is Low
Irrigating your lawn while the weather is hot is one of the worst ways to keep your plants hydrated, and it also wastes a lot of water. Instead, you should try to use the sprinkler during cooler times of the day, such as in the morning. There isn’t a lot of water loss due to evaporation during these periods. In general, it’s also a good idea to avoid irrigation in the evening. Leaving your lawn wet all night increases your grass’s chances of becoming infected with a disease.
- Clear Out Any Weeds
If you’ve ever had a lawn, you’re well aware that weeds are one of the greatest threats to a beautiful lawn. Weeds compete with grass for nutrients in the soil and water, reducing the number of nutrients that reach your lawn. As a result, it is more efficient to water a yard where the grass is the only living thing that requires hydration.
On top of that, weeds tend to take up valuable space on your lawn. Other plants like maple tree seedlings wreak havoc on the uniformity of the grass. They are fast-growing and, if left unchecked, can become permanent and unwelcome residents.
- Increase Organic Matter Content in Your Soil
The amount of organic matter in the soil increases the number of air spaces between the particles. These pockets may hold both water and air at the same time.
By increasing the level of organic matter in the soil, you can increase the soil’s ability to absorb more water at a given time. The rich soil has enough organic matter and doesn’t need to be sprayed with an oscillating sprinkler for lengthy periods.
The porous nature of sandy soil is well-known. However, since it doesn’t retain much water, you’ll have to water it frequently to keep your grass moist.
Finding out how long to water a lawn with oscillating sprinklers is hardly rocket science. You simply need to consider a few physical characteristics to make the right decision.
The amount of water required by growing grass is affected by the weather, soil type, and the quality of your lawn. As a result, your grass will require significantly more water than a mature stand. You’ll also need to run an oscillating sprinkler for many hours to ensure that your grass gets off to a good start.