Best Time To Water The Lawn (And When Not To)

Every homeowner wishes for a lush green and soft lawn, but it cannot be achieved without properly taking care of the grass. Watering the grass at the right time and with the right amount is one of the most essential factors contributing to your lawn health. Let’s take a look at when you should water your lawn and the correct method of doing so.

The best time to water your lawn is in the morning between 4-6 am. This is due to the cooler temperatures which slows down the rapid evaporation caused by the strong afternoon sun. This will also make the lawn dry out before nightfall as wet lawns during night-time can result in moss, fungus, and weed growth.

whats the best time to water the lawn

What is the Best Time to Water Your Lawn?

The best time to water your lawn is during the morning, preferably between 4-6 am according to Daniel Akins. The lawn should be watered before the temperature rises too much, the morning calm breeze and cooler temperatures help the soil in absorbing more water.

Watering during the morning also helps the water reach deeper parts of the soil and spread around the soil better.

Watering during the afternoon will only lead to faster evaporation and will essentially be a waste of water and time. The water droplets will turn into gas before it has been properly absorbed by the soil.

Similarly, watering during the evening will also have negative effects. If you water during the evening, the soil will remain wet during the night which leads to moss, fungus, and weed growth.

It is essential to water your lawn in a proper way, making sure that it reaches the roots of the grass. This will help the roots elongate and thus be able to absorb more nutrients, moisture, and oxygen. Having healthier and deeper roots will protect your lawn against extreme temperatures and droughts.

How Much Water Should You Use On Your Lawn?

Watering during the right time is only half the battle. Similarly to using sand on your lawn, it is equally important to use the correct amount of water. Overwatering or underwatering can have a negative impact on your lawn.

The general rule of thumb is that your lawn requires about 1-1.5 inches of water per week. Anything above this will only make the soil saturated with water which can lower the nutrient count, and oxygen within the soil and even suffocate the roots.

However, different watering rules apply when the grass seeds are freshly planted, which you can read more about in the related guide.

How Long Should You Water Your Lawn?

A very common question that homeowners ask is how long should they let the sprinklers go on. Some houses let their watering system run for hours on end which is the wrong approach to follow here.

Remember that your lawn requires about 1-1.5 inches of water per week. You can divide this amount by 2-3 watering sessions per week.

Usually, watering the lawn for about 20-25 minutes 3 times a week gets the job done but different watering systems have different water flows so it is better to calculate how much water you will need.

One easy method to calculate the required time is to put an empty can or container near your sprinklers. Note the time it takes for the can to fill up to 1-1.5 inches. This will give you the total watering time required by your lawn per week. Once you have the total time, you can divide it further into 2-3 watering sessions over the week.

Watering the lawn for the correct time also ends up saving you quite a lot of water, especially during the summer season and during draughts

How to Check if the Soil has Enough Water?

The screwdriver test is the easiest method to figure out if your soil has enough water or not. Take a screwdriver and push it down the soil. If it goes 6-8 inches into the soil without much effort then it means your lawn has been watered enough.

If you see some noticeably dry spots on your lawn or if the grass blades are turning yellow, you can add some water to the lawn.

What are the Different Types of Watering Systems You Can Use?

A very big mistake that a lot of homeowners make is choosing the wrong watering system for their lawn. The two most common sprinkler systems in the market include impact sprinklers and oscillating sprinklers.

If your lawn has mature grass you can go for an impact or pulsating sprinkler. It has a stronger water flow and shoots water out in a pulsating action. This is also the best option to use for covering larger areas.

On the other hand, if you have a newly sown lawn, it is recommended to use oscillating sprinklers. They have a mist-like, softer water flow that doesn’t wash away the grass seeds and smaller grass buds. This also delivers most of the water near the sprinkler head.

In-ground sprinklers are also an excellent choice. Choose a system that is low to the ground and shoots water in a horizontal pattern.

Tips For Watering Grass Seeds

If you have recently sown grass seeds, you should water the lawn twice every day for about 5-10 minutes. Continue like this every day, until you see the grass sprouts come out. Also, be careful about using a strong water flow as it can wash away the grass seeds.

The goal here is to keep the top part of the soil moist to help the seeds germinate and sprout.

The best time to water grass seeds is during the morning and in the afternoon once the hottest part of the day is over.

Right after planting the grass seeds, it is recommended to water them for at least 10 minutes. And water the soil once every day 2-3 days before planting the seeds.

Tips For Watering Your Lawn During a Heat Wave

If your region is going through a heat wave with unusually hot temperatures, it is recommended to water your lawn for about 5-10 minutes after the hottest part of the day is over. This will prevent any scorching of the grass and lower the soil temperature considerably.

Watering Different Types of Grasses

Cool season grasses are grown in areas with cooler, northern climates or they are planted in the off-season in warmer areas. These grasses usually start growing when the soil temperature reached about 40-60F. they have a peak growing season in spring or fall. The watering requirement for a cool season grass is typically around 1 inch per week.

Warm season grasses grow in warmer areas with soil temperatures between 60-65F. their peak growing season is during the summer. Because of their heat tolerance, they have deeper roots that can go up to 4 feet below the ground. Their watering requirement typically is between ½-1 inches per week. Although is especially hot areas, it can increase up to 1.5inch

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s take a look at some of the most common queries regarding this topic:

How Deep Do Grass Roots grow?

Depending on the type of the soil and the species of grass, their roots can go as deep as 3-4 feet. This is why it is recommended to deeply water the lawn, making sure the moisture reaches the roots.

Should You Water Grass After Mowing?

Watering your lawn after mowing makes sense if you mow the grass during your usual watering time. It can also be done if you notice that the grass and the soil are noticeably dry.

Does Watering Grass in the Sun Burn it?

There is a big misconception that water droplets act like magnifying glasses and burn the grass. Watering the hottest part of the day will only make it evaporate faster and it reduces the effectiveness of the watering process.

Should I water trees and Shrubs in my Yard?

Unless the trees or shrubs are freshly planted, it should not be necessary to regularly water them, unless the water conditions are extreme. Overwatering your plants and trees can harm, or even kill the plants as high levels of moisture create relatively good conditions for fungus growth and diseases.


The best time to water the lawn is during the early morning hours between 4-6 am when the temperature is on the cooler side and a slow breeze is going on. You shouldn’t water the lawn during the night as it can leave the soil wet overnight which leads to pests and diseases. Watering during the afternoon makes the evaporation faster and not enough water is able to be absorbed.

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