Lets face it, a well manicured, lush green lawn says the property is highly maintained. A beautiful lawn enhances the appearance and value of any home. Just like mowing, watering is highly important in maintaing a happy, healthy lawn. But, there are right and wrong ways to water.

Determine at the begining of the year if you are going to water all year or going to let the lawn go dormant in the summer. One of the worst things you can do is start the summer off by watering enough to keep the lawn green and then decide at some point to stop. At that point the summmer heat can kill the grass. It will not have had a chance to go dormant naturally.

Determine When to Start Watering

Let the grass tell you when to start watering. Normally grass will not need watering in the spring. Mother Nature will usually provide adequate moisture early in the season. Grass will tell you that it needs watering when the grass starts to turn a duller, blueish cast. Watch your footprints. The grass will not spring back quickly after walking on it. Also, the grass blades may wither, fold or curl.

When to Water

As a rule the best time to water is between 9 o'clock a.m. and 4 o'clock p.m. There will be more evaporation during those times, but for the overall health of the grass it is the best time. Watering at night or early in the morning keeps the grass too wet for too long which can increase the chance for disease. Watering during the heat of the day also cools the grass off which reduces stress.

How much to Water

As a rule, most grasses need one inch of water per week to keep lush and green. In the summer months when it is extremely hot and dry, grass may need up to two inches per week to stay lush and green.

Water Deeper

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Water less frequently with higher amounts of water. In the spring and fall when the grass needs around an inch of water, water twice a week, one-half inch each time. This method of watering will promote a deeper, healthier root system which will be able to withstand summer drought better. Watering daily produces a shallow root system, a weaker top and can set up the grass for injury in the hot summer months. In an extremely hot, dry summer, the grass may need up to two inches per week. Adjust the length of watering accordingly.

Determine the Amount to Water

Gather several empty containers. They can be coffee cans, tuna cans or plastic dishes of any kind. Arrange them in different places in the lawn and begin watering for about 15 minutes. Stop watering and empty the water from all the containers into one container. Measure with a ruler how much water is in the one remaining container. Then take that amount and divide by the total number of containers used. That will give you the average amount watered in that area for 15 minutes. Next just figure how much more time needs to be added to give 1/2 inch of water. Water for that length of time twice each week.

Letting it go Dormant

There is nothing wrong with letting a lawn go dormant. This is the way the plant takes care of itself in times of stress. The grass will recover and green back up in the fall. If you have chosen to let the grass go dormant, don't make the mistake of ignoring the grass completely. The grass still needs moisture occasionally. Giving the grass an inch of water every couple of weeks under really hot, dry conditions will insure that it will come back nicely in the fall.


Overwatering can be just as detrimental to a lawn as underwatering. Water forces oxegen out of the soil, so the longer the ground is saturated, the less oxegen there is for the roots. This will cause the roots to grow much shallower and in times of prolonged saturation can cause dieback of the grass. Sometimes certain areas of the lawn will stay wetter than other areas. Don't water all areas the same. If you have shady areas, those are going to stay wetter than sunny areas. If you have low areas, they also will stay wetter. If you have an irrigation system, set the zones at different times so that each area recieves the proper amount of water. Also, don't water if rain is forecast. If you have an irrigation system set to come on at regular intervals, have a rain sensor installed so that the system isn't on when it is raining.

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Water when dry. Even in the winter!

NOV 12
Water is a must

Our temperatures have been up and down, but we are getting very dry. On a nice day when the grass isn't frozen, water the lawn.