By now, you have probably doused your lawn a few times, but are you watering it the right way? That’s not a trick question. The answer begins with knowing we are working tricky clay-like soil in North Texas! Clay soil has the best potential for retaining moisture deep down where your lawn’s root zone wants to grow. Clay soil can be a blessing for your lawn during a hot Texas summer if you’re watering it correctly.
Consider watering your lawn using the “Cycle and Soak” method. This method of irrigation applies water slowly to clay soil so it will absorb all the water that is applied. Rather than running each sprinkler zone for 15 minutes or 20 minutes each, run each zone only for the length of time that the soil can absorb the water (which means it’s not running off onto the sidewalk or street).
The Cycle and Soak Method Steps
STEP 1) Test all your zone run times to see when the water begins to run off. Depending on the slope of the yard, this could vary widely from zone to zone.
STEP 2) Once you have determined the maximum amount of water each zone can take before runoff, split the total irrigation time you need for that week into two or three parts. This involves irrigating the zone, shutting it off to allow time for the water to soak in and then irrigating the remainder of the time.
STEP 3) Check Frisco’s weekly lawn watering advice for the estimated landscape watering requirement.
STEP 4) Schedule your run times about one hour apart until the soil is moistened to a depth of 6-8 inches. Most sprinkler system controllers, especially smart controllers, can be programmed to automatically run the cycle and soak method.
This method of irrigation applies water slowly so that your soil actually absorbs all the water that it receives. Your lawn was successfully watered when, about an hour after watering, you can push a soil probe (or a very long screwdriver) into the soil. It will slide easily through wet soil but will be impossible to push through dry clay. The landscape has been successfully watered when the probe easily slides to a depth of 6 – 8 inches. Your lawn’s root system will reach down for this new deeper moisture and will be well protected from the summer heat. By using this method, irrigation should not be necessary again for at least 3-5 days, depending on weather conditions.