Water is life for lawns and getting the right amount of water onto the lawn is vital. Determining whether a lawn requires more water is relatively simple and equally easy to adjust to get the right amount of water down for our lawn type.
The earliest signs of a lawn lacking enough water will be wilted green leaves, it's best to check for this when it is not in the heat of a very hot day, as grass leaf can easily wilt quite normally under these conditions.
Get down to ground level and have a good look at the lawn leaf to look for signs of the leaf curling up, if this is happening everywhere then this is the first sign of lack of water going to the lawn.
Lawns lacking water can also be tested further by doing a footprint test, this is done by a person walking across the lawn as normal. The lawn is then left for an hour before being checked. If the footprints are still visible then the lawn is suffering lack of water.
More dramatic examples will include the lawn turning a bright green colour, which will later turn to silver if left untreated, some lawn types can even turn a blue colour.
If further testing of the soil moisture is required, then a garden spade can be used to dig out a cube of soil and lawn to a depth of around 20 cm. This will reveal whether the soil is highly dehydrated, or has sufficient water.
If the lawn does require more water, it is always best to do so incrementally. Increase watering times by 10 - 20% per watering cycle and then leave the lawn for 2 weeks, followed by re-checking the lawn for signs of drought stress.
Never increase the amount of watering days per week, this should never be more than 2 days per week. More watering days will only create a shallow root system which is extremely prone to heat stress on hot day. Only ever increase the amount of water on each watering day.
Wetting Agents should be considered compulsory for every lawn which is experiencing water problems. An application of Wetting Agents should be done now to aid the soil in retaining and distributing water effectively. If the soil is normally prone to water problems then a program which includes applications of Wetting Agents 2 - 3 times per year is recommended.