We all know very well that water is vital to all forms of life.  Too little water and we dehydrate and stop functioning efficiently. Too much water, and we drown.  Just as the human body is mostly made of water, so is grass.  About 75% of grass is water, and 90% of the clippings you cut are water.  During certain times of year (springtime, when it is hot out, but the summer rains have not yet come to Martin County) it is vital that you make a conscious effort to water your lawn.  The fact, however, is that most lawns and plants that have problems due to watering are actually due to “over-watering”, rather than the alternative.

Certain areas of your lawn need more water than others, so this makes the proposition of keeping your lawn evenly watered a little more tricky.  For starters, you need to recognize that certain areas of the lawn receive more sunlight than others and are subject to much quicker evaporation.  Living in Martin County, Florida, we have all seen summer deluges and then the sun comes out and everything is dry within minutes.  Obviously, areas in the shade will not be exposed to as harsh living conditions and will retain their water more. This goes back to the first section where we discussed keeping your grass longer while mowing it.  Especially if your grass is in a sunny area, allow it to grow longer to develop a deeper root system, to retain more water, and to provide shade for its roots.

Another consideration to account for is whether the soil is rich in organic matter or sandy.  A lot of natural soil in Martin County is inherently loamy and because of its sandy texture it does not retain water well.  This is great for certain plants that desire fast drainage, but not good for lawns.  If the lawn is planted on a sandy yard, it will require more frequent watering since it will dry out much more quickly.  You also need to think about when and how your house and property was built/developed.  If you are on low land or next to a lake, you need to determine whether the land your house is on top of was dug up and hauled from another part of your yard (or if the soil your house is on was the soil that was removed from the bottom of your pond).  These will help you understand what kind of soil you have, and why it is there…ponds tend to be lined with lots of clay, and if you had outside fill brought in to raise the elevation of your land, it is very likely a low quality, sandy soil.

Areas near sidewalks or pavers, edger stones or any solid foundation (such as your house) are generally going to dry out much faster than areas not near these things.  All of these things soak up heat and change temperature much faster than the ground itself, and the area around it is directly affected, leading to higher rates of evaporation.

Areas that are elevated will naturally have run off and drain to lower areas. It is not uncommon that the lower areas of one’s yard are the “greener” areas and much more lush.  Therefore, we need to pay attention to watering these areas more frequently. 

(HINT: Aerating (removing plugs of soil) helps in many ways, one of which is it allows water to soak into and retain in the ground better and also allows you to add organic material to the existing soil to better springtime water).