When somebody sees your property, the first thing they’re going to notice isn’t going to be the architectural inspiration of your house or the freshly paved driveway.
It’s going to be the way your lawn looks. On Long Island, the appearance of your lawn is more like an unspoken competition than anywhere else in the country.
And what compliment feels more satisfying than, “Wow, you have a beautiful lawn”?
Of course, a lawn that’s the envy of the neighborhood isn’t going to come to you just because you want it. You’re going to have to earn it with proper lawn maintenance.
No, this doesn’t just mean mowing and fertilizing. The most important step you can take actually starts at the source. Your grass is a living system and like all living things, it needs water to survive.
The most important thing you can do for your lawn is have it properly watered with a well-designed sprinkler system.
You could certainly water your lawn manually, but you’ll never be able to match the efficiency or accuracy of a professionally installed irrigation system.
To get the best lawn on Long Island, here’s what you need to do:
Water fewer times in higher volumes
One big mistake that a lot of Long Islanders make is over-watering their lawns. It might be tempting to throw your sprinklers on a couple times a day. You made the investment to buy them, so why not use them, right?
Not only is this bad for the roots of your grass, but it’s also one of the biggest reasons why weeds grow out of control on some lawns. You’re effectively drowning out the roots and giving the seeds of weeds the water that they need to grow on your property.
Your best bet is watering for a longer period of time a few times a week rather than just turning on your irrigation system every day for an hour or so.
Watering deeply and less-frequently promotes a deeper root system and helps firmly establish your grass.
Water early in the morning
Although you might think it’s common sense, many Long Islanders still water in the middle of the afternoon or at night. For the best results, water your lawn early in the morning.
Watering in the heat of mid-day causes much of the water you’re putting on the lawn to simply evaporate.
Watering in the early morning should allow enough time for the water to penetrate into the soil before the sun comes up.
Adjust the amount of water for the temperature conditions
Just like you don’t rush out to get your car washed if you know it’s going to rain tomorrow, you have to treat your lawn differently depending on weather conditions.
If it’s raining a lot, you can get away with watering less. The clouds are doing it for you.
If we’re in the middle of a drought or a heat wave, you’re going to have to water much more frequently.
Just as you water early in the day to adjust for the weaker sun, if it’s 80+ degrees overnight, you’re going to have to water a lot more to make up for increased evaporation.
Of course, this is all in addition to mowing, fertilizing, aerating, seeding, making sure pets don’t roam freely, and all other maintenance methods that come with having a lawn on Long Island.
Most importantly, make sure you’re performing regular sprinkler maintenance. There’s nothing worse than finding out you have a problem with your irrigation system AFTER your lawn starts to burn out!