That question is not an easy one to answer, because every lawn and every irrigation system is different. According to many experts, 1/2 to 3/4 inch is needed for replenishment of moisture every 2 to 3 days during warm periods of active growth, and every 10 to 14 days during less active growth periods. This water can come from rainfall or an irrigation system. However, no irrigation system can provide the uniform coverage needed like Mother Nature. This is because most systems are poorly designed (inadequate coverage, lacking head to head coverage, etc.) and/or over time sprinkler heads can get clogged, need readjusting, the flow rate of your pump may change, etc. A few other factors that affect how much water your lawn needs are, sunny areas require more water than shady areas and sandy soils need more than clay soils.
The best way to water your lawn is on an “as needed” basis. The easiest method to determine whether your turf needs water or not is to use the “footprinting” technique. If you step off the grass and you can still see your footprints there after a few seconds, your turf needs water. Another way to tell if your turf needs water is to look at the leaf blades. Dry leaf blades will fold in half making your turf look spindly. The turf will also take on a blueish grey color. If you see any of these symptoms in your turf, it’s time to irrigate.
Irrigation systems need constant monitoring due to rain events and environmental conditions. “Set it and forget it” should never be the method used. Even if you hire a professional irrigation company to monitor your system regularly, you as the homeowner, should work with that company to keep your lawn healthy.
A general rule is to irrigate your lawn 45 minutes for rotor zones and 30 minutes for spray zones 3 days a week during the summer months in the absence of rain. However, as stated above, that may or may not be what your turf really needs. For more information about Irrigation visit the University of Florida IFAS Extension.
Call Grass Roots Lawn & Landscape, Inc. (850)897-3073 Niceville (850)832-4212 Panama City Beach for all your Irrigation needs. We have a Licensed Irrigator on staff.