Top 6 Tips for Watering Your Lawn the Right Way for Homeowners in the Tuscaloosa and Birmingham area


For many homeowners in the Tuscaloosa and Birmingham area, a lush green lawn is a symbol of pride and a pleasant place to relax or play. However, maintaining a green lawn will require a lot of water, and depending on where you live, there may be water restrictions or low water levels for much of the year. That is why it is important to learn how to efficiently water your lawn in the Tuscaloosa and Birmingham area to help save you money and maintain your lawn throughout the year.

Lawns are water guzzlers.  On average, most lawns need 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week to stay lush and green. That water can come from rainfall or irrigation. How often your lawn needs a drink depends on a host of factors, including things like soil type, sunlight, grass type and regional climate. Fine tune your lawn watering skills with these top 6 tips for watering your lawn the right way for homeowners in the Tuscaloosa and Birmingham area.

Also Read: Top 8 Ways to Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal in the Tuscaloosa and Birmingham Area

1.       Use Pulsating sprinklers and Go Easy with New Grass

Built-in lawn sprinklers are the best systems for watering the grass. This is the most efficient system and will pay for itself in the long run. Over the years, if you're planning on staying in the house, it's worth the investment.

For homeowners in the Tuscaloosa and Birmingham area who don't have an in-ground irrigation system and don't want to invest in one, a pulsating, revolving sprinkler hooked up to a garden hose is the next best choice for an established lawn. The sprinkler shoots out the water horizontally at a high velocity so it's not as vulnerable to wind and evaporation as oscillating types, which spray the water straight up.

Oscillating sprinklers are a better choice for new lawns until the grass takes root. It is good for new grass and for new seed. With oscillating sprinklers, the water is not too strong to push the seed and the water is softer when it lands.

2.       Water Twice a Week, Max

Water clay soils once a week and sandy soils about every three days. Most homeowners in the Tuscaloosa and Birmingham area think they need to water the lawn like they water their landscape plants; however,this is not true.

Too much watering can lead to fungus and a shallow root system; fewer watering sessions encourage the roots to grow deeper. You want to train the roots to go down deep into the soil. Water deeply and water infrequently.

Another way to determine how often to water your lawn is to check the lawn itself. If footprints or lawnmower tracks remain indented in the grass for longer than 30 minutes after passing through your yard, it is a good sign that your grass is getting dry.

You can also check the soil moisture to see if your lawn needs to be watered. Drive a six-inch screwdriver or stake into the ground. If the screwdriver breaks through the soil easily and without much effort, the soil is likely retaining enough water and you can hold off on watering.

3.       Get a Timer

If you have an automatic irrigation system, you may want to consider getting a smart clock or smart irrigation controller. These devices regulate how much water is put out by your sprinkler system and typically have some type of rain sensor, which automatically shuts off your sprinklers when it starts to rain.  Lawn water timers turn off the water automatically after a designated time to ensure the lawn gets the proper amount of water. The timer connects to the spigot, and then the hose connects to the timer. With a timer, you don't have to worry if you forget the lawn is being watered.

4.       Evaluate your Soil Type

Explore your lawn’s soil type to make the most effective lawn irrigation decisions. For instance, if you see paddling each time you water, your soil likely has high clay content which can’t absorb water quickly, but instead requires repeated, shorter watering cycles. On the plus side, clay soil retains water longer than sandy soil, which needs more frequent watering. Take a soil test to learn what kind of soil is hosting your grass, and adjust irrigation cycles accordingly.

The type of soil under your lawn, as well as the climate and time of year, will dictate how often you need to water your lawn in the Tuscaloosa and Birmingham area. If you live in an area that is prone to heavy rainfall during parts of the year, you will not need to water as frequently. Certain yards may not reap the full benefits of rainfall, however, depending on the yard's composition and layout.

Silty loam, clay loam, and silty clay loam have the highest water retention of all soil types, averaging 2.4 inches of water per foot of soil.The layout of the yard is a factor as well. A sloped lawn will not be able to absorb much excess water. Any moisture not readily absorbed will most likely run off downhill.

5.       Let Water Soak into Hard Soil

Water long enough to moisten the soil about 6 inches down, which is the depth of a healthy grass root system. To see how far the moisture seeps down, check the soil every 15 minutes during the first watering.  Take time to dig into your lawn to see how deeply water is actually penetrating. This is also a good time to take stock of grass roots and soil compaction. If you use a trowel, you can easily inspect soil wetness, water absorption and the existing thatch layer. Stick a shovel into soil and lift a section of the turf and you can get an idea of how deep grass roots are growing. If they’re not reaching beyond 2 to 3 inches, your soil is likely compacted and would benefit from aeration.

6.       Decide when to water

Certain times of day are better than others when watering your lawn. It may come as no surprise that where you live may be the biggest factor in when and how often you need to water your lawn.

In hot, arid climates, it's best to water lawns in the still hours of the early morning, before sunrise. This will help reduce the amount of water that would otherwise be lost to daytime evaporation and winds.

The a.m. is the best time to water the lawn because the air is cooler and there's usually not much wind to blow the droplets. In the middle of the day, water evaporates too quickly. And in the evenings, water can cling to the blades of grass overnight, which can cause lawn diseases and promotes fungus. A wet lawn at night is the perfect condition for fungus to grow. Along with mowing the grass too short, watering at night is about the worst thing to do for a lawn. Homeowners in the Tuscaloosa and Birmingham area who can't water in the mornings before work should do it on a weekend morning.

Use the minimum amount of water necessary to maintain your lawn. Using too much water will run up your monthly water bill, waste vital resources, and may end up damaging your lawn with over-saturation. The tips that we listed above will teach you how to properly water your lawn and will help to cut down your water bill.

This is another home improvement project that will surely make your home in the Tuscaloosa and Birmingham area stand out when you are thinking about selling your home in future.  When a potential home buyer drives by to your home in the Tuscaloosa and Birmingham area, they will surely appreciate that your lawn is properly taken care of. A well cared-for lawn can make a great first impression, especially if you also follow our tips on Top 8 Ways to Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal in the Tuscaloosa and Birmingham Area.

Our home improvement projects add value to your home and improve your family’s quality of life. Enjoy the benefits and updates while increasing the value of your home in the Tuscaloosa and Birmingham area.

At DSEAYCOM, we’re happy to answer any questions you have about buying and selling in the Tuscaloosa and Birmingham area. Call us now or feel free to share our contact information with someone you know that needs expert help buying or selling their home in the Tuscaloosa and Birmingham area.

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Derrick Seay
Derrick Seay
DSEAYCOM B'ham Branch