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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT WATERING

(1) Could you try and find the MINIMUM watering amount (that would keep the grass still somewhat presentable) for grasses (Bermuda) for my dry season (you could use Florida or possibly Far East dry season as a guideline). 2 inches of water seems to be too much as it would mean 45 articulated truckloads (6000 gallons each) per week for just lawn... The architects are horrified..       

LawnIrrigation.com - FAQ ANSWERS

(1) In general for normal growth functions grasses need .2  (2/10 of an inch) of water per day for normal growth.  Over 90% of the water grasses uses returns to the atmosphere through transpiration of the leaf surface cells.  A general rule of thumb often suggested by experts is 1" per week.  In sandy soils it is best to split this into 2 applications of 1/2 inch each.  Sandy soils require water more often than do soils of a loam or clay soil as they hold (retain) less.  Also soils with salt (high levels) restrict the availability of water to grass plants.  Heavier soils must also be watered slower so that the water infiltrates the soil.  Also... grasses growing near (or under) trees and by shrubbery require more water as the trees/shrubs compete. 

Bermudagrass is the most water efficient of all the grasses and has a good deep root system that goes down over 4 feet. It also stores water in the roots.  Drought situations are normal for grasses, which they handle by going dormant.  It would actually be okay to let Bermudagrass go without water for a period of weeks.  However, the grass will go dormant and then it will turn a brown color (basically the leaves die to allow the rest of the plant to live).   I would say that in emergency drought conditions you could let the grass do without water for 1-4 weeks... Watering to break the dormancy is not recommended unless you will return to normal amounts.  I would think that 1 inch ever 2-3 weeks would keep the grass alive during dry period.   Also the quality of water is somewhat important.  Salty water is not ideal for grasses, hopefully the water you use will have normal mineral content?

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