What to Know About Lawn Watering

Know when to water

Look for these lack-of-water stress signs:

  • Grass turns a silvery blue in areas and, if not watered soon, will turn brown.
  • Footprints in lawn. Grass beginning to need water does not spring back after being stepped on.
  • Footprints remain clearly in the lawn, which indicates that watering is needed.

If the lawn is badly in need of water, you should water it at any time. The best time, however, is early in the day, rather than evenings, as late watering can encourage the spread of fungus disease.

Measuring water output

An easy way to check your sprinkler output is to use three empty tin cans that are of identical size. Place them at different distances from the sprinkler, within the sprinkler pattern. Turn on the water for an hour, then empty all water into one of the cans. Using a ruler, measure the depth of the water and divide by three. This gives the amount of water your sprinkler supplies the lawn in one hour.

Watering new seedlings

Improper watering is one of the most common causes for seeding disappointments.

The seed bed must be kept moist to cause grass seed to germinate.

Once seeds begin to sprout, the top inch or so of soil should never be allowed to dry out until the new grass plants are well established. The tiny seedlings will die if the soil is allowed to dry out. This may mean watering several times a day — especially in hot or windy weather.

The key is to water new seedlings frequently, not deeply. The goal is to keep it constantly moist, but not soaked. Using a sprinkler that delivers a fine spray is preferred over sprinklers that deliver a heavier flow of water.

Coping with watering restrictions

If your community imposes watering restrictions, remember that a little water is better than none. So water whenever allowed. Following a good season-long fertilizing program helps grass develop a sturdy root system, so the grass can take full advantage of whatever water is available.