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What is the best time to water my lawn?

It may come as no surprise that summertime is when the soil in your lawn loses the most water. Imagine a bucket full of water left in the middle of your sunny lawn. If you check it a week later, you’d see it lost about an inch of water.

Your soil is the same. If you don’t replace the inch of water it loses, over time, your yard will get more and more dry.

The normal fan pattern spray nozzles take about an hour to put out an inch of water. The trouble with North Texas is that our infamous clay soil can’t absorb an hour of water all at once.

That’s why you should be watering in 10-minute intervals (or bursts) and letting it soak in between. If you have two days per week to water, run your system with three start times (2 a.m., 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. on each day). That gives you a total of 60 minutes per week for each zone.

What if you can only water once per week because of drought conditions? While watering in the morning is always best (because there is less wind), if you only have one day per week to water, you may need to utilize the evening hours as well.

You can water 2 a.m., 4 a.m. and 6 a.m., then add water times of 6 p.m., 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Most plants, including your lawn, will be fine on the once-per-week watering schedule.

During spring and fall, your soil loses about half of the water it loses in the summer, which means you can program to water on one day or turn off the nighttime watering.

For winter, the amount of water lost per week is much smaller than at other times of the year. The simplest thing to do is to set your sprinkler controller to only water once per week for 10 minutes.

Certain models of sprinkler controllers have a seasonal adjust, which are easy to use with our watering schedule. Set your controller for 60 minutes in the summer. In spring and fall, set the seasonal adjust to 50 percent and it will apply that to all of your zones, making the run for 30 minutes. In the winter, set it to 10 percent.

What about heavy shaded areas? You typically want to water about half the time you would in a sunny area. In extremely heavy shade, you might even cut it down to a fourth or less.

Rotary heads turn slowly and send out long streams of water. They spray farther than the small spray heads and typically cover twice the area. Since they’re covering twice the area with the same number of gallons, they need to run twice as long to put out an inch of water. In the summer, you will need to water about two hours per zone.

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