With most soils, do not apply all the water in a short period of time. If applied too quickly, water often runs off of thatchy turf, from sloped areas, or from turf growing on heavy clay or compacted soils. In these cases, it is more effective to apply only a portion of the water and move the sprinkler or switch to another station to water another section of the lawn. This allows water to soak into the soil rather than run off. An hour or so later, apply the rest of the water. Core cultivation (aeration) can resolve some infiltration problems by reducing thatch and compaction.
The minimum height for any lawn is two inches. The preferred mowing height for all Colorado species is 2.5 to three inches (three inches is recommended). Mowing to less than two inches can result in decreased drought and heat tolerance and higher incidence of insects, diseases and weeds. Mow the lawn at the same height all year.
Longer blades mean deeper roots. Deeper roots mean less frequent watering.
The most efficient time of day to water is late evening and early morning (between 10 p.m. and midnight or 8 and 9 a.m.). It generally is less windy, cooler and more humid at this time, resulting in less evaporation and more efficient use of water. Water pressure is generally better and this results in optimal distribution patterns. Contrary to popular belief, watering at night does not encourage disease development.
Mow the turf often enough so no more than one-third of the grass height is removed at any single mowing.
Let grass clippings fall back onto the lawn, unless they are used for composting or mulching elsewhere in the landscape. Grass clippings decompose quickly and provide a source of recycled nutrients and organic matter for the lawn.
Grass clippings do not contribute to thatch accumulation and should be returned to the lawn during mowing to recycle the nutrients they contain.
During the season, regularly check mowing equipment for sharpness and adjustment.
For more information, visit extension.coloradostate.edu.
(Source: 1T. Koski, Colorado State University Extension turfgrass specialist, horticulture and landscape architecture; and V. Skinner, Extension horticulture agent, El Paso County. 2/96. Revised 3/12)