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Watering Your Way to a Healthy Lawn

It’s time to water your lawn to keep it green and healthy, but you don’t want to waste water. So, do you grab a cup of coffee or a flashlight?

Here on Long Island, research shows the best time to run your sprinkler is from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m.

In the early morning hours, water pressure is high, wind is moderate and the amount of water lost to evaporation is negligible. Watering early in the morning also reduces the chance of turf diseases that require extended periods of leaf moisture.

Not a morning person? No problem. Try a timer or an automatic sprinkler system so you can keep counting sheep while your sprinkler gets the job done.

Too much, too little, just right?
According to the University of Minnesota Extension Service, the amount of water to apply depends on the soil type and its moisture content:

  • On a loamy or silty soil, it’s best to apply around one inch of water once a week.
  • Sandy soils typically require one-half inch of water twice a week.
  • Apply water slowly to clay soil, or at several different times, to allow time for it to soak in.

How long does a sprinkler need to run to apply an inch of water? For the average-size hose, it takes two to three hours. The following is a good way to check the amount of water applied:

  1. Place small, straight-sided containers at different intervals in the sprinkling area.
  2. Catch the water for an hour.
  3. Measure the depth of water with a ruler (all levels should be the same).

Over-watering your lawn can cause shallow roots, nutrient loss, weed growth and other problems. Install a sensor to measure rain levels and use a water gauge. The simplest way to check for over-watering is to use the screwdriver method. If you can insert a screwdriver into the soil easily (about six inches deep), your lawn has enough water.

Call Before You Dig

If you’re planning on adding to your outdoor space – whether it’s planting a tree, building a garden bed or putting in a fence, it’s important to be aware of what’s under your lawn. Buried gas lines, water pipes and electrical wires may be located beneath your yard. Striking a single line can cause serious injuries, as well as service disruption that may result in repair costs, fines, and environmental damage. The good news is that you can easily avoid these hazards with one free phone call to 8-1-1 before you dig.

Learn more about 8-1-1 on our site at

PSEG Long Island

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