Water your lawn early in the morning. Please!


I’ve recently been talking a lot on the radio show about how important it is to water your grass only in the early morning hours. I think this is the perfect time to make that change.

There are many reasons to follow this practice, and I will list them below. But the main reason is that it will help reduce brown patch, the fungal disease that leaves circles of yellowing or browning grass.

This type of fungal disease can often be traced back to watering at night, so to help you use water wisely and keep brown patch at bay, here’s a list of why it’s best to water between 5 and 9 a.m. along the Gulf Coast.

Photo: Getty Images

  • Irrigation specialists, horticultural experts and meteorologists all agree that early morning is the best time for your irrigation system to do its thing.Early watering allows plants to face the heat of the day well-watered. On the other hand, watering between 7 p.m. and 3 a.m. invites fungal diseases.
  • Water pressure is usually strong in the early morning, so you get better coverage.
  • It’s less windy early in the morning, so there’s reduced evaporation.
  • If you have an irrigation leak, improper runoff, or poorly aimed sprinklers, you’re more likely to spot those issues in the morning, so you can make adjustments or repairs. Problems occurring during night are often missed and rarely get fixed.
  • If you’re using hoses, please use impact or pulsating sprinklers. Oscillating devices result in the most evaporation, simply wasting water and money.
  • Water deeply and less often. That allows roots to naturally grow deeper into the soil. Light, frequent irrigation results in shallow roots, which are more exposed to high summer heat and susceptible to fungal diseases in September.
  • If runoff occurs a few minutes after irrigation starts, you should aerate and improve the organic enrichment of the soil, so water will penetrate deeper. This problem happens frequently in Southeast Texas because of our clay soils.
  • Drip irrigation or soaker hoses are the smartest way to irrigate vegetable and landscape beds but a poor choice for lawns.

Every lawn is different, since not all of them have the same soil profile. So, you should perform tests on in-ground irrigation systems and determine how long it takes to provide the right amount of water. To assist, Texas A&M Agricultural Engineers have the new WaterMyYard website and app that will help you figure out many "whens" and "whys" of irrigation, save you money, and lead you to become more environmentally friendly. Unfortunately, they don’t have monitoring stations in every county just yet, but hopefully GardenLine can soon help rectify that.

You’ll also find more helpful info in my article on basic irrigation needs based on temperatures swings.

If you need clarification or have follow-up questions, please call the radio show this weekend. We’re on 6-10 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday, and the call-in number is 713-212-KTRH (5874).


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