Should You Water Your Lawn If So How Often
There are many different things you can do to get your lawn looking its best, from weed and feed treatments, regular mowing and even talking to your grass will help it to grow. No really talking helps your plants grow.
But the one key ingredient for your lawn or any plant is WATER. Without it plants will not survive, and even your very resilient little grass blades can die off if left too long without a good drink.
But what if its rained a lot or if there is rain due? Can you over water your grass and whats the best way to do it?
How Often To Water New Grass Seed
New grass seed should get at least 1 of water each day. This can be done all at once. It doesnt matter what type of grass seed you have. Even grass plugs and new sod need at least 1 of water each day, or more.
In hotter and dryer locations, you may even need to give your new grass seeds 1 of water twice a day or split this up into half an inch 3 to 4 times per day to ensure that the water is being absorbed and creating the proper germination conditions.
Signs Of An Overwatered Lawn
Overwatering the lawn is more common than you may think. If you have well-draining soil and an even cross-slope, your lawn can put up with some overwatering without incident. But dont make the mistake of thinking that if some water is good, more must be better.
Excessive lawn watering invites a whole set of problems that will make your lawn look terrible. Common signs of excessive lawn watering include:
Fungus loves warm, wet soil and grass blades, and will thrive in overwatered lawns. You may see mushrooms, mold, blight, and even algae in an overwatered lawn. Because symptoms of overwatering are often mistaken for water stress , many people end up watering even more when fungal diseases take hold, compounding the problem.
A yellowing, wilting lawn
Too much watering leads to saturated soils and low soil oxygen levels. Your lawn can drown when theres no oxygen available for grass roots, turning it pale green/yellow and making it wilt . Its better for your lawn to get a little dry than to be too wet.
Muddy, compacted, rutted soil
Saturated soil turns into mud. This will compact when stepped on, further reducing oxygen available to the grass. Mud and soggy soil will also slip out of place under the weight of feet and machinery, making ruts and ripping out grass roots as it goes.
Lots of weeds
Fungal problems, such as dollar spot, are common on overwatered lawns.
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How To Tell If Your Lawn Has Been Watered Enough
There are some simple tricks that will determine if a lawn is receiving enough water. First, does it look healthy? If it looks healthy, then it probably is which means stick to what you are doing. Another way to determine if your lawn needs to be watered is to submerge a screwdriver into the grass. If it easily sinks 6 to 7 inches, then your lawn is receiving an adequate amount of water each week. If not, it is probably time to make a change to your watering routine.
Be ready for changing weather and be aware of when a lawn needs more feeding and fertilizing. Give lawns an organic fertilizer and compost in fall and spring and cut back on watering when dry days turn to rainy ones.
If you see mushrooms growing in your grass, it is most likely due to overwatering. The best next step is to decrease the amount of watering until the mushrooms are gone.
How Much Water Do You Use When You Water Your Lawn
All lawn areas require 1- 1.5 per week. This is best done in one to two waterings per week depending on your soil type and if we are experiencing heat waves . The trick here is to water deeply so that the roots grow down deeper into the soil to chase the water, thereby leaving more soil above them to protect them during periods of dryness and excessive heat.
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How Often To Water Lawn In Winter
If you need the answer to how often to water lawn in winter and the soil in your lawn is entirely wet, then you dont need to water your lawn. If the soil is dry, then water your lawn until it is moist but not soggy.
Select A Sprinkler That Best Fits Your Needs
Automatic irrigation systems with pop-up sprinklers are often associated with excessive irrigation. However, properly designed and operated systems supply water uniformly over an entire area without wasted runoff.
Missouri soils generally have low water-infiltration rates. Automatic controllers can be set to supply several short cycles so that the total amount of water desired is supplied without runoff.
The most common type of watering occurs with hose-end sprinklers. Some studies have shown that the average homeowner applies 2-1/2 times the amount of water required for overgrowth when using hose-end sprinklers.
Several types of hose-end sprinklers are available . Select one that best fits the size and shape of your lawn, and operate it efficiently. All hose-end sprinklers can be attached to inexpensive timers that can be used to shut off unattended sprinklers and avoid overwatering.
Figure 1Some sprinkler types and their applications
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Watering Your Lawn Automatically
There are many different ways to efficiently and automatically water your lawn. There are a few factors you should take into account. Ask yourself the following questions: How much water will I need? How large an area do I need to cover? What shape is my lawn? Is there anything nearby that cant get wet?
Here are a few popular types of sprinklers to consider:
- In-ground sprinklers These systems can be expensive, but are highly efficient. The sprinkler heads pop up automatically to water, and pop right back down when the watering is done, delivering a precise amount of water.
- Pulsating sprinklers This type shoots out water horizontally in a powerful stream, covering a large area easily. Grassroots get the level of moisture they need quickly. However, the pulsing might be too intense for newly seeded or sodded lawns.
- Oscillating sprinklers These are a good alternative for newly seeded lawns, since the force of the water is weaker, and you still get good coverage.
- Hose-end sprinklers These traditional sprinklers are the most common and come in many different types.
Make sure your automatic sprinkler is doing its job, when it needs to do its job. If the forecast calls for a lot of rain, adjust the settings accordingly. Also, make sure it isnt pointed at the streetyou dont want to soak any passersby.
How To Water Your Lawn
Water is an essential component of all plant life, but especially important to growing a healthy, green lawn. No lawn is the same, so its important to water your lawn on a consistent schedule that is tailored according to your specific climate, soil condition, and grass type. This will provide your lawn with the necessary hydration it needs to grow strong and healthy all year long.
In order to tailor a watering schedule to your lawns specific needs, you should first consider these factors:
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Adjust Your Lawn Watering Schedule
Timing is important when watering your lawn. The best time to water your lawn is early in the morning really early! Between 4 AM and 7 AM is optimal. If you water during the day, sun and heat will evaporate 20-25% of the water, leaving much less water for your grass. To help with this watering schedule, use a timer on a sprinkler or irrigation system. Its much better than waking up at two in the morning!
You may notice that some people water their lawn every day, sometimes for as little as 10 minutes at a time. Please dont do this! Like most plants, turfgrass does best with infrequent, deep watering that encourages it to grow deeper, stronger roots. Shallow, frequent watering leads to shallow roots that make the plant wilt, and even die, during hot, dry weather.
Watering In 90 To 100+ Degree Weather
- Water 3 to 4 times per week.
- Set watering time to achieve 1/2 3/4 inch of water per station per day.
- For fan-style pop-up spray heads, the average time is 25 to 35 minutes per station .
- Rotary-style systems average 40 to 60+ minutes per station .
- Follow the to determine your exact watering time.
- Alert! You will most likely need to hand water some areas your automated system will not be able to uniformly cover all areas in this heat. If you only increase your watering time, you will drastically overwater some areas and probably still have some dry, dead spots to deal with.
- Check out our drought control video to learn how were combating the heat this summer:
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No Need To Wet Your Plants
At the end of the day, under-watering your lawn is actually less harmful than over-watering. Most grass types are quite resilient to under-watering.
Your grass will certainly let you know when it needs watering if its been too long.
The results from watering when your grass has turned dull green or even brown are quite quick, versus the length of time it can take to fully treat rot or disease in an over-watered lawn.
Watering Lawns In Hot & Dry Seasons
In hot and dry weather, a lawn may be best served with more frequent waterings. Above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, grass will often fall dormant anyways. You might be able to prevent that if you can keep your turf cool with sprinklers a few times a week. If your grass is browning, dont worry. Your grass is not dead and should turn right back to green when it cools down after watering.
No matter the season, it is best to water in the morning before 10am to ensure that your lawn has enough time to absorb that moisture without the sun and heat evaporating it. Alternatively, but still less ideal, watering at dusk is another option that allows the moisture to soak in without lingering too long and potentially allowing mold to grow and kill your lawn.
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How Much Water Does Your Lawn Need
The amount of water your lawn needs will depend on a few different factors, including the type of grass you have, the climate you live in, and how much foot traffic your lawn gets. In general, most lawns need about an inch to two inches of water per week.
The best way to determine how much water your lawn needs is to check the soil moisture level. If the soil is dry down to a depth of three or four inches, its time to water. To check the soil moisture level, use a gardening fork or trowel to poke into the ground. If the soil is dry, it will crumble easily. If its moist, it will stick together in small clumps. You can also try placing a plastic container on your lawn and turning on the sprinklers for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, check to see how much water has collected in the container. If its less than half an inch, your lawn needs more water. If its more than an inch, your lawn is getting too much water.
Watering your lawn too often can actually do more harm than good. Overwatering can cause the roots of your grass to rot, making your lawn more susceptible to disease and pests. It can also lead to mold and mildew growth, which can lead to yellow patches on your lawn. So be sure to check the soil moisture level before you turn on the sprinklers. Your lawn will thank you for it!
When Is The Best Time To Water My Lawn
If the amount of water we use to water our lawn should be monitored, the time for when you water your lawn is equally as important. The best time of day to water is early in the morning from around 6 am to 10 am. This allows the soil plenty of time to dry before nighttime. Wet soil at night is not a good idea because it makes the lawn susceptible to fungus or other disease problems. Watering in the morning, on the other hand, is ideal because it keeps evaporation to a minimum due to the cooler temperature. It also prepares the soil for the hotter part of the day by keeping the turf cool so it doesnt cause stress on the grass. If the watering schedule in the morning is hard to achieve, however, the next best time would be late in the afternoon.
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Is It Possible To Overwater My Lawn
Yes. It is possible to overwater your lawn, to the point where you are wasting excess time and resources.
Overwatering can also do just as much damage as under-watering your lawn. This is because, when the soil roots get waterlogged, they eventually drown and rot and then the grass blades die.
Most cases of overwatering occur in winter. When this happens, the lawn is receiving enough water from the natural water, but the gardener continues to manually water the lawn at the same rate as the warmer months.
Learn To Read A Lawn And Know When To Water
Turfgrass water-use rates are high during sunny and windy days with low relative humidity. In situations where lawns are not watered and rainfall is limited, grasses first show symptoms of wilt and later turn completely brown.
Signs that a lawn should be thoroughly watered for grasses to remain green and actively growing
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Skip These Lawn Watering Pitfalls
Using sprinklers in the blazing hot sun. Please refrain from using sprinklers when it’s sunny and 95 degrees. Practically all the water applied will evaporate into the hot air before ever reaching the roots. You might as well water the storm drain.
Using sprinklers when it’s raining. Most people guilty of this use in-ground sprinklers set by a timer. There are rain sensors for this, or smart sprinkler controllers now allow you to customize watering schedules previously set on autopilot.
Using sprinklers to water the street. Again, in-ground sprinklers are the culprit. People set them to go off in the middle of the night and never see where the sprinklers are pointed. As I’ve said before, you can water asphalt all you want, but that stuff just ain’t gonna grow. As a good practice, test your irrigation system annually to make sure sprinkler heads are leak-free and pointing in the right direction.
How To Water Lawns In The South
We are going to take a deep dive into how to properly water your lawn in the south to keep it thriving all year long.
Before we get too far along, lets cover some basic best practices when it comes to lawn maintenance. There are 4 primary tasks that need to be completed on a certain schedule and in a certain manner for any lawn to be as healthy as it can be.
The 4 lawn maintenance tasks are: Proper lawn mowing, proper fertilization, watering properly, and core aerating.
Proper mowing consists of a couple of things.
First, make sure your blades are sharp and your mowers deck is clear of debris. Grass likes to get caked to the top of the deck, be sure to scape this off regularly.
Next is simply mowing often enough. You never want to remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade each time you mow.
We are in Georgia, so our grass is trying to grow in Georgia clay! It is going to need some nutrients provided by fertilizer to thrive.
Proper fertilization consists of applying the right amount of fertilizer for that time of the year based on your soil, grass type, and the recent and current climate. We arent going deep into fertilization as we are focusing on watering right now.
Below you will find much more specific information on watering specific southern grass types.
Aerate Your Lawn
A core lawn aeration should be performed once or twice a year if you truly want your lawn to be as healthy as can be.
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Do You Need To Water Your Lawn Every Day
No, you dont need to water your lawn daily. In most seasons, you dont even need to water every other day. Its better to water 2 3 times per week. Your area may have conservation ordinances that will limit the frequency, as well.1
If you water your lawn daily, your grass will have shallow roots and wont be so healthy. So you should avoid a lawn watering routine that has you watering the lawn daily.
Your lawn can go as much as a week without water, so at some times of the year watering just once a week is enough.
Saving An Overwatered Lawn
Its important to remember that water stress can result from both over-and underwatering. So, before you turn up the irrigation, check your lawns moisture level.
The root system of the average lawn grows to a depth of around four inches, and it can become waterlogged as well as dry. Make sure your irrigation system is running on a cycle that:
- Gives your grass enough moisture each week, relative to changing temperatures ,
- Does not cause runoff during a cycle by spraying more water than the soil can absorb, and
- Is not over-saturating the soil and drowning the lawns roots.
For details on how to recognize and deal with other summer lawn problems, see our article on lawn problems in northern Virginia.
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