When is the best time to water my lawn?




When is the best time to water my lawn

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When is the best time to water my lawn?

Lawns need water, however, it is the amount of water that makes the difference. A lawn with too little water can lead to dead patches a generally unhealthy lawn. You wouldn’t have a pot plant in the house deprive it of water and expect it to grow. 

Well, your lawn is the same so let’s find out the optimal time. 

So when is the best time to water your grass? – The best time is between 6 – 10 am. The water will take longer to evaporate and it gives the lawn time to absorb it. The next time is between 4 – 6 pm. The worst time is between 10 – 2 pm when the sun is at its hottest. 

The is usually less wind in the morning and as wind speeds up evaporation you will use less water to get the same results. You will also notice that humidity is higher in the mornings and this helps too. 

The next two questions that follow are usually “how often to water” and “how much to water” so read on for those answers too. 

Importance of watering your lawn

A green healthy lawn requires water. You need hydration for the grass to encourage root development. It helps regulate temperature and prevents stress.  A healthy lawn can handle traffic and will recover quickly from wear and tear. 

Common misconceptions about when to water your lawn

Sometimes it is better to look at what not to do first. Here are some of the most common misconceptions when it comes to watering a lawn. 

Daily watering is good: In short, No. Daily watering encourages shallow root growth. This leads to weak plants that are susceptible to disease. Lawns prefer an occasional soak rather than daily watering so two to three times a week is fine.

Utah State University study Train Your Lawn Not to Beg for Water

Watering in the Afternoon is Ideal: I see this a lot and it annoys me. The water evaporates quickly and if it is very hot then you could even burn the grass. It is a waste of water and time. 

Brown Grass Means, It Needs Water Immediately: Most people assume that grass wants water immediately if the grass is brown. This is not always the case, it may be brown for another reason some grass will turn brown and go dormant during extended hot periods. 

Newly Sodded or Seeded Lawns Need Constant Watering: I see this quite a bit. Newly seeded lawns need to be damp, not wet. If you overwater you could wash the seed away and stunt the growth of new shoots. 

New lawn grass seed

Best Time to Water Your Lawn

So if you need to water your lawn when is the best time of day?

Early morning 6 am to 10 am

My favorite time of day to water or mow the lawn. Not only is this a good time for the lawn, but it’s also a great time for you. 

Benefits of watering in the morning

Reduced Evaporation: Because the sun is not as intense the water has a better chance of getting to the roots before it evaporates. 

Optimal Absorption: The cooler temperatures in the morning help the grass absorb the water more efficiently. It can also help the roots cope better if the day gets hot.

Minimized Disease Risk: It allows the grass time to dry before night comes. A wet lawn at night can encourage fungal diseases. 

Watering in the early morning allows the grass blades to dry relatively quickly as the day progresses. This helps minimize the risk of fungal diseases, as prolonged leaf wetness, which can occur with evening watering, is avoided.

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Morning watering tips

Deep and Infrequent Watering: Water deeply and not so often rather than a shallow frequent watering schedule. You are aiming to get the water to a depth of around 6 inches so it can reach the grass roots. 

Consider Grass Type: Different types of grass like varying amounts of water. 

Be Mindful of Local Water Restrictions: Pay attention to any local water restrictions. Ultimately you will need to work your schedule around any restrictions. 

Water Restrictions in effect sign

Late afternoon / early evening 4 pm to 6 pm 

This is the second-best time to water the grass. If you can’t get out in the morning, this is your backup plan. 

Pros and cons of watering in the late afternoon or early evening

The advantage of watering your lawn in the early evening is that the water will stay around longer, and there is less wind so you lose less water to the wind

On the not-so-good side, the lawn may not dry off in time, and prolonged wetness isn’t good for the health of the lawn. 

Risks of watering at night

These are some risks that you run with a night schedule for watering your lawn. 

Decreased Water Absorption: Cooler nights can reduce the water absorbed by the grassroots. You may get large amounts of water not being absorbed and sitting on the soil. 

This can lead to waterlogging: If your soil type is poorly draining the soil can get waterlogged. This will deprive the soil of oxygen which reduces root health. 

Encourages Pests: Prolonged dampness can attract pests such as slugs and snails. These pests can damage your lawn. 

How often should I water my lawn?

This of course depends on where you live but I will answer that question generally here. 

There are normally two different kinds of grasses used for domestic lawns.

  • Warm-season grasses – These should be watered around two to three times a week. They have deep roots and a regular watering schedule will help them grow good roots and become more resistant to drought. They like a temperature of 80 degrees or more. 
  • Cool-season grasses – These should be watered three times a week. They have shallow roots so a little and often suits them better. These grasses like a temperature of around  70-80 degrees. 

How to tell if lawn weeds water. Telltale signs. 

If your grass starts becoming discolored (light green or yellow)  or it doesn’t spring back when you walk through it then that could be a sign that your lawn wants water. Weeds seem to thrive without water but unfortunately, lawns don’t. 

Brown lawn photo taken on the job

Should I worry if my lawn is brown?

This is usually not a problem. I have seen extremely dead-looking lawns come back to life in the Spring. 

I knew of a guy who bought a house and all the lawns on the street were brown, He dug his up and replanted. Everyone else left their lawns and every single one came back. 

What’s wrong with watering my lawn at night?

On the surface, this sounds like a good idea because then the lawn will stay wet all night have plenty to drink. Watering the lawn after 6 pm is a bad idea. The lawn remaining wet all night encourages moss, mold, and diseases. Not something you would want. 

How long should I water my lawn for?

Most lawns require about an inch of water a week so the roots chase the water and grow deep. but how do you know when you have given the lawn enough water? Well, 15-20 minutes with a sprinkler usually does it but the are a couple of variables. Such as your water pressure and the kind of sprinkler you use one easy way is to use a straight-sided small container or can in the sprinkler area and see how long it takes to fill up to an inch.

The other method is to use a six-inch screwdriver and push it into the soil. If it goes in easily then the lawn has had enough water. 

An easy way is to use a rain gauge. You could go all out and get a self-emptying one with a digital display or an inexpensive manual one that will do the job.

If you are looking for a good sprinkler you can you could try the WOVUU Garden Sprinkler. For the best results, I would recommend using a timer.

Things to watch out for when watering. 

Are there any spots on your lawn that are staying brown?

The first thing to look at is sprinkler coverage. Make sure that area is not being missed. If it is getting enough water but remains brown you will need to check out other possible causes. 

The water pools in certain areas.

The first thing to check for is overwatering. If you are not overwatering then it could be because of the condition of the soil or the slope of the lawn. If you have a drainage people you will need to put in a soak pit.

If you have a clay base then it would hurt to aerate your lawn. lawn. here’s a post I wrote on that. How to aerate your lawn.

If you have a slow-draining lawn and do not want to do anything about it at this point then I would suggest using a timer and splitting the run time into something like 10 minutes on 30 minutes off and 10 minutes on again. This should help it soak in.

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What is the best time to water grass seed?

For a freshly planted lawn, water it at the same time but more often. You want to water the lawn for a quarter of an hour every day for the first couple of weeks. Don’t overwater, just water it until the top inch of the soil is moist but not soaked. 

Use an oscillating sprinkler, not a pulsating sprinkler. An oscillating sprinkler has a finer spray and is less stressful on the new lawn. When you see the new grass start to curl under its own weight then that is the perfect time for the first mow. 

Less common tips 

Apply Anti-Transpirant Sprays: Anti-transpirant sprays, also known as anti-desiccant sprays, can be applied to the lawn to help reduce water loss on long hot days. It creates a thin protective layer of protection on the leaves. 

A image with a visual explanation of how transpiration works

Employ Moisture Meters: These can help you determine the right amount of water for the lawn. 

Water Trees and Shrubs Separately: They both have different needs as to how much water they want.  

Install Rain Sensors: If you have an irrigation system consider installing rain sensors. These can adjust your watering schedule as needed.  

Implement Catch Cups: If you don’t want to use water meters you can use catch cups (small containers) in the areas you water. This can measure the amount of water applied and help you fine-tune your schedule. 

Try Aeration: Aerating your lawns from time to time can improve soil structure and water penetration.  

In Closing When is the best time to water my lawn?

Key Summary Points;

Ideal Watering Times; The best moments to water your lawn are early, in the morning between 6 am and 10 am as late afternoon, or early evening from 4 pm to 6 pm.

Advantages of Morning Watering; By watering your lawn in the early morning you can reduce evaporation ensure optimal water absorption and minimize the risk of diseases by allowing the grass blades to dry before nightfall.

Avoid Watering at Midday; It is not recommended to water your lawn between 10 am and 2 pm when the sun’s at its hottest. This time frame can lead to water evaporation and potential damage to your grass.

Watering Frequency; To encourage root growth it’s advisable to water your lawn infrequently. For warm-season grasses watering 2 or 3 times a week is sufficient while cool-season grasses may need watering around three times a week.

Drawbacks of Night time Watering; Watering your lawn at night can hinder water absorption. Possibly result in waterlogging. Additionally, it may attract pests due to dampness. As a rule, avoid watering after 6 pm.

Watering a lawn at night

These essential factors underscore the significance of timing, regularity, and diligent supervision when it comes to nurturing and upkeeping a thriving lawn.

When Is The Best Time To Mow A Lawn?

If you want to find the best time to mow a lawn then this article will tell you. PS There is a clue in the article above. Did you see it? When Is The Best Time To Mow A Lawn?

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