How Often Should I Water My Lawn?

To survive, your lawn requires three main components: air, nutrients and water. Combined, these components help your grass photosynthesize, producing food that makes turf grow strong and healthy.

Watering your lawn might seem like a straightforward task. However, overwatering or underwatering your lawn can have negative consequences. For example, overwatering your lawn will encourage root rot, certain pests like egg-laying female beetles, and stubborn weeds like ground ivy. Also, no one wants a lawn-flooding problem that can drown your grass. Underwatering your lawn will mean grass roots won’t grow deep enough, which can cause turf to die off in warm weather. 

It’s important to get your watering right, so your grass is resilient. You’ll save money on costly future lawn-care expenses like herbicides and pesticides if your grass is healthy. 

Here, you’ll learn all you need to know about how often you should water your lawn, when to do it, how much water to use, and when to call it a day.

Related: The Most Effective Fungicides to Use on Your Lawn


When Should I Water My Lawn?

Lawn Sprinkler Watering

Dull-colored gray grass is your lawn’s way of telling you it’s thirsty as an obvious visual clue. But there are some other things you can do to check if your lawn needs watering:

  • Walk on it!Well-watered grass will spring back quickly after you’ve stepped on it. Underwatered grass won’t spring back easily, as it lacks the moisture to do so. It’s too dry!
  • Curly grass — Grass blades that are curling slightly are another sign your lawn needs water. 
  • Screw it! — If unsure, push a long screwdriver or similar tool roughly 6” into the soil. If you’re met with a lot of resistance or can’t push the tool down that far, your turf needs a drink.

Now you know when your lawn looks like it needs a water top-up, but what about more specifically? 

Best Time of Day to Water Your Lawn 

The best time in the day to water your lawn is early in the morning. Preferably, the optimum watering time is between 4-6 am. Why? Because the early morning is the coolest part of the day with lower winds. Water can soak into the soil and be absorbed by grass roots before evaporating. High winds can also blow the water off your lawn or onto just one area. 

If you have a sprinkler system, it’s easy to set a watering time for the early morning, But if you can only water your turf later on, try the early evening (between 4-6 pm). Avoid watering late at night as the grass is usually damp with dew, and too much water can increase the chances of fungal disease 

How Often and How Long Should I Water My Lawn For?

The minimum amount of water your lawn needs is about 1”-1.5” per week. Of course, this depends on the size of your lawn and your chosen watering method. If your goal is a beautiful golf course lawn, we recommend watering 2-3 times a week which can be divided into separate watering sessions. 

TOP TIP: Make sure you take breaks between watering sessions to allow water to soak into the soil at its own pace. Avoid overwatering and flooding your lawn!

Because all lawns are different, it’s worth trying to determine how much water your lawn actually needs. Do a little research on how much water your grass type needs. For instance, warm-season grass will need around an inch of water per week. Cool-season grass prefers 1.5 inches of water per week when it’s actively growing to thrive. 

 Here are three ways you can tell if you’ve watered your turf enough:

  1. Soil check — every 15 minutes during your first water, use a screwdriver to test how far the water has soaked in. Take note of the time. Once you can see it has soaked in 6-8 inches, you’ll know how long to water your lawn for in future.
  2. Sprinkler math — how often should I water my lawn with a sprinkler system? The flow rate on most sprinklers is measured in gallons per minute. You can find out the flow rate from your manufacturer. All you need to do is multiply your lawn’s square footage by 0.62 gallons (an inch per sq. ft), then divide that number by your sprinkler flow rate. Voila! That’ll be how long you’ll need to water your lawn. 
  3. Cans — take a few shallow, clean cans (at least 1” - 1.5” in height) and measure the average time it takes to collect an inch of water in each can. Empty tuna fish cans are great for this.

Can I Reduce My Watering Requirements?

Running an irrigation system can be expensive, and not everyone can afford to water their lawn as often as it takes to achieve perfection. There is another way. Soil moisture management products and choosing the right grass type for your area can help you reduce your lawn’s watering requirements. Soil moisture manager Hydretain acts as a “water magnet” attracting water molecules to root hairs, which allows your grass roots to absorb moisture already present in the soil. 

It might seem like a lot to do, but understanding exactly how much water your grass needs and when it can make or break a lawn. It just takes a little commitment. 

If you want to learn more about what’s happening beneath your turf, invest in a soil test kit and read our blog on how soil testing can save you money.