Best Time to Water Grass

best time to water lawn

You take pride in your yard, so of course, you want your lawn to look its best. You already know your grass needs plenty of water, but what does that mean exactly? And furthermore, when is the best time to water grass?

It’s easy to overwater your lawn, and then again, it won’t stay green through the summer if you don’t give it enough.

Knowing when, how much, how often, and the best time to water your lawn can be complicated. Finding the right balance comes from understanding how much and how often to water your grass and knowing the best times of day to water your lawn.

sprinkler watering grass

When Is the Best Time to Water Your Lawn?

Early morning is the best time of day to water your lawn. Watering your lawn before 10 AM gives the water a chance to soak into the ground before the day’s heat can evaporate it.

Early watering also allows grass time to dry, so it doesn’t develop diseases and fungi.

When you water your lawn during the middle of the day, the moisture evaporates before the soil can absorb it. When you water at night, it becomes susceptible to disease.

Knowing when is the best time to water grass can save you money on your water bill and keep your lawn greener.

Best Time to Water Grass in the Evening

The best time of day to water grass is in the early morning. Not everyone can pick and choose the times to water their lawn, though, and it might seem like it makes sense to water when the sun isn’t out. However, one of the worst things you can do is water late in the evening or the middle of the night.

If you can’t water your lawn in the morning, the next best time to water is in the evening, between 4 PM and 8 PM. Try to water in the late afternoon, if possible.

mildew from grass fungus

Any later than 8 PM and your lawn won’t dry out before nighttime. When wet all night, it’s more likely to sprout fungus and get diseases.

Best Time to Water Grass in the Summer

The best time to water grass in the summer is before the dew dries. While 6 AM to 10 AM is an optimal time throughout the growing season, you can water even earlier in the summer.

Early watering gives the water a chance to soak into your lawn’s roots, and the moisture will help keep your turf cool throughout the day.

Water your grass deeply in the spring to encourage strong root growth. The deeper your lawn’s roots, the more resilient your grass will be in the summer.

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Best Time to Water Grass in Hot Weather

Changes in the weather and the seasons can affect how much water your lawn needs. If your grass is turning brown in the hot summer sun, it can feel like you need to water your lawn 24/7 to keep it green.

That said, overwatering your lawn can also be a problem, and watering in the heat of the day isn’t optimal, either.

Hot weather causes everything to heat up, including your lawn. It’s very common for plants to wilt in the hot summer sun because they can’t transpire enough water to keep up with evaporation.

Deep watering will soak into your lawn and keep the roots cooler, but they may still experience some wilting during periods of extreme heat.

You might need to water your lawn more frequently in hot weather. However, you should still follow best practices by watering your grass deeply in the early morning or evening.

Can You Water in the Sun?

You can water grass in the sun, but the best time to water is before the sun is high in the sky. If your lawn shows signs of severe stress during hot weather, you can water it during the middle of the day.

Even though watering your grass in the sun isn’t the best time, it’s better than letting it get scorched by the heat. Scientists have dispelled the myth that water droplets act like magnifying glasses on blades of grass. But just like people get sunburns, sun exposure can scorch grass.

Lawns are more susceptible when they don’t have enough water. If your lawn becomes too burnt, it will be weeks before it can bounce back.

Should You Water After Mowing?

You can water your grass immediately after mowing. Since early morning is the best time to water grass, it’s a good idea to mow your lawn as soon as the dew has dried, then water immediately after if necessary.

clumped grass clippings

Watering before you mow is bad because wet grass clippings tend to clump together. Keep the two activities separated by scheduling them on different days.

Watering deeply two to three times a week in the early morning, and mowing every 5 to 8 days, is the best schedule.

How Long to Water Grass?

Not all soil types absorb water at the same rate. Knowing how long to water grass depends on how long you can water your lawn before noticing runoff. You should stop watering when water runs into the gutter and other low places.

sprinkler runoff

So, how long do you water grass before runoff occurs? To determine this, carefully observe and time a watering cycle, stopping when runoff begins.

This method tells you the maximum amount of time you should water your grass at once.

You can use this information to calculate how often you should water each week. For example, if your lawn needs 45 minutes of water per week, but runoff happens after 15 minutes, you need to water three times per week.

How Often to Water Grass?

How often you need to water your grass depends on several factors. The time of year, how much it has rained, your growing zone, and the type of grass you’re growing all affect how much water your grass requires.

Different types of grasses need varying amounts of water throughout the year. So, when you plan your lawn watering schedule, consider the kind of grass, the weather, and seasonal changes.

How Often to Water Bermuda Grass?

Bermuda grass is a warm-season grass. Warm-season grasses have root systems that extend deep into the ground. Watering them once or twice per week is usually sufficient.

rain gauge

Use a rain gauge to ensure your warm-season lawn gets at least 1 to 1.5 inches of water each week, whether from rainfall or a sprinkler.

The peak growing conditions for warm-season grasses occur in the spring when the weather is warm and frequent rains provide daily moisture.

Warm-season grasses like to grow when temperatures are above 80°F (27°C). They’ll tolerate hot weather better than cool-season grasses because of their deep root systems.

When temperatures are cooler in the fall, warm-season grasses still need moisture, but not as much as in the summer. As days get shorter and cooler, you can taper down watering to about one inch per week in the fall, rain included.

How Often to Water St Augustine Grass?

St. Augustine grass is another warm-season grass that grows best in tropical climates. It requires water 2 to 3 times per week, similar to Bermuda grass.

St. Augustine grass is excellent for humid areas and resistant to salts in the soil, so it is commonly grown in states with sub-tropical weather, like Florida and Texas.

You can tell if you have St. Augustine grass because it forms a thick carpet of dense, coarse dark-green leaves.

How Often to Water Kentucky Bluegrass?

Kentucky bluegrass is a cool-season grass. The root systems of cool-season grasses don’t penetrate as deeply as warm-season grasses, making them more vulnerable in hot weather.

Since they are primarily grown in northern regions, cool-season grasses rarely have to contend with more than a few weeks of hot weather during the summer.

Generally, cool-season grasses require more frequent watering than warm-season grasses.

One inch of water per week is a good rule of thumb for cool-season grass. Divide these waterings into three irrigations spaced evenly throughout the week.

In the fall, cool-season grasses need less frequent watering. Keep your eye on the soil and the grass conditions to ensure it’s getting enough water, but take care not to overwater.

Consider the amount of rainfall when determining how much to water your cool-season grass in the fall.

How Much to Water Grass?

How much water your grass needs depends on the weather and the soil, as well as the type of grass and the time of year. Changes in weather throughout the growing season will affect how much you should water your lawn. However, during peak growing seasons, your lawn actively grows and needs more water.

How short you mow your grass can also affect how much water your lawn needs because short grass doesn’t keep the soil as cool as long grass. Mow your grass to about 3 inches or more so it will be more resistant to hot weather during the summer.

There are a few ways to tell if your grass has enough water.

screwdriver test

One way is to stick a screwdriver about six inches into the soil. If it goes in easily, your lawn has enough water.

Also, pay attention to how fast footprints disappear. When a lawn is well hydrated, the blades of grass bounce back, and footprints will disappear quickly.

You can also tell a lot about how much water your lawn needs simply by looking at it. If it’s a dull, grayish-blue color, it needs water.

Can You Overwater Grass?

Because the water requirements of your lawn change so often throughout the growing season, it’s pretty easy to overwater your grass.

In addition to water and nutrients, grass needs oxygen to grow. When you overwater your lawn, the water replaces oxygen in the soil, and the roots can’t breathe.

soggy grass

Here are a few signs that you’ve overwatered:

  • Puddles–When the ground has stopped absorbing water, it starts pooling in low areas like gutters, sidewalks, and dips in your lawn.
  • Fungus–Fungi thrive in moist conditions, and their presence is a primary indicator of overwatering.
  • Wilting–Wilting grass is often associated with a thirsty lawn, but it can also mean your lawn has too much water.
  • Spongy Soil–Your foot shouldn’t sink into mushy ground when you walk on your lawn.
  • Root Rot–Discolored brown and yellow grass with slimy roots are symptoms of root rot, a common disease caused by overwatering.

How to Avoid Overwatering Your Lawn

You can avoid overwatering your lawn by checking the soil before you irrigate. Probe into the soil 6 to 12 inches to determine how much moisture it has.

Watering requirements change throughout the growing season, so you might have to adjust your watering schedule. Remember that the best time to water your lawn is early morning, and be sure to skip watering if it rains.

Best Time to Water New Grass Seed

watering grass seed

The best time of day to water new grass seed is in the early morning or evening. This is because when you water during the heat of the day, the moisture will evaporate before it has a chance to soak into the bare soil.

However, if you’ve planted grass seed and the weather suddenly turns unexpectedly warm, you might need to water during the middle of the day to keep your grass seedlings alive.

The best time to plant grass seed is during peak growing conditions for the type of grass you’re growing. For instance, warm-season grasses are best planted in the spring when frequent rains and warm temperatures encourage germination and provide optimal growing conditions.

The best time to plant grass for cooler regions is in the fall.

How Often to Water Grass Seed?

Newly planted lawns need more frequent watering than established turf, and they are often planted in the spring and fall when it rains more. Knowing how often to water new grass seed depends on the growing conditions in which you plant your lawn.

The goal is to keep the soil moist to promote germination so sprouted seeds won’t die before they develop roots. Because the top layer of soil is where the seeds are germinating, you might have to water two or three times per day, tapering off as the grass becomes established.

Use mulch to prevent evaporation and protect seedlings. Weed-free straw mulch or an erosion mat keep newly planted lawns from drying out, thus increasing germination rates.

How Much to Water New Grass Seed in the Summer?

Summer isn’t the best time to plant grass. But if you are planting warm-season grasses in the summer heat, you should water often enough to keep the top layer of soil moist.

Check the weather forecast before you plant grass in the summer, and hold off planting if the forecast calls for extremely hot weather or heavy rains.

Overwatering can lead to runoff, which causes seeds and dirt to shift, resulting in a patchy lawn. Also, too much water will push out all of the soil’s oxygen, which grass needs to grow.

How Long to Water New Grass Seed In The Fall?

Many people in cooler regions plant grass in the fall. Fall is the best time to plant cool-season grasses because it allows them to establish before the next hot summer rolls around.

Knowing the requirements of new grass can help you understand how long to water grass seed.

As with all newly planted lawns, the goal is to keep the top layer of soil moist so the seeds can germinate and develop roots. You might have to water them a few times a day in the first week. If the seeds or seedlings dry out, they’ll die.

In the fall, water new grass seed long enough for the water to soak into the soil. Light, careful watering usually takes about 5 to 10 minutes.

It’s a good idea to saturate the area a few days before you plant because sometimes bone-dry soil repels water. This leads to runoff and seed displacement.

Can You Overwater Grass Seed?

When planting grass, gentle, frequent waterings are best because you can easily overwater grass seed.

Overwatering shifts the soil, either burying or exposing the seeds. When covered with too much dirt, grass seeds lose sunlight and can’t grow. If too exposed, they will dry out and won’t germinate.

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Lawn Watering FAQs

Is It Bad to Water Grass During the Day?

The best time to water grass is in the morning, allowing water to soak deep into the soil. When you water grass during the day, it usually evaporates before it can soak in.

However, you can water your grass during the day if it’s in danger of turning brown due to a lack of water. It’s not the best time, but if scorched, it can be weeks before it turns green again.

Is It Bad to Water Grass at Night?

watering grass at night

Watering at night isn’t a good idea because it promotes fungal growth and diseases. If you can’t water in the morning, which is the best time to water your lawn, you should try watering before 8 PM, so the grass doesn’t stay wet all night.

How Long Can Grass Go Without Water?

Green lawns require water at least once per week, but grass can survive without water for several weeks. Without adequate moisture, a lawn will ultimately go dormant.

The blades of grass will turn brown and die even though the grass plant’s crown is still alive. It takes about two weeks of watering to revive dormant lawns.

What Temperature is Too Hot to Water Grass?

outdoor thermometer

It’s too hot to water grass when it reaches 95°F (35°C). During periods of extreme heat, you should try to water your lawn before 7 AM.

Early watering gives the soil a chance to absorb moisture, which will help keep the grass cool on hot days.

Does Pool Water Kill Grass?

A few splashes of pool water won’t kill grass, but emptying a pool on your lawn isn’t a good idea.

Pool water contains diluted chlorine. If you drain your pool on your lawn, it can kill your grass. Therefore, it’s best to dilute the pool water before emptying it on your lawn.

You should also note that grass is less vulnerable to higher chlorine levels than trees, shrubs, and flowers, so keep pool water away from other landscape plants.

Will Salt Water Kill Grass?

Salt can get on your lawn in several ways, including salt from ice-melting products, ocean spray, and pool water. In large quantities, salt water can kill your lawn by dehydrating the grass.

Salt can also displace other minerals, like potassium, which grass needs to grow.

Sometimes people use salt as a weedkiller. But since it doesn’t discriminate, it will also damage your lawn.

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