With Northern Virginia averaging around 38 inches of rainfall annually, some homeowners may doubt the need for an underground automatic sprinkler system. Record-breaking rains in years of late may contribute to the impression that a sprinkler system is unnecessary to attain a beautiful, healthy green lawn.
This misconception can prove detrimental to your lawn during extended dry spells, or with inadequate or poor hand watering methods, especially when growing new grass.
Here’s why you do need an irrigation system to keep your lawn and landscape healthy:
Consistency is key in caring for your lawn.
- A regular, long-term watering schedule is essential to cultivating a healthy and disease-resistant lawn.
Watering by hand is difficult, time-consuming, prone to inaccuracy and also requires you take rainfall into account. If you are not present or are unable water properly, your lawn can suffer, becoming more prone to disease and die off.
Manual upkeep of optimal watering schedules and duration can be difficult.
- Since you need to keep track of rainfall, constantly revising your hand watering schedule can be inconvenient.
Your lawn needs roughly one inch of water per week, and as much as two inches during summer hot spells. In addition, you need to water deep enough to promote root growth and plant durability during stress. Without thorough watering, your lawn can develop a shallow root system that will suffer during periods of summer drought. Ideal times for most effective watering are early in the morning, carefully balancing an adequate watering duration without risking runoff.
Not all rainfall is equal.
- By this we mean not all rainfall will appropriately water your lawn to satisfy your lawn’s roots.
Typical compact clay soils in Northern Virginia will slow the percolation of water into the soil, meaning a quick passing downpour may not effectively water the root system of your lawn. The infiltration rate for clay soils averages around 0.2 to 0.4 inches per hour. This means you need to track the amount and rate of precipitation to determine if it rained long enough to effectively saturate your lawn’s root system.
New grass seed requires moist soil until germination.
- Precise watering efforts are needed to provide proper moisture until grass seeds germinate, so it is important to avoid overwatering and underwatering to ensure they sprout and become viable plants.
Without an automatic sprinkler system, a homeowner may need to hand water about two times a day (early morning and mid-day) in order to successfully sprout and grow grass from seed.
Your lawn needs a precise amount of water to thrive. Effective hand watering requires constant monitoring and modification to reflect changing variables, including seasonal and daily weather. On the other hand, an automatic sprinkler enables you to cultivate a healthy, green lawn without requiring your presence and constant adjustments. A smart sprinkler system that self-adjusts the watering schedule based on current and past weather automatically accounts for rainfall to water just the right amount will minimize your investment of time and help maximize the health of your lawn.