How to Water Grass
How to Keep Your Lawn Hydrated and Your Water Bill Low
Every homeowner wants the perfect lawn. Keeping your grass lush and green conveys that you care about things and are a respectable member of your neighborhood. Watering your grass is the key to a beautiful lawn.
Below, we’ll answer the most common questions about how to water grass. These lawn watering tips will help your property stand out both to neighbors and, if you are selling, to potential buyers.
How Often Should Grass Be Watered?
How often to water grass depends on the weather/climate, type of grass, and type of soil. The first factor of weather is self-explanatory—if it just rained, don’t water the grass. On the flipside, if you live in a dry area, you’ll need to water the lawn more often.
Different types of grass require different amounts of water. Read our guide on grass types for more information. Generally speaking, cool-season grasses require water more often than warm-season grasses.
The soil factor requires you to do some digging (literally). If you have clay soil, it holds water longer, which means less frequent watering. Sandy soil loses water quickly, so it requires water more often. You can find out your soil type by getting it tested.
We advise that the average homeowner water his or her lawn 2-4 times per week, depending on the above factors. Do not water your grass daily as this can quickly lead to overwatering and make your grass vulnerable to drought, disease, weeds, and other issues.
How Often Should New Grass Be Watered?
If you just planted grass, then you need to water it daily for the first 3-4 weeks after seeding. You should continue this intense watering schedule until the grass is about 2-3 inches tall. Learn more in our grass planting guide.
How Long Should I Water My Lawn?
The question of how long to water grass is closely tied to watering frequency. Here, again, soil type matters. Clay soil, although it holds water longer, takes a long time to become saturated. Sandy soil is the opposite.
In general, the soil should be soaked roughly six inches down before you stop watering. This equates to about one inch of water a week from either rain or manual watering. Dig a small 6-inch slit in the ground to determine how much time it takes the water to penetrate—that’s how long you need to water your lawn. Keep checking every 10 minutes until the water has reached this level. You don’t need to water again if these 6 inches of soil stay soaked.
It may take some experimentation at first before you determine your lawn watering schedule, but once you have one, stick to it. Set a timer on your sprinkler system so you never accidently overwater the lawn because you forgot about it!
When Should I Start Watering My Lawn?
The best time to mow the lawn is early in the morning because it gives your lawn a lot of time to absorb water before it gets particularly warm and sunny. During the heat of midday, the water often evaporates so quickly that it doesn’t significantly hydrate your grass.
Is Watering Grass at Night OK?
Do not water your lawn at night. Even though many people like to do this, they don’t realize that regular night watering can leave their lawns damp for an extended period, making them susceptible to fungus and disease.
Will Watering Dead Grass Bring It Back?
If your grass is dead, no amount of watering will bring it back. However, dormant grass can come back after a good soaking. Dormant grass often looks the same as dead grass--brown and wilted, but dormancy just means the grass is in survival mode due to a lack of water. However, if dormant grass doesn’t get water soon, it will die.
The easiest way to tell the difference between dead and dormant grass is to give it a pull. If it comes out easily, it is dead. If it doesn’t, it’s likely dormant.
What About Watering Grass in Winter?
Grass goes dormant in the winter and doesn’t need as much water. The colder temperatures reduce evaporation, so water is retained longer. That’s why most people will not need to water their lawn much during the winter. Only in the warmer states like Florida will some winter grass watering possibly be required. Consult your lawn professional to see if winter watering is necessary in your area.
Just because you may not need to water your lawn during winter doesn’t mean you can completely let it go. Check out our winter lawn care tips.
Do I Need to Water Grass?
Some homeowners never water their lawn and rely on natural rainfall to keep their grass hydrated. Keep in mind, these folks usually don’t care if their grass goes dormant and brown for long periods of time, and they will need to water it eventually if a prolonged drought happens to prevent the grass from dying.
If you’re OK with dormant grass during droughts, some lawn experts say it’s fine if you neglect watering because grass is resilient. However, it’s always a gamble. If you want a beautiful green lawn throughout the entire warm season, then you need a consistent watering schedule.