When Is the Best Time to Water Your Lawn?

lawn watering

You know that watering your lawn is important, but did you know there’s a right way to do it? The times of the day that you water your lawn could be what determines whether it grows healthily or not. For example, if you use your lawn sprinkler at night, this creates near perfect conditions for disease to take hold of your lawn. If you water too lightly, the roots of the grass won’t grow deeply enough, which could spell trouble when very hot weather hits. To learn how to water your lawn so that it thrives, keep reading to find out how you should do it. 

When Is the Best Time to Water Your Lawn?

You might just assume that you can water your lawn at any time of the day. But if you want to do it right, there are specific times that are best. In fact, the best time to water your lawn is in the morning, before 10AM. This is because it is cooler and winds are typically calmer, meaning the water is able to soak into the soil and be absorbed by the grass before it evaporates.

Sometimes watering in the evening might be your only choice. When this is the case, the best time to water your lawn at night is between 4PM and 6PM. This time frame allows the grass blades time to dry before night hits. The later at night that you water your lawn, the greater chance there is for disease to become prevalent in your lawn. 

How Much Water Should You Use?

It’s important to note that you don’t necessarily need to water your lawn. In fact, lawns are surprisingly resilient, especially if they are established. An established lawn is able to survive for weeks without water by going dormant. This is when you notice that the lawn turns brown. Then, it easily recovers once it rains again.

If you decide you want to water your lawn, you want to make sure you’re using the right amount of water. For an established lawn, the recommendation is to water until the top 6 to 8 inches of soil is wet. Most lawns will need between 1 and 1.5 inches of water per week. Whether that comes from rain or your water sprinkler does not matter. It also doesn’t matter if it is applied during one watering or a couple waterings throughout the week. The only key is to not overwater it!

How Do You Know When You’ve Watered Enough?

We’ve stressed the importance of not overwatering your lawn, but it is still something many homeowners do on a regular basis. Luckily, there are some things you can do to tell if you have applied enough water to your lawn. 

Check the Soil

To know how long it will take to properly soak your soil, you can check it every 15 minutes during your first watering. You can do so using a screwdriver to see how deep the water has gotten. Make note of the time it takes for your soil to soak to at least 6 inches. That’s how long it will take to water your lawn in the future. If you want to know if you can skip watering for a day, you can use the screwdriver method again. If you can’t easily stick the screwdriver 6 inches deep into the soil, your lawn needs watering.

Measure With Cans

This could be a fun approach if you have kids who want to help out! All you have to do is place clean, empty tuna cans in different spots on the lawn. Then, you’ll measure how long it takes to collect the required 1 to 1.5 inches of water in each can. When you use a lawn sprinkler, coverage will vary at different spots on the lawn. In this case, you should use the average time it takes you to fill all of the cans you have put out.

Use a Flow Timer

If you want to get technical, you can use a flow timer or a water timer to measure how long it takes to properly water your lawn. You want to choose a timer that measures in hundreds of gallons. Multiply the square footage of your lawn by 0.62 gallons (equal to one inch of water per square foot) to determine how many gallons will be needed for your entire lawn. 

As your water sprinkler is going, you may notice that your lawn isn’t absorbing the water as quickly as it should. When you see puddles occurring every time you water, try watering in shorter cycles. For example, water for 10 minutes, then stop for ten minutes, and repeat until your lawn is sufficiently watered.

When Do You Need to Water Your Lawn?

As previously mentioned, established lawns often don’t need any additional water. However, new lawns will need that additional irrigation. It doesn’t matter if your lawn is newly seeded, sodded, sprigged, or plugged. During the first year of its growth, you should water it regularly.

The key to watering a newly seeded lawn is that the top inch of soil should be consistently moist but not soggy. So, you’ll probably need to mist the area once or twice a day, or more if it is especially hot and dry. Once you notice the seeds start to germinate, you should keep the top 2 inches of soil moist until the grass reaches a mowing height of around 3 inches. After your lawn has reached that point, you can cut back to watering your lawn twice per week and soak it down to 6 or 8 inches. Doing this encourages the grass roots to grow deep in the soil.

If you notice that your lawn has taken on a grayish color or it appears to be a dull green, that is a signal that it is in need of water. Another way to check the health of your grass is by walking on it. If your footprints do not disappear quickly, the grass blades do not have the necessary moisture to spring back. 

Know When to Water Your Lawn

You’ll be the envy of the entire neighborhood once you start watering your lawn at the right time. Doing so will keep your yard healthy and growing all summer long. Generally speaking, the best time to water your lawn is in the morning, before 10AM. The good news is that if you have an established lawn, you probably don’t need to water it at all!