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Recognize the Signs of Overwatering

June 12, 2013

Recently, a customer asked one of our representatives why they should perform a sprinkler system audit, like the ones available through wateringschedule.com, when water wasn’t an issue for them.  This customer lived in an area that wasn’t affected by drought conditions, so there were no municipal restrictions being placed on their water.  In fact, for a small flat fee ($100/year in this case) they could use as much water as they wanted.  So why not just water every day?

Well, the answer isn’t what the customer expected.  We all know our lawns can suffer from underwatering, but few understand the dangers or recognize the signs of overwatering.  Too much water can kill the grass by drowning it, but this is rare.  Grass is a very resilient plant.  More commonly, overwatering contributes to disease and fungus and to shallow roots, which cause the grass to become stressed more easily.  Because most people water at night the signs of overwatering tend to disappear by the time we wake up.  In fact, if, like most people, you get up and go straight to work without ever stepping foot on your lawn, then it has between twelve and eighteen hours to dry before you can see the evidence.  So it’s important to run tests when you can observe the results.  So what to look for?  Soggy ground is probably the biggest thing.  Also, look for pools of runoff.  And finally, lawn diseases can be due to too much water.

So how to get it right?  Start by performing a sprinkler audit using the tools and tests described at wateringschedule.com.  The site will walk you through the whole process and it’s free.  It will give you a watering schedule customized to your location and soil type.  Next, keep an eye on things.  Maybe allot yourself a few extra minutes in the morning to walk your lawn and feel for any trouble spots.  Look for runoff and puddles.  Run your system–even just in test mode–at least once a month (we recommend once a week) and look for geysers and broken heads.

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