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Introduction to Lawn Care — Irrigation

Properly watering a lawn is key to maintaining it in a healthy condition. Most lawn problems are either directly or indirectly related to poor irrigation practices. Failing to apply sufficient water will result in dry areas which will turn brown and ultimately die if left too long. On the other hand, excess water can lead to disease and lawn damage. As you can see, it is important to irrigate your lawn correctly.

The first step to proper irrigation is the installion of a sprinkler system and applying a concept called "irrigation efficiency." Irrigation efficiency is the measure of how evenly a system applies water, i.e., a highly efficient system distributes water evenly, whereas a less efficient system applies water unevenly. No system is 100% perfect, so some area of any lawn is bound to receive less or more water than the rest. The area of lawn which tends to dry out first ultimately dictates the watering schedule.

Another key to proper irrigation is learning to recognize the signs of a thirsty lawn. Turfgrass is a very interactive plant material, which immediately indicates its dryness by changing from its typical green color to a slightly blue-gray tint; closer inspection of the turf will show that it is somewhat limp as well. When dehydrated turf is crushed (e.g., stepped on), it will not spring back as a properly hydrated lawn would. Finally, if the lawn is made of Marathon® Sod, the leaves will curl, forming a "straw"in an attempt to minimize water loss.

Usually a section of lawn that shows a need for more water will continue to be the first area to be identifiied as thirsty. This is the area that likely receives the least water due to irrigation inefficiencies and/or receives the most direct sunlight. This thirsty area should serve as the gauge to adjusting sprinkler time.

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Watering Field Grown Sod
Watering Marathon Lite Sod