Irrigating as needed is the best way to water any plant. Knowing when and how much to irrigate is the key to plant health.
During the warmer months watering should be done as often as 3 times weekly, only if rainfall is absent. However, during periods of adequate rainfall, your irrigation system should be shut off as too much water is as equally damaging to turf as drought .
Most of us turn our irrigation system on and forget about them. Adjusting properly for current conditions is critical. The best frequency to water is actually determined by the turf.
The University of Florida states that you should water at the initial wilt of the grass blade. This is impractical for most of us, but attention to frequency based on conditions is important. If not under water restriction, the general accepted rule of thumb is 1 to 2 times weekly during the cooler months, and 3 times weekly during summer months, unless we are having adequate rainfall.
The amount of water applied is also critical. The usual misconception we encounter is that watering in small amounts more often is best. It is far more important to irrigate long enough for the water to penetrate to the root zone. Failure to penetrate the root zone creates a shallow root system.
One inch of water allows for several inches of soil penetration promoting a healthier deep rooted turf.
The proper amount of ¾ to 1 inch is determined by running time. Most systems that are properly working will furnish this amount in about 25 to 30 minutes. If you have time on your hands, place a pie pan on your lawn just before the next cycle and examine it afterwards. You can better judge the time requirements in this manner. If the pie pan is full after the watering cycle, the time is adequate. If not, adjust accordingly.