• Watering is one of the most often misunderstood aspects of turfgrass culture. Often, watering on turf areas is too frequent and too light. Frequent, shallow watering encourages shallow rooting, soil compaction, thatch accumulation, and weed seed germination. Ideally, turf should not be irrigated on a regular schedule but on one that is determined by need. An irrigation program cannot be developed to fit every location due to 1) dissimilar water holding capacities of different soil types found in Oklahoma, 2) weekly fluctuations in temperature, humidity, wind, and precipitation, and 3) the influence of management practices, such as mowing and fertilization on turfgrass water consumption. Sandy coarse-textured soils absorb water faster but retain less water than fine-textured soils like loams and clays. Thus, it takes less water to moisten sandy soil to a 6- inch depth than to moisten a clay soil to the same depth. This means more frequent applications of less water are required for turfgrasses growing on sandy soils. Lush, actively growing turfgrasses utilize more water than turfgrasses maintained on the “lean side.” The ideal time to water is when turfgrasses show the first visual symptoms of water need or wilt, characterized by “foot printing” and a blue-gray appearance. When turfgrasses experience moisture stress, their leaves begin to roll or fold and wilt. Thus, the leaves are slower to bounce back when stepped on. Enough water should be applied in one application to wet the soil to a 6-inch depth. This can be checked by probing the soil. After a few times you should develop a feel for the amount of time and water required for deep watering. If the area begins to puddle and run-off is occurring, stop irrigating and allow the water to soak into the soil. It may be necessary to repeat this cycle several times before proper irrigation is complete. Irrigating only when turfgrasses show the first visual symptoms of water need and then watering deep will encourage deep rooting. Early morning is an ideal time to irrigate.