Sumo Gardener

How to Water Lawn Properly

Watering your lawn might seem like an easy thing to do, but doing it incorrectly can harm your lawn. Some homeowners provide too much water while others barely give enough to their plants.

Likewise, not everyone knows how the soil affects the efficacy of water. Here, we’ll show you how to water lawn properly. 


Understanding the Value of Proper Watering

Lawn grass needs sufficient water to acquire enough nutrients. Without these nutrients, your plants will succumb to several problems. For one, its continued growth won’t be at its optimal rate.

Second, its reproduction process will be affected. Third, its resistance to both plant diseases and pests will be reduced. Then again, simply watering the lawn isn’t enough. 

If you provide too much water, puddles will begin to appear. Worse, newly planted grass seeds could become dislodged. Thus, it’s important to provide the right amount of water.

How to Water Lawn Properly Depending on Season

How to Water Lawn Properly

While there is no actual schedule to follow for fall and winter watering, there are certain considerations to note. Due to the cooler temperatures compared to summer and spring, the grass won’t need as much water.

However, the early stage of fall still has relatively warm temperatures. Thus, you can still water your lawn twice a week at this point. At the late stage of fall and as winter arrives, it’s time to reduce the frequency to just once each week. 

The neighborhood organization or the local water service provider will tell the homeowners to adjust their watering schedule accordingly. You can also observe the grass in your lawn to see whether it needs water or not.

If the grass blades become a bit grey and blue in color, the grass needs more water. Another indicator is when the grass blades start to fold in half. In contrast, you should not water your lawn if the soil still has your footprints from a while back.

This means that your lawn still has a lot of moisture to use. If you overwater your lawn, sedge weeds and dollar weeds could appear.

Here is a video on how to water lawn properly in winter:

How Long Should You Water Your Lawn

There are several ways to determine how long you should water the lawn grass. The first method requires either a screwdriver or anything that you can stick the soil into.

First, you should soak the soil with water. For every 15 minutes, you should check how deep the water has reached the soil by putting the screwdriver in.

Once the depth has reached a minimum of six inches, you should check the total time. This will be duration you should follow in order to adequately water the lawn grass.

If you are using a sprinkler system, you just have to do a simple calculation. First, you must multiply 0.62 gallons by the total area of your lawn measured in square feet.

For example, if your lawn measures 20 square feet, you will multiply this by 0.62 gallons and get 12.4. This means that you need to have 12.4 gallons of water to cover every square foot of your lawn with an inch of water.

To know how long the sprinkler system should be running, you must divide the previous result by the flow rate. The flow rate of your sprinkler system is indicated by the manufacturer on the label or the user manual.

Given the same example, if the flow rate is two, you will divide 12.4 by two and get 6.2. Thus, you must keep the sprinkler system running for 6.2 minutes.

Once you know the right duration, you must still watch out for any puddles that may appear. This is a sign that the soil cannot absorb all the water fast enough.

In this case, stop watering for a while to let the soil take in the water. Afterward, you can resume watering until the total duration is achieved.

Read also: Best expandable hoses for 2023

Choosing the Right Soil for Your Lawn

When it comes to watering the lawn, the soil itself is a significant a factor in its efficacy. Low-quality soil won’t be able to retain the water you provide. Your plants won’t have enough water to get their essential nutrients because the soil will drain all of the water.

For example, sandy soil has poor water retention while too much clay in the soil cannot let the water in properly. On the other hand, healthy soil has the capacity to absorb water with ease.

Moreover, the quality soil will only retain the water it needs and will disregard the additional amount. If you want to save water, you should go to a local garden supply store and ask for soil that will suit your lawn.

Watering Lawn in the Morning

Watering lawn in the morning

The correct time to water the lawn grass is in the morning. In particular, you should do it between 4 and 10 in the morning. At this time, the air is still quite cool enough to prevent evaporation.

Consequently, there won’t be much wind to scatter the water droplets away. Watering the grass around noon or the afternoon is quite wasteful. The heat during this time will just lead to most of the water becoming evaporated.

If you are unable to water your lawn grass regularly at this time due to work or school, you should at least strive to do it on the weekend.

Watering Lawn at Night

Ideally, you should be watering your lawn grass in the morning. However, time constraints would mean having to water at another time instead. The next best option is watering grass at night, but this comes at a cost.

For one, pests begin to make their way onto your lawn under the cover of night. As you water your grass in the evening, you might see snails damaging the turf. You can pull them out of your lawn by hand when you spot them.

Thankfully, you can help your lawn grass to survive these pests feeding off on them at night by watering their grass blades instead of just the soil and the roots.

With enough moisture, it becomes hard for pests to damage the grass blades. In contrast, grass blades that have begun to wilt are easier for pests to consume.

Just like morning irrigation, the provision of moisture to the grass gives them a natural way to resist pests.

Watering lawn at night

Check if the Soil is Well-Draining

Watering the lawn grass in the evening means that evaporation is unlikely to happen and there is less wind to carry the water away. However, one common concern is that the moisture will stay for too long.

In contrast, even with the cool temperatures, the rising sun ensures the evaporation after a while. Because the absence of evaporation gives pathogens more time to reach the lawn grass, some people argue that lawn grass could develop fungal diseases at nighttime.

In most cases, however, the problem is actually inefficient drainage instead of the time of irrigation. When you water your lawn grass at night, ensure that you have well-draining soil. This will prevent the soil from harboring the water for an excessive amount of time.

Cancel Evening Irrigation if Frost Occurs

Compared to morning grass irrigation, nighttime irrigation guarantees that your lawn grass will have eight hours or so to fully absorb the moisture in the soil.

There is no sun that will force some of the moisture to be taken to the atmosphere. However, you should cancel watering the grass at night if local weather forecasts show an incoming frost. 

Even a light frost at night can be bad for your lawn grass if it’s combined with evening irrigation. The cells of your lawn grass will surely be damaged. It’s better to water in the morning if frost is about to arrive.

Switch to Morning Irrigation if Possible

While nighttime irrigation can be done as well, you will have less to worry about if your water your lawn in the morning. Just like evening, the early morning is characterized by cool temperatures.

In other words, water does not rapidly evaporate due to the heat from the sun. Similarly, both morning irrigation and evening irrigation are safe from harsh winds that carry off the water.

In the morning, the soil in your garden has enough time to absorb the water before evaporation sets in. The difference is that the water won’t overstay and lead to possible fungal diseases and bacteria buildup.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with watering the lawn at night. You just need to ensure that no frost is going to arrive and that you watch out for pests.

Similarly, adjustments are in order if you are irrigating seeds and grass seedlings. Likewise, a well-draining soil will lessen the possible problems arising from the lack of evaporation in nighttime irrigation.

Watering in the morning is the best period, but it’s best to know what to do if you don’t have any choice but to water at night.

Wrapping Up Our Guide on How to Water Lawn Properly

In conclusion, the amount of water you provide should be planned. This will help your grass in gathering enough nutrients to grow fast and to fend off both pests and plant diseases.

Likewise, it’s important to have healthy soil and to know how much water you need to provide.

We hope that this guide helped you in having a healthy lawn. If you have any queries about how to water lawn properly, feel free to send us a comment.

How to water lawn properly

About the Author Ann Katelyn

I'm Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I've always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people's gardens thrive.

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Leave a Comment:

Nick says July 24, 2021

Nailed it! I’ve been fertilizing lawns for 15 years and I battle bad irrigation practices more than Mother Nature during the summer. People don’t realize how much overwatering a lawn sets you up for failure all season long. Twice a week for 40-45 minutes 5-10 am. You’ll have a beautiful lawn every summer.

    Ann says July 30, 2021


    It’s true – overwatering is one of the easiest mistakes to make, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced gardener, and we’ve all been there! We’re glad you enjoyed our article, and if you have any gardening questions or even topics you’d like us to share information on, please let us know.

    Kind regards,

    The Sumo Team

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