Grass needs water, but how much?


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Grass needs water, but how much? The combined loss of water from plants and soil (“evapotranspiration”) was measured in a classic turf study in south Florida .
It should be easy to replace the total evapotranspiration loss of about 43 inches per year, because south Florida gets about 60 inches rainfall. But typically, dry weather in April and May means that just about all the turf water must come from irrigation. And in other months, such June through October, rainfall is plentiful, on average, but sporadic.
The story is more complicated. Soils with good water holding capacity, such as organic soils, provide more water reserve for the roots than sand soils. Most areas of south Florida are within 5 feet of the water table, and some turfgrasses live on this water. Turf grown near heat sources, such as pavement, uses more water, while turf under trees uses less water.