Watering is one of the main things when it comes to taking care of your lawn. But watering is more complicated than installing a sprinkler system. Your lawn will become patchy and dry if you don’t water it enough. If you water your lawn excessively, it could develop rot or other diseases.
Once or twice a week, for about 25 to 30 minutes each time, is the ideal watering schedule for your lawn. You should water for long enough to moisten the soil to a depth of about 6 inches.
It can be challenging to determine when, how deeply, and for how long to water your lawn. Just read this handy guide to learn everything you need to know about the proper way to water.
How Long Should I Water the Lawn?
You should water your lawn once or twice a week, giving your grass 1 to 1.5 inches of water each time. The precise number of minutes for each watering will vary from lawn to lawn, depending on factors like the size of your lawn, the type of sprinkler you have, and its settings.
Here are a few methods for finding the number of minutes you should water your lawn.
- Do a can test: For this method, tuna cans with a 1 inch height work best. Place one that has been emptied in a zone that is covered by your sprinkler. Turn on your sprinkler and check the trash can frequently to gauge how long it takes to fill up with ½ of an inch of water. You can use that to find how many minutes you need to water either once or twice a week.
- Break it down mathematically: Your sprinkler system will have a designated flow rate of gallons per minute, which you can find out from the manufacturer. To calculate the duration of your sprinkler’s operation, multiply the area of your lawn by 0.62 gallons (1 inch of water per square foot), and then divide the result by the sprinkler flow rate.
- Look at a flow timer: A timer with a flow capacity of several hundred gallons is required. Multiply the square footage of your lawn by 0.62 gallons, and that will tell you how many gallons you need to give your lawn the water it needs.
How Much to Water Your Lawn
It’s important to water properly; if you water too much, your grass will suffer, as will the environment and your water bill. The amount of water you need is generally 1 to 1.5 inches per week, but it can vary depending on your grass type, the climate you live in, your soil type, and the age of your lawn.
In general, you want the top 6-8 inches of soil to be moist, but not soggy—which translates to 1 to 1.5 inches per week. Stronger root development and drought resistance result from deep but infrequent watering as opposed to daily light watering. During the majority of the year, you can divide these waterings into twice-weekly waterings and three times-weekly waterings, respectively.
Newly Seeded or Sodded Lawns
Newly seeded or sodded lawns require moisture in the top inch of their soil to promote proper growth, but not to the point where they become soggy. Instead of watering a few times a week, you will need to take a mister and gently spray the newly seeded areas once to two times a day, depending on the weather.
As the seeds germinate, keep the top 2 inches of soil moist. You can cut back on watering to twice weekly once the grass reaches a 3-inch mowing height. Then, just as you would with an established lawn, soak the soil 6 to 8 inches deep.
Watering Cool Vs. Warm Season Grasses
For them to stay at their healthiest and hardiest, various grass types require different maintenance techniques.
Cool Season Grasses
These grasses, such as fescue, rye, and bluegrass, actively grow in the fall. Until the growing season ends, which is roughly when the first frost arrives, they will require about 1 to 1.5 inches every week. When there is a drought and you don’t water cool season grasses, they will go dormant and come back to life when it starts to rain.
Warm Season Grasses
Warm-season grasses like Bermuda, St. Summer is when Augustine, Zoysia, and Centipede Grass grow the most. Overall, they require less water than cool season grasses, but even they need extra water in the dead heat.
Best Time of Day to Water Your Lawn
The best time to water your lawn is before 10 a.m., preferably between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. It’s less likely that the moisture will evaporate during this cool time of day before your grassroots can absorb it from the soil.
If you can’t water before 10 a.m., don’t make the mistake of watering late at night. It may be cool then, but if the moisture sits on your grass overnight, it can make your lawn more prone to disease. The second-best time to water is between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.
How to Tell If Your Grass Isn’t Getting Enough Water
There are a few warning signs that your lawn needs watering. It’s as easy as pie, but you must water your lawn if it has turned a grayish shade from when it was once a vibrant green. Another sign that your grass needs water is the presence of curled grass blades.
Consider taking one of two tests if you’re unsure. Simply walk on your lawn to conduct the step test. The grass should immediately reappear where you stepped if your lawn is well-watered. If not, it needs water because it lacks moisture.
The screwdriver test is another classic. See if you can penetrate 6 inches of soil with a long-bladed screwdriver. It’s time to water if you can’t lower the tool all the way or if you encounter a lot of resistance.
Watering Your Lawn Automatically
There are many different ways to efficiently and automatically water your lawn. There are a few factors you should take into account. Which of the following questions should I ask myself: How much water will I require? How much ground do I need to cover? What shape is my lawn? Is there anything nearby that can’t get wet?
Here are a few popular types of sprinklers to consider:
- In-ground sprinklers – Although these systems can be expensive, they are very effective. The sprinkler heads raise themselves automatically to water, then immediately lower themselves to stop watering, dispensing a precise amount of water.
- Pulsating sprinklers – This type easily covers a large area by horizontally shooting out water in a powerful stream. The required amount of moisture reaches the grass roots quickly. However, the pulsing might be too intense for newly seeded or sodded lawns.
- Oscillating sprinklers – Since the water pressure is lower and you still get good coverage, these are a good substitute for freshly seeded lawns.
- Hose-end sprinklers – The most popular and varied sprinklers are the conventional ones.
Verify that your automatic sprinkler is operating as intended and at the appropriate times. Adjust the settings if there is a high probability of rain. Additionally, check that it isn’t pointed at the road; you don’t want to soak any onlookers.
The joy of having a small patch of lawn is that it provides a place for children and animals to play barefoot in the summer. But keeping lawns green can eat up precious water and your budget.
For best results, water lawns infrequently, early in the morning, and deeply. Utilize the advice in this article to figure out how much water your grass needs to remain healthy.
Buy a flow timer or other technological device to better manage watering if the water bill is still excessive. Alternately, think about reducing the size of the grassy area and replacing some of it with gravel and native, drought-tolerant plants. Native grasses should require less water and maintenance.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Should You Water Each Zone?
If your lawn requires 30 minutes of watering each time you water it, try dividing it in half and giving each zone 15 minutes of watering.
How Long Does It Take a Sprinkler to Water 1 Inch?
This will depend on your individual lawn, but typically it takes about 30 minutes.
What is the Best Time of Day to Water Your Lawn?
Watering your lawn before 10 a.m. is the best time of day to do so., or between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Never water your lawn at night when it will remain damp until morning.
How Much Should You Water Your Lawn?
You should water most lawns so that the top 6-8 inches of soil is moist, which translates to 1-1.5 inches of water per week.