Having a healthy, vibrant lawn shows pride of ownership and helps increase your home’s curb appeal. However, achieving this result is not necessarily an easy task. Many homeowners take the time to prepare their lawn in the spring, and meticulously continue to care for their lawn in the summer. A big part of this care is ensuring that your lawn has enough water to continue to flourish during the hot summer months. As summer comes to an end, and the temperature begins to cool down, many take this as a sign to reduce or completely stop watering their lawn.
Before you put away your garden hose or turn off your irrigation system, consider that maintaining a properly watered lawn should be an important part of your fall lawn care strategy. Grass continues to grow during the fall, especially if you have cool-season grass, this time is prime for root growth and strengthening. Even if your grass is not growing above ground, it doesn’t mean your grass has already gone dormant. It is not unusual for growth to occur only below ground during the fall months, the roots strengthen and set the foundation for the upcoming dormancy and growing season that follows. Depriving your lawn of much needed water in the fall deprives your lawn of the nutrients required to repair the damage caused over the summer.
You may need to adjust your watering schedule during the fall, ideally you should water your lawn in the morning (just as in the summer months), as this gives the ground all day to dry out before the temperatures drop overnight. During the fall months your lawn requires roughly one inch of water per week, if you are in an area where mother nature takes care of watering your lawn with adequate precipitation, resist the urge to water your lawn. This can lead to overwatering which can damage your lawn’s root system and invite fungal growth. Having an automatic irrigation system comes in handy, as you can adjust the timer to water your lawn at optimal times during the day without interrupting your daily routine. If your system has a rain sensor built in, you also won’t need to worry about issues resulting from overwatering.
Ultimately, you shouldn’t stop watering your lawn entirely in the fall until the ground is completely frozen. Once the ground is frozen, there is no way for water to penetrate the top layer of ice to get to your lawn’s roots. Once the ground freezes, your lawn will go into a state of dormancy and will not require watering until spring.