The Best Way To Water Your Lawn When Dealing With Spotted Spurge Weeds

Summer heat is brutal, so it's unfair when you see the dreaded spotted spurge! Though it appears to pop up overnight, it actually grows slowly over the summer, and once you're ready to give up trying to keep your lawn happy later in the season, you may notice mature spurge in the dirt patches of your lawn. Watering deeply and infrequently is a simple way to keep spurge at bay, creating a happier and healthier lawn. You may be used to watering your lawn daily a little at a time, but doing the opposite will keep spurge and many other weeds away by encouraging your grass to develop a deep root system.

Once you get into the habit of watering deeply and infrequently, you'll notice your grass grows denser. This thick carpet of grass will fill in any holes where spotted spurge likes to pop up, eventually preventing the weed from sprouting at all. This process can take some time to show results, but once your grass develops deep roots, you can count on a happier yard, even when summer stressors like heat and drought kick in.

Water deeply instead of shallowly and frequently

Watering deeply is the key to success for a spurge-free lawn. How deep is "deeply?" That may be open to some interpretation, but the University of California recommends watering so that you moisten 6-8 inches of soil. That may seem excessive, but this is where the "infrequently" part comes in. Since you supply so much water, you don't have to water again until the top several inches of soil is dry.

How long you can wait to water will depend on several factors, like sun exposure, temperatures, and other stressors your lawn may experience. The biggest determining factor is root length. Young grass with shallow roots can't wait until 6 inches are dry if the roots only reach down to 2 inches. The older your grass is, the longer you can wait because it grows longer roots to reach the water as the soil dries out. Signs that your grass needs water include wilting leaves that develop a greyish-blue tint and lasting footprints. Footprints in lush lawns are normal, and a healthy lawn will spring back into place; however, if those footprints stick around, your grass lacks the moisture to stand up again.

Watering deeply can still be efficient

If watering deeply sounds wasteful, there are a few ways you can ensure it stays efficient. Start by practicing this method when your grass is young. Newly planted grass seeds and turf will need to be watered frequently due to their tiny new roots, but once they start to establish, train them to start growing deeper by supplying more water less often. Rather than getting the top inch of soil wet, water the top two, then wait to water when the top inch is dry again. This encourages the roots to grow further down as they search for water. Repeat this process as the growth continues; water 3 inches, then wait until 2 inches are dry.

Spotted spurge thrives in bare patches on your lawn because of all the space it needs to sprawl out its roots. Spurge doesn't need anything fancy to flourish, so it can grow in compacted soil when your grass can't. Aerate dirt patches to allow water and roots to pass through easily. As you water your lawn, include any dirt patches. As water enters the soil and grass spreads with long roots, it will prevent patches from forming and outcompete spotted surge.