When it comes to watering lawns, we get a lot of questions about what’s needed. From whether you should be watering your lawn in the evening to whether you should be watering your lawn in the winter, we know that there are some uncertainties about the best practices. We also recognize there is a lot of misunderstanding.
In order to clear things up, we’ll take a look at 5 common myths about lawn watering to give you some helpful tips on what’s best. These are important as proper watering is the one lawn care task that will impact your lawn more than any other.
Misconception #1: I Don’t Have to Water My Lawn
One of the most common misconceptions we hear about our customers’ lawns is the misbelief that there is no reason to water it on your own. A lot of people think that rain will naturally provide a lawn with what it needs. But what about a dry spell? While your lawn can survive a couple weeks of drought, it will eventually thin the turf and create an ideal environment for weeds to invade. If you want a healthy lawn, you will definitely need to water it from time to time.
Misconception #2: How Much I Water My Lawn is Based on the Season
While a lot of people believe that the watering needs of the lawn are set by the season, the truth is it has nothing to do with the season and everything to do with how much moisture is present in the soil. You might be wondering, when do I start watering my lawn in the spring? The answer is that it all depends on how much rainfall is present. You could have a dry spring which requires you to ramp up your watering. The hotter and windier it is, the more quickly your lawn’s soil will dry out.
If you’re wondering about watering your lawn in the winter, there is no need. Grass goes dormant in the winter and the cool temperatures help keep soil from drying out. No matter what the season, the answer is giving your lawn what it needs to thrive.
Misconception #3: The Best Time to Water My Lawn is After the Sun Sets
While we’ve heard a lot of people say it’s best to water at night, the reverse is actually true. The ideal time to water your lawn is just after the sun rises. At this time of day, it’s still cool and the water won’t evaporate quickly—but it still gives the grass blades plenty of time to dry before the sun sets.
Wet, dark conditions create an ideal breeding ground for causing lawn disease that can damage your turf, so watering the lawn in the evening should be avoided.
If you can’t find the time to water your lawn in the early morning, even with automated timers, then try to do it early enough during the day to allow grass blades to dry by nightfall. Mid-day watering won’t hurt your lawn but you may need to do it longer as you’ll lose moisture to evaporation.
Misconception #4: Watering My Lawn by Hand is the Best Method
Watering your lawn by hand can be deceiving. It seems like you’re getting ample water everywhere but you may actually be causing it to pool in certain areas or even run off. Oftentimes a lawn that is watered solely by hand is not receiving as much as you think.
The best method to water your lawn is to use sprinklers that mimic slow, soaking rain. Hand watering works fine for very small patches of grass where you’ve planted new grass seed or for container plants but when it comes to your lawn as a whole, stick to sprinklers for the best results.
Misconception #5: The Worst Thing I Can Do is Under-Water my Lawn
We hear a lot of concerns about under-watering, but the truth is that overwatering can be just as bad—maybe even worse. When soil becomes oversaturated, it can become waterlogged and you can actually drown your grass roots. An overwatered lawn is also more prone to lawn diseases.
Lawns need approximately 1 to 2 inches of water each week in order to stay healthy and green. The best way for lawns to receive that water is through a slow and soaking rain (either naturally or as a result of your sprinklers). Just be careful not to assume a downpour has given you ample water. Stick a finger down into the first few inches of soil and get a sense of how moist it is.
We also recommend putting a rain gauge outdoors to measure rainfall. When you do need to water, place a shallow can (empty tuna cans work well) halfway between your sprinkler head and its furthest point of spray. This will help you tell how much water your lawn is receiving during your supplemental watering sessions. You don’t need to be watering your lawn every day, but instead just need to ensure that it’s getting its weekly 1 to 2 inches of water with about 2-3 waterings per week.
Proper Lawn Watering for a Greener Lawn
If you have more questions about watering your lawn, we’re here to lend an ear and help you answer those questions. At Joshua Tree, we view lawn care as a partnership between us and our clients. We’re doing everything we can on our end to ensure your lawn is healthy and green but it also takes some help on your end, including proper watering.
We are always available to help make that process easier and ensure that you know what your lawn needs to thrive. There’s a lot of misinformation out there but we’re here to help you set the record straight.