Watering Your Lawn The Right Way

Lawn sprinkler spaying water over green grass. Irrigation system
Photo Credit: Shutterstock © PEPPERSMINT

A healthy lawn is one that receives the proper amounts of sunshine, important nutrients such as nitrogen and oxygen, a good mix of fertilizer and, of course, water. Water is the single most important part of a healthy lawn because, without it, the lawn could experience dry patches, damaged root systems and areas where weeds will grow as the grass begins to die.

While some types of grass are more drought-resistant than others, they all need water to maintain their health throughout the seasons. Knowing the best time to water your lawn, as well as how water is enough, is also critical to maintaining a lush, green lawn with strong grass roots and no dry or dead patches.

In This Article:

Today’s Homeowner works with an independent reviews team to create evidence-based research that helps our readers make informed decisions. The reviews are always independent. For transparency, we may be compensated if you purchase through a link.


So, How Often Should I Water My Lawn?

Today’s Homeowner has put together this informative guide on how long to water your lawn and how often you should water based on the type of grass you have, your climate and other factors. You can also save yourself a lot of time and energy and ensure your lawn always receives the best care and attention by utilizing a reputable lawn care service such as TruGreen, our top recommended provider for lawn care services.

To receive a free estimate from TruGreen, contact the COMPANY at 877-386-6512 or fill out the easy form.


When to Water Your Lawn

The best time of day to water your lawn is early in the morning. During this time, the air is cooler, which enables the grass to absorb more moisture before the water starts to evaporate under hotter temperatures. Watering in the morning also ensures that the turf remains cooler throughout the day, which minimizes the stress on your lawn.

In particularly hot climates, watering in the afternoon simply isn’t as effective because the water will evaporate before it can be absorbed. And watering in the evening means that your lawn will likely stay wet for too long, which can result in the growth of a fungus that affects the health of the grass.


Watering Frequency

How often you should water your lawn depends on several factors. As a general rule of thumb, it is recommended that you water clay soils once a week and sandy soils approximately every three days. Most lawns only need an inch of water a week. If you receive rainfall totaling one inch or more during the week, it is not necessary to water the lawn.

Watering infrequently and deeply, rather than light and often, serves a dual purpose; it allows the water to soak deeper into the ground and consequently encourages grass roots to grow deeper. To be certain of how much water your lawn has received during a rainfall, purchase a rain gauge.

In addition to rainfall, consider the following factors when establishing how often you should water your lawn. 

Species of Grass

Drought-tolerant grasses such as Bahia and Bermuda only need to be watered when you see signs that the grass is starting to wilt and change color due to drought stress, which can be anywhere from 5-10 days depending on how hot it is.

Soil Type

As mentioned above, soil types can affect how much water the soil can hold, which, in turn, affects how deep the grass roots can grow. It will be harder for compacted soils to hold water and encourage root growth. An irrigation system might be necessary to fully maintain lawn health with compacted soils. Sandy soils will allow water to penetrate deeper into the ground but also drain quicker, which is why lawns on sandy soils need to be watered more often.

Shade

Grass in shady areas will remain cooler and moisture will be slower to evaporate. Shady areas of your lawn will likely need to be watered less than areas that receive a good amount of sun. If you have a sprinkler system, it might need to be adjusted so that the shady area isn’t overwatered.

Season

The climate during certain times of the year and the area you live will also determine your optimal watering schedule. There won’t be as much need to water your lawn as frequently during the colder months as you would in the late spring and throughout summer. Your irrigation system should be adjusted accordingly so that you aren’t wasting water and overwatering your lawn.


Watering the Right Amount

As stated above, approximately one inch of water per week is ideal for most lawns to remain healthy. How long you water your lawn in order to deliver the right amount of inches of water depends on the above factors. Once you can determine the right amount of water per week and how long to water to achieve that amount, you can set a schedule with an irrigation system or even just an ordinary sprinkler system.


Choosing a Sprinkler

Irrigation System Watering the green grass, blurred background
Photo Credit: Shutterstock © kzww

Keep in mind that the flow rate of various sprinklers and irrigation systems will also affect how long you need to water your lawn. To determine how long you need to run your sprinklers multiply the square footage of your lawn by .62 (this represents the amount of water in gallons needed to provide one inch of water per square foot). Then, divide the result by the sprinkler’s flow rate, and that will tell you how long to water your lawn.

Picking the right sprinkler or irrigation system for your lawn can be a difficult task because some types of sprinklers will work better than others with different types of lawns. However, built-in lawn sprinklers that can be run via an irrigation system are typically ideal for all lawns. They are also cost-effective if you plan on residing in your home for many years.

Pulsating Sprinklers

If you don’t have an irrigation system or don’t plan on getting one soon, a pulsating, revolving sprinkler is the next best thing. These hook up easily to your garden hose and can be moved around the yard as needed to cover all areas. The spray covers a semicircle area, so you can set the sprinkler at the edge of your lawn and not worry about water being wasted from spraying in the other direction.

Oscillating Sprinklers

These sprinklers send streams of water upward in an arc. They differ from oscillating sprinklers in that the streams of water land more softly upon the ground. This makes them ideally suited for new yards or areas where you are planting grass seeds. The lighter pressure of the water dropping onto the grass and the earth will not wash away seeds or newly growing grass.

Like pulsating sprinklers, oscillating sprinklers can also be moved around the yard as needed and can be adjusted to cover areas of a specific size.

Rotary and Stationary Sprinklers

These are somewhat similar in design to the pulsating sprinkler, but they spray water in a complete circular pattern. They are good for larger lawns but not narrow areas. They also work well with low water pressure.

Traveling Sprinklers

Much like robotic pool vacuums and floor vacuums, traveling sprinklers move across the lawn on their own in a specific pattern as the hose it is connected to uses the water pressure to propel it along. These work best with high water pressure and can save you time from having to repeatedly move other types of sprinklers to cover the whole lawn.

Hose-end Sprinklers

This is a kind of a do-it-yourself irrigation system without the need for digging underground. Hose-end sprinklers are a kit consisting of several components and sprinkler heads. Using a garden hose and additional connectors, you build a network of sprinklers across your lawn. The system can be operating on a timer or simply by turning on the main outdoor faucet.

Smart Watering Systems

This smart home device gives you complete control over your irrigation system, even if you aren’t home. Controls can be adjusted via an app, which can be used to set schedules turn sprinklers on or off, and see a watering calendar. One of the best things about a smart watering system is that some of them are advanced enough to automatically turn off your sprinklers if it starts to run and adjust your watering schedule as necessary.


Professionals Can Be The Key

If you want to ensure the health of your lawn without having to worry about watering schedules, the right amount of water, how often to water and how long to water, then a professional lawn care and maintenance company is your answer.

Professionals can efficiently assess your lawn, the type of soil you have and other factors to best determine and develop a lawn care plan that keeps your lawn looking lush, green and healthy all year long.


Top Recommended National Provider: TruGreen

After researching and evaluating costs, treatment plan options and customer reviews, we recommend TruGreen, a nationwide company with top reviews for customer service and comprehensive lawn care plans to suit your needs and budget. Its lawn care specialists have the knowledge, experience and equipment to treat your lawn right.

TruGreen Plans and Services

A lawn care specialist will visit your property to assess the health of your lawn and recommend a treatment plan. Fertilizer, aeration, weed control and other lawn care treatments are essential to the maintenance of a healthy lawn in addition to proper watering.

TruGreen’s comprehensive lawn care plans provide all of those services and more.

TruSignature– 8 visits a year
– Fertilization
– Aeration
– Pre-emergent and targeted Weed control
– Lime amendment
– Tree and shrub care
– Overseeding
– Grub prevention and control
TruComplete– 8 visits a year
– Fertilization
– Aeration
– Pre-emergent and targeted weed control
– Lime amendment
– Overseeding
– Grub prevention and control 
TruHealth– 8 visits a year
– Pre-emergent and targeted weed control
– Lime amendment
TruMaintenance– 7 visits a year
– Fertilization
– Aeration
– Pre-emergent and targeted weed control
TruNatural– 8 visits a year
– Organic fertilizer
– Non-chemical weed control
– Broadleaf weed control available upon request

All plans come with customer satisfaction assured thanks to the Healthy Lawn Guarantee.  


TruGreen Availability

TruGreen is based in Memphis but has branches nationwide, in all states except for Hawaii and Alaska. As the largest lawn care company in the country, it’s extremely likely there is a TruGreen branch near you ready to provide you with excellent lawn maintenance services.

Contact TruGreen at 877-386-6512 to discuss lawn care services or fill out their easy form for a free quote.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time of day to water your lawn? 

The best time of day to water your lawn is in the morning between the hours of 7:00 am and 10:00 am. The air is cooler during this time, allowing the water to soak into the ground and the grass to absorb the moisture. Later in the day when the weather is hotter, the water will evaporate too quickly.

How long should you water each zone? 

Knowing how long to water each zone depends upon your grass type, your sprinkler output and the type of soil you have. Some warm-season grasses are better adapted to hot climates and need less water. On average, most lawns require about 1 inch of water per week. If you know how much water your sprinkler puts out in one hour, you can make a better determination of how long you need to water each zone. Lastly, keep in mind that water will run quicker through sandy soils, while clay soils will hold onto the moisture longer.

Can I water my lawn at night?

It is not recommended that you water the lawn at night. The air is too cool for the lawn to dry in a reasonable amount of time, and the excess moisture could cause a fungus to grow and affect the health of your grass.

How much should you water your lawn?  

Most lawns require an inch of water per week. Some conditions may require you to water more or less, such as the type of grass, the climate and whether or not the lawn is in the shade or direct sun.

Exmark Backyard Life section ad

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here