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Looking to hear from any others in New England, or even more specifically Massachusetts. We just bought our dream home in Georgetown, MA and the one thing that needs a lot of work is the lawn and landscaping. We just had an irrigation system installed and it is running great. The age old question i'm trying to figure out is a watering schedule.

The irrigation company recommended 20 minutes a zone starting at 4:30am, every day. Online though i'm seeing a lot around water heavy and infrequently. Our front lawn is hit by the sun pretty hard all day long. Should I tweak it to every 2 or 3 days for longer?

  • Is the lawn at your house recently laid sod? or has it been there for a while? If it's new grass watering regularly is probably a good idea, but old grass definitely shouldn't need daily watering. – GardenerJ Sep 5 '15 at 0:32
  • It is old grass, we are probably going to aerate and overseed in a few weeks though.. Thank you! – simpson Sep 6 '15 at 0:51
  • Make sure you rake your grass by hand before overseeding...are there bare areas? If not, why are you overseeding? If you overseed you've got to go back to square one with watering. I'd aerate, fertilize with Dr. Earth Lawn fertilizer and only water deeply and only when that grass lies down after stepping on it...unless you have fertilized within the last two months. How long ago did you fertilize? Your water schedule can be calibrated by placing kitty cat food cans (empty) all over one zone. Check to see how deeply into the soil that amount was able to soak. You want 1" per week... – stormy Sep 6 '15 at 23:04
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GardenerJ is correct! If this is newly laid sod needs a little water every day for about a week and 1/2. Can you pull up the sod easily? (grab like hair and pull). If not continue with schedule. I am hoping your lawn heads and plant bed heads for your irrigation are on separate zones.

When established you need to TRAIN your grass roots by watering deeply and allowing to dry out. Only water when you walk on your grass your footprints STAY down. Not sooner and not later!! This pays off big time! Watering deeply means moisture gets at least 4" down in your soil. Gotta keep increasing the watered depth as your grasses become established (from 1" to 4"+). If your footprints in the grass pop back up quickly, don't water. When your footprints in the grass stay down, time to water and water deeply not ever just a little bit. This will train your lawn to be drought tolerant and be able to get at moisture that is protected from the environment.

Keep your grass mowed NO LESS THAN 3". Not 2 1/2" but 3!!! No kidding! These grass mixtures are all grasses with genetically LARGE root systems. Which is very, very good. But large root systems need a large TOP GROWTH to maintain. 3" is plenty. Any less will stress your grass plants where weeds will move in...hey, I experimented with this (don't tell my clients, grin) as everyone wanted 1" grass. 2 1/2 inches was way better than 2". 3" was perfect, dark, dark green, easy to cut and less to dispose of (shhhhh), but NO WEEDS. 2 1/2 " allowed some weeds to take hold. Not 3". Fertilize with an organic extended release plus micro nutrients plus bacteria (to decompose clippings and minimize thatch problems) and mycorrhizae for soil health. Dr. Earth lawn fertilizer BLEW me away!! Only needed to fertilize 2X versus 4X per year. I'd get a new mower if I couldn't raise the deck up to allow 3" length!! I DID!!

Aerate once per year! In your case you can wait until next year but always once per year. Use SHARP BLADES on your mower!! Get a pH test to see if you need to use lime periodically. Please don't lime unless you've tested the soil pH!! Moss control is UNNECESSARY! Moss does not compete with grass, it is an opportunist. If there are bare patches of soil your lawn needs redesigning! Sulfur also screws with the pH making it far more acidic than what lawn grasses want.

Lots of great answers for lawns on this site. I recommend you read as many as you are able. The LAWN is an amazing 'creature'...and is very expensive and disappointing to those that don't learn about this guy...for COOL SEASON GRASS MIX lawns...tropical stuff is different. You want a beautiful lawn, you need to have a great blower, weed wacker and mower that adjusts to 3" height grass. Don't worry about mulching...have not been impressed at all about 'mulching' mowers...just bag and use clippings on your plant beds thinly for weed supression and addition of a little Nitrogen.

  • GAS powered, not electric! I don't know how large your landscape is but if you want to care for it yourself (I certainly hope) you need great tools. GAS. I hate petroleum and oil wells and fracking but right now GAS tools make a huge difference! You'll WANT to be maintaining your own stuff... – stormy Sep 5 '15 at 20:13
  • Thank you for such a good answer! The grass is an old established lawn that was neglected for many years before we bought the property. For now i'll start to water more heavily and less frequent until we aerate and overseed later this September. – simpson Sep 6 '15 at 1:14

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