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Best Time to Water Grass

Posted on February 13, 2020 by Lawn Doctor

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Green and lush lawns can be hard to maintain and care for. And when your lawn isn’t growing as green or as thick as you would like, it can be hard to know why. Often, the grass might be struggling because it’s not getting enough water or not getting water at the right time. Or maybe your grass looks fine, but you want to know how long to water turfgrass or the best time of day to water your lawn to help save water. Read on to learn about the most common watering mistakes you might be making with your lawn, the best time to water grass, and how to remedy them to help your lawn grow healthy and strong.

Watering the Right Amount

Many people water too much or too little. How much water does your lawn actually need? You might think that the amount of water each lawn needs varies, but it actually doesn’t vary much. Your lawn needs about 1 -1 ½ inches of water each week to grow healthy and strong. More water than that can cause your yard to get saturated, which is one of the leading causes of disease, fungal growth, and soil compaction, all of which can result in unattractive, unhealthy grass. Too little water will dry your grass out and turn it yellow and parched. The key is to try and give your yard about that ideal inch of water each week – even during the winter. Watering the lawn is a year-round project. 

The good news is that if you live in a wet environment, you may not need to use sprinklers at all. If your lawn gets 1 -1 ½ inch of precipitation a week, then you don’t need to water your lawn yourself. Most people don’t need to water their lawn in the winter because the snow acts as the weekly precipitation the lawn needs.

Best Time to Water Grass

Some people aren’t sure when the best time to water grass is, and they end up watering at the wrong time. When is the best time of day to water lawns? You might see sprinklers in your neighborhood going at all hours of the day and wonder who is watering at the right time. If you’re wondering when to water grass, the best time to water grass lawns is in the early morning between 4 AM and 9 AM. Watering in the cool morning will reduce the amount of evaporation that occurs while you’re watering, so your grass can soak up more water in less time. This trick will save you on your water bill. Avoid watering at midday, (when water evaporates too quickly) and late at night (which can lead to fungal growth). Also, watering during the heat of the day can cause the water to evaporate before it even reaches the roots, so your

Sprinkler spraying water on lawn in the morning

Additionally, watering in the early morning gives your lawn enough time to dry before dark. Lawns that are still wet at nightfall regularly can experience lawn fungus and disease. Watering in the early morning will prevent this from happening. The best time to water grass is in the early morning, but if it’s impossible to water in the early morning, it’s better to water it at some point during the day than not at all.

Watering Often Enough

It might seem like you should water your lawn every day. The more water the better, right? But watering your grass every day can weaken the root system in your yard. The daily watering can cause the root system to become shallow and dry out fast. Overall, watering too often will weaken your lawn. On the other hand, watering too infrequently can cause the roots to dry out and the lawn to yellow. The key is to water just a couple of times a week to help keep your lawn moisturized and healthy.

Sprinkler on a healthy lawn

Since lawns need about 1 -1 ½ inches of water a week, you can divide that between two or three watering sessions of about half an inch each time. During winter weather or colder conditions, lawns only need to be watered once or maybe twice to maintain the right amount of water.

How Long to Water Your Lawn

Some people worry about watering for too long, or they overcompensate and water their lawn too much. Now you know how much water your grass needs and when to water it, but you still may wonder how long to water your lawn to give it that key 1 -1 ½ inch. There can be some variation between lawns, but generally, it takes about half an hour to give your grass ½ inch of water. If you decide to water your grass three times a week, you only need to water about 20 – 30 minutes each of those three times.

There is a test to help determine exactly how long to water lawns to tailor this rule of thumb to your grass. Place a container or can of some kind in your yard and run your sprinklers. Set a timer to see how long it takes for an inch of water to be in the container. However long that takes is about how long to water your lawn through the entire week. You can then divide that time between two or three times to help spread out the watering.

Watering Grass Seed

When it comes to watering grass seed, a lot of the same watering rules apply. Grass seed should be watered early in the morning and other cooler times of the day. But there are a couple of tips for watering grass seed that isn’t an established lawn. 

  • Water once per day for 2 -3 days before planting the grass seed.
  • Water once for 10 minutes right after planting. 
  • Water both morning and evening for about 10 minutes until the seeds sprout. 
  • Water like usual once the seeds have sprouted. 

Watering grass seed is similar to regular lawns, but these tips should help your grass seed flourish into a healthy yard.

How to Tell if the Grass is Watered Enough

Once you are watering your lawn 2 – 3 times a week for about twenty minutes, you may want to check if your lawn is getting enough water. The easiest way to check is to see if your lawn looks healthy. If it’s green and lush, it’s most likely getting enough water. Another quick way to check is to stick a screwdriver into the soil. If it sinks 6 – 7 inches in, then your yard is getting enough water. If it doesn’t go far enough in, then your lawn might need a little more water. 

You can often tell if your lawn is being overwatered if you are finding mushrooms. If you see mushrooms peeking out from the blades of grass, it’s time to try reducing the amount you water a little bit.

The Bottom Line

These are the common mistakes people may make while watering their lawns. Watering the right amount, at the right time, and the right amount will help your yard flourish. Watering 1 inch a week and during the ideal times will keep your grass healthy and green. The next step is to fertilize and mow at all the right times. All of these steps together will help you care for your lawn and keep it healthy and strong.

For additional tips, contact your local Lawn Doctor today.

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