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Like all plants, lawns require water to help the grass grow properly. Staying in the UK, we are lucky in that we get quite a lot of rain and our lawns get most of their water supply by natural means. That being said, rain can sometimes be scarce in summer. Even if your garden does see the occasional shower it might not be enough to water your grass properly. Watering established lawns is an essential element of lawn maintenance, however particular attention should be paid to new lawns where the area has just been turfed. Sufficient watering from the beginning is integral for healthy establishment and growth.
Watering New Lawns
Newly laid turf will require a good 'watering in' treatment immediately after it has been laid to help bed it in. A sprinkler is recommended for this as it avoids a lot of pressure on the turf that can occur with a direct water source, thus reducing the chance of any damage to the fragile root system. In summer months a new lawn should be watered twice a day – ideally early in the morning and in the evening to avoid the hot mid-afternoon sun scorching the water on the grass. If the weather is hotter, drier or windier than usual then more time should be spent watering to give the turf the soaking required.
The need for additional watering can be assessed by gently lifting the corner of one of the turf rolls to see if the soil has adequate moisture – if it looks dry and flaky then the chances are more water is required. Each watering should be heavy or long enough to enable the water to penetrate deep into the root and soil area. Wet leaves are definitely not a sign of sufficient water! Also, any areas that start to look brown or dry definitely require more moisture, so water extensively to promote healthy growth.
Can you over-water a new lawn?
Yes. Applying too much water can cause the soil to become saturated and prolonged exposure to wet, soggy conditions can suffocate the turf. Grass roots must have access to both water and oxygen. It is a fine balance between not watering enough and over watering although it is not too difficult to identify when the watering has been sufficient.
While there is a risk of over watering a new lawn don’t worry too much. The real danger that is more common is not watering enough.
During the summer of 2018 the UK enjoyed record breaking temperatures of over 26 o c – definitely cause for extra watering!