Noob watering question

Here where I live- Rockaway, NY- I have all sand laying on top of construction rubble from the new home construction and the demolition of Rockaways' Playland. (I'd have a MUCH bigger garden if I didn't have to dig out all the damned concrete!) Drainage is awesome but organic matter (except what I add- I put down peat moss and I compost EVERYTHING) pretty much sucks. What's better for watering for a lawn- a soaking thunderstorm that lasts an hour at most, or a slow drizzle that lasts overnight? I have my suspicions but I would like input, and most of all I would like to know WHY one is better than the other. Thanks
Chris
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A slow steady soaking rain is best as it doesn't run off like a downpour.
Rich
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Chris wrote:

Each soil will have a maximum infiltration rate, for sand it is quite high. If the rate of application exceeds the infiltration rate the excess runs off. Broadly slow sprinkling is better as it is unlikely to exceed the rate but you can test this yourself to see how quickly you can apply water before it runs off. In general you don't want to have runoff as that is wasted.
Another issue is the holding capacity of the soil. Once the soil is saturated applying more water is of no benefit. How close to saturation you want to come depends on the situation but saturation can kill or cause damage to plants (depending on the plant) by excluding air from the roots and this level of watering is rarely beneficial unless you are growing bog plants. If there is an impervious layer under the soil the excess beyond saturation will run off no matter how good the infiltration is. If there is not an impervious layer below then the excess will soak away and end up in local waterways by an underground route. In either case it is wasted for your purposes unless you are interested in recharging the local aquifers at your own expense.
A third and minor issue is that storms with lightning fix atmospheric nitrogen so a lightning storm can provide a little soluble nitrogenous fertiliser.
David
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