So I spent a morning recently helping judge science fair projects at Double File Elementary School, which I love to do, and noticed a particularity relevant project. As an aside, it’s always really interesting to me to see all the different experiments and how many have to do with popcorn, nail polish, or cokes! (Too many!) Anyway, one of the 3rd grade experiments was absolutely amazing! It was titled “Growing Grass in Drought Conditions.” I read on, my eagerly wanting to see what the conclusion of the experiment was.
What the project determined was that when watered daily for 4-weeks, grass (started from seed), didn’t grow as tall or as well as grass only watered once per week. The conclusion, verbatim, was “I discovered that the grass watered once per week grew taller than the grass watered daily. Based on my experiment, the local watering restrictions of once a week are an ideal amount for the growth of the grass.”
While I was very happy and impressed reading that, I wasn’t surprised. Watering less frequently, IS much, much better for the lawn than watering daily, or every other day, or every 3 days… The soil needs to dry out between watering events, otherwise the amount of oxygen is greatly reduced in the soil, and in fact, the grass (or other plant) can simply be drown! Most plants die of too much water, rather than not enough. Also, if grass, or any other landscape material, is watered daily, or even every other day, it becomes highly dependent on that regular watering and doesn’t bother to grow deep or strong roots. What’s the point, when water is delivered to it on a regular schedule? The problem with that is, then, when, restrictions are imposed, the grass or plant gets immediately stressed out because it is now NOT getting that daily water, and of course, it looks horrible and probably dies. It’s needs to go through routine stress to get those roots to grow, in order to have a strong, drought tolerant plant and can easily survive infrequent watering.
So, when you start watering your lawn again in the spring, I encourage you to just water once per week, if that’s even needed, and wait, watch, and see how your yard responds, before just watering it just because it’s your watering day. A 3rd grader figured out that was enough water, I bet you will too!