Tampa Lawn Irrigation 101
Here in Tampa and Florida in general, too much or too little water can lead to serious lawn problems. We’re here to help you find your Goldilocks “just right” formula.
From everyday houseplants to entire fields of crops, if there’s something amiss, it usually has to do with water. Unfortunately, your lawn is no different.
Proper irrigation is an essential element in maintaining a healthy lawn in Florida, yet, it’s one of the trickiest systems to figure out.
But, even with a whole world of variables to consider, it’s very much possible to create a system that fits your lawn’s unique needs. We’ll help you figure out that formula with some tips below.
Find the right frequency
One of the first things you should focus on is how often you water your lawn. Irrigation frequency will vary based on grass species, rainfall amounts, soil type, amount of compaction, shade presence, geographical location in Tampa, and, of course, by season.
Unfortunately, you can’t ‘set and forget’ your irrigation schedule; you must adjust it seasonally to reflect the changing water requirements based on the time of year. You should have received an email from your technician that shares average seasonal irrigation frequencies. But these frequencies assume no rainfall occurs, so if rainfall amounts to at least ½ to ¾ inch, the frequency can usually be reduced. So instead of watering your lawn every three days, maybe tweak it to every five days during a particularly rainy spring.
Remember that, on average, we receive 50 or more inches of annual rainfall in most parts of Tampa and the rest of Florida. If there is enough rain to meet plant needs, you may not need to run your sprinklers. According to University of Florida guidelines, you can run your sprinklers on an “as-needed” basis.
This can be determined by observing the grass for signs of water stress:
- Leaf blades are folded in half lengthwise in an attempt to conserve water.
- The grass takes on a blue-gray tint rather than maintaining a green color.
- Footprints or tire tracks remain visible on the grass long after they are made.
While the frequency at which you water your lawn should vary season-to-season, the amount of water you use should always stay the same. Still, you’ll want to identify what that amount should be.
An efficient watering wets only the turfgrass root zone, does not saturate the soil, and does not allow water to run off. Tampa soils can be sandy and hold one inch of water in the top 12 inches of soil. If the roots are in the top 12 inches of soil and the soil is dry, then ½ to ¾ inch of water is required.
Even if you water your lawn using a light amount of water at high frequencies, this would still be inefficient because it encourages shallow root systems. On the other hand, excessive irrigation keeps the root system saturated with water and harms the lawn.
A more Goldilocks-like watering schedule would apply ½ to ¾ inch of water when the turfgrass begins to show those drought stress symptoms listed above.
Our 100% organic fertilizer is environmentally friendly, safe for people and pets to be around, and rich in essential nutrients to promote root growth. We’ve created an effective blend of organic-based turf and garden fertilizer full of macro and micronutrients, trace elements, and vitamins and minerals that will help your yard’s soil eliminate weeds and fight off diseases and insects.
Apply water uniformly
You’ll want to ensure that your sprinklers are set up correctly. Many counties in Florida require that Irrigation system installers be licensed, while in other counties, there is hardly any regulation. This may lead to sloppy installation, leading to water waste and non-uniform coverage of turf areas.
When sections of your lawn aren’t getting adequate water, this can cause dry spots to develop and lead to any of the problems associated with drought-stressed turf.
An easy way to check the uniformity of your irrigation system is to place small, straight-sided cans in a straight line from your sprinkler to the edge of the watering pattern. Then, run the.
Maintain your sprinklers
Regularly checking on your sprinklers is essential, even with a professionally installed system. If a head becomes off-center, clogged, damaged, or starts leaking, this can cause problems with your coverage. You’ll also want to ensure that valves are opening and closing correctly.
We routinely check our clients’ sprinkler systems when we come out for a treatment, and we’ll always notify you if we see something that needs to be addressed or raises a red flag.
Keep other factors in mind
Because every lawn is unique, there are many different factors to keep in mind. For starters,
not every part of your lawn will have the same irrigation requirements. Grass planted close to trees or large shrubbery will be in the shade for some part of the day. Some mature tree canopies may shade a portion of the lawn for an entire day. You may need to reduce irrigation to this part of your lawn in these cases.
Soil conditions will also influence water requirements. Sandy soils do not hold water for long and dry out faster than soils with more clay content. These lawns will generally require frequent irrigations than those growing on less sandy soils. Many urban soils are compacted, which does not allow water to penetrate and may result in waterlogged conditions or standing water.
Follow local guidelines
Be sure to know what limitations are in place in your community for outdoor irrigation. These may vary by season and are designed to save water, so be sure to follow the restrictions.
Give us a shout
If you’re struggling with finding the right irrigation formula for your lawn, we would be happy to help. Give us a call, and we’ll help you identify your lawn’s unique conditions and variables.
Ready for Your Greenest Lawn Ever?
If you’re looking for a guide to help you know exactly how much to water your lawn and how often, give us a call. Within 24 hours, we’ll be on your lawn for a complimentary evaluation. During this first meeting, we’ll look at everything — irrigation system, flower beds, water features, and more — to get the full picture of the current state and health of your lawn from the roots up.