When Can I Stop Watering My Kansas City Lawn?
A lot of Kansas City area homeowners wonder when it’s okay to stop watering their lawns. It differs every year with the amount of rainfall and seasonal temperatures. Since we get this lawn care question a lot from our customers, we thought we’d include it in a Greenhead Turf fall lawn care blog post. But this year, it’s actually okay to stop now. The KC area has received an abundance of rain in the month of October which means lawns are pretty well saturated and will have enough moisture to make it through to the dormant season. Our average for the month of October is 3 to 3 ½ inches. We have already received 7 ½ inches this October so far and there’s still a week left in the month!
Why Is Water Important in the Fall?
Grasses use water to prepare for the coming winter. Your turf continues to grow, but in different ways than it does in spring and summer. Turf grasses form side shoots and rhizomes that increase the density of the grass. Water also helps lawns to heal after a tough summer of heat, heavy traffic, disease, or insect infestations. We recommend fall fertilizing and water helps the nitrogen to reach the roots so they can store that energy over the long winter ensuring a healthy, green spring lawn. Similarly, fall herbicide applications will be more easily absorbed as well meaning fewer dandelions, clover, and other broadleaf weeds in the spring. Fall watering also discourages winter mites like clover mites and banks grass mites that overwinter in the ground and hatch in early spring. Their feeding activity can turn the grass a silvery color.
New Seed May Be the Exception
If you just put new seed down, you may want to continue to water your lawn through the month of November. All seeds require moisture and a certain temperature range before they begin to germinate. Once the germination process has begun, if conditions change, the seed or new sprout is vulnerable and can die. The best advice is to keep your lawn moist-don’t let it dry out and don’t let it get soggy. The germination time for grass seed ranges from 5 to 30 days depending on the variety. It can be even longer than this in cooler temperatures. Once you can see the new grass, the roots are growing down into the soil and it is not quite as vulnerable. But, don’t stop watering yet. Not all of the seeds will sprout at the same time, so keep the soil moist until the area you planted is showing green growth everywhere.
Don’t Forget to Blow Out Your Sprinkler System
When you are done watering for the season, usually by the end of October, you must winterize your sprinkler system. Failing to do this will allow water trapped in the pipes underground to freeze and burst the pipes. Nobody wants that headache and expense in the spring. If you live in the city of Olathe, they require that backflow systems be above ground for easy inspection. Above ground pipes freeze much more quickly than those buried in the ground. It is especially important to make sure your sprinkler system is clear of all water in the pipes. Give Greenhead Turf a call at (913) 645-9586 if you need sprinkler winterization services.