Lawn Watering Tips: Here’s the Best Time to Water Your Grass

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Lawn watering tips here's the best time to water your grass

A healthy lawn is the foundation of a beautiful home’s curb appeal. If you want a lush, green lawn that’s the envy of the neighborhood, you need to water it correctly.

Using your sprinkler system at the wrong time could result in wasted water and damage your grass. Additionally, if you use too little water, your grass will turn brown and possibly even die.

So, what’s the secret to watering your lawn properly?

This guide will answer all your questions about lawn watering. Read on to learn when to water your lawn, how much water to use, and everything in between.

How Long Should You Water Your Grass, and How Often?

How long and how often should you water your grass

Many people water their lawns for either too long or not long enough, which can cause problems. The truth is, the amount of time you should water your lawn depends on a variety of factors, including:

  • The type of grass you have
  • The climate you live in
  • The time of year
  • The amount of rainfall you’ve received

That said, there are some general guidelines you can follow. For instance, most lawns need about 1 to 1.5 inches of water each week to grow strong and healthy. So whether this water comes from rainfall or irrigation, it’s important to monitor your lawn to ensure it’s getting enough.

If you live in an area with little rainfall, you’ll need to water your lawn more often. This equates to 20-45 minutes 5-6 times a week to get the correct hydration. However, if you live in an area with a lot of rainfall, you can reduce the amount of watering.

What is the Best Time of Day to Water Your Lawn? 

Morning lawn watering

The best time to water your lawn is in the early morning before the sun comes up. If you water your grass in the evening, the grass will stay wet overnight. This can lead to problems like fungal growth and lawn disease.

Additionally, watering in the morning gives the grass time to dry out before nightfall. This helps reduce the chances of diseases like brown patches, which thrive in humid conditions.

Watering in the morning also helps you avoid losing water to evaporation. When it’s hot and sunny outside, a great deal of water can evaporate before it even has a chance to sink into the ground and reach the roots of your grass. In fact, it’s estimated that sprinklers waste about 30 to 50% of the water they release due to evaporation.

So, if you want to save water and keep your lawn healthy, it’s best to water in the early morning hours.

How to Tell if Your Lawns have Been Watered Enough

There are a few simple tricks you can use to tell if your lawn is getting enough water. The first and most obvious way is to check the color of your grass. If it’s lush and green, it means your lawn is properly hydrated and your irrigation programming is working.

Another way to tell if your lawn is getting enough water is by using the “screwdriver test.” To do this, simply stick a screwdriver into the ground. If it sinks 6 to 7 inches into the soil, it means your lawn is adequately hydrated. However, if the screwdriver only sinks a few inches or doesn’t sink in at all, your grass needs more water.

Finally, you can also look for footprints on your lawn. If you see footprints or tire tracks that don’t quickly disappear, the grass likely isn’t getting enough water. The blades of grass should spring back up when they’re adequately hydrated.

Lawn Watering Tips for Different Grass Types

Warm season bermuda grass

As mentioned, the type of grass you have plays a role in how long you need to water your lawn. Different lawn types will have different watering and care needs, so you need to pay attention to the specific grass you’re growing.

Once you know what type of grass you have, you can set up an irrigation schedule that meets its needs. Here’s a quick overview of some common grass types and their watering requirements:

Warm-Season Grasses

Warm-season grasses are common in southern states and are known for their ability to withstand hot, humid climates. These grasses include Bermuda, zoysia, and centipede grass.

These grasses have an extensive root system that allows them to store water and withstand periods of drought. As a result, they don’t need to be watered as often as other grasses. Watering 1 to 2 times per week is usually sufficient, though you may need to water more frequently during periods of drought.

Cool-Season Grasses

Cool-season grasses are common in the northern and western portions of the country. They’re known for their ability to withstand cold weather and can even stay green throughout the winter. These grasses include ryegrass, tall fescue, and bluegrass.

These grasses have a shallow root system that makes them more susceptible to drought. As a result, they need to be watered more frequently than warm-season grasses. Watering the standard three times per week for 20 minutes is usually necessary for these grasses.

Common Mistakes People Make When Watering Their Lawn

Lawn watering mistakes

The idea of watering your lawn may seem straightforward – but there are a few mistakes that people often make.

Some of these mistakes include:

1) Watering for Too Long

If you water your lawn for more than 20 minutes at a time, the water will start to puddle on the surface. This can lead to disease, fungal growth, and encourage weeds.

The best way to avoid this mistake is to schedule when you will use your irrigation system each week. This should be no more than three times per week. Set a timer for 20 minutes and stick to your schedule, even if you think the lawn needs more water. You don’t want to oversoak it. 

2) Failing to Adjust for Rainfall

If you live in an area that receives a lot of rainfall, you may not need to water your lawn as often. Pay attention to the weather forecast and make adjustments to your watering schedule based on the amount of rainfall expected.

Overwatering is just as harmful to your lawn as not watering it enough. Too much water can kill your grass and lead to fungal growth.

3) Watering at the Wrong Time of Day

Another common mistake is watering your lawn at the wrong time of day. As discussed, the best time to water your lawn is in the morning hours (before 10 AM). This allows the water to seep into the ground instead of evaporating.

If you water your lawn in the evening, the water will sit on top of the grass blades and encourage fungal growth. Watering in the middle of the day is also not ideal as much of the water will evaporate before it has a chance to reach the roots.

4) Not Checking Your Sprinklers Regularly

Another mistake people make is failing to maintain their sprinkler system. Over time, your sprinklers can become clogged or damaged, preventing them from working properly. As a result, your lawn won’t get the water it needs to stay healthy.

To avoid this, it’s important to check your system regularly and ensure everything is in working order. This means checking for leaks, blockages, and if your sprinkler heads pop up correctly. Doing this once per month should be sufficient.

How Else Can Good Watering Practices Help My Lawn?

In addition to promoting a healthy lawn, good watering practices can also benefit your wallet and the environment.

If you’re not watering your lawn at the right time of day or for the right amount of time, you’re likely using more water than necessary. This will raise your monthly water bill and strain local water resources.

Conversely, if you’re watering your lawn correctly, you can be sure that the water is being used efficiently and not going to waste. This helps to conserve water and save you money in the long run.

It’s also worth noting that you’ll need to adjust it seasonally if you have an automatic sprinkler system. The amount of water your lawn needs will change depending on the time of year and the weather conditions. By adjusting your system accordingly, you can ensure that your lawn is getting the right amount of water year-round.

Hunter smart automated sprinkler system

The Bottom Line

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to lawn watering. By following the tips in this guide, you can ensure your lawn stays healthy and green all season long. You’ll also save water and money in the process.

Looking to upgrade your irrigation system? Environmental Designers Irrigation “Irrigate Smart is here to help. We offer a variety of irrigation products and services that can help you save water and money. Our experts will work with you to find the best irrigation solution for your needs.

Please contact us online or give us a call at 732-363-2775 if you have any questions.

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Guy Virone

Guy Virone leads a team of top-rated irrigations experts specializing in water management services, water-saving technologies, revamping antiquated systems, auditing, maintenance service, and installation.

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