How Much Should I Water My Lawn and What Time of Day is the Best?



A frequent question we receive from our clients is, "How much should I water my lawn and when?" To be able to maintain a lush, healthy green lawn it is important to know how much water is enough and what time of day is best. Too little water and the grass will shrivel up and die; too much water and it’ll become over-saturated and die.


Virginia Green Lawn Recommendations


What time of day to water your lawn?

The best time to water your lawn is the early morning, before 10 a.m. Cooler temps can help keep evaporation to a minimum plus watering in the morning keeps the turf cooler during the hottest parts of the day in Virginia.


If you cannot water in the in the morning, then late afternoon is the next best alternate time. The worst time to water is at night, when temperatures are cooler, because watering in the evening keeps lawns wet overnight, which can make the grass susceptible to the perfect environment for fungus to grow. Along with cutting grass too short, watering at night is about the worst thing you can do to a lawn.


How much water should I use? The best rule is to water long enough to moisten the soil down to about 6 inches, which is the average depth of a healthy grass-root system. It takes about one inch of water to properly hydrate normal lawns to that depth. To check if you have properly watered your lawn, take a stick or screwdriver and after watering the lawn, shove it straight down into the soil. If it passes 6 inches, you have watered enough. If it does not meet 6 inches you need to water until you reach that measurement.

How many times a week should I water my lawn?

Generally, most lawns require about 1 inch of water per week — from rainfall or irrigation — to sustain growth, Virginia Cooperative Extension says.


Virginia Cooperative Extension says applying 1 inch of water during a single irrigation cycle is hard to do, given that most Virginia soils absorb water pretty slowly. As a result, applying smaller amounts of water every three or four days may be called for so that the soil can better absorb it.