when is the best time to water your lawn?
Water is vital to ensure a healthy lawn. A well-established lawn requires minimal watering even during increased temperatures.
However, extreme heat temperatures can harm your lawn. Consequently, your grass will require more water to cool down.
Knowing how much water and when to water your grass could be tricky. Watering your lawn 2 or 3 days a week is the ideal schedule under normal weather conditions.
Yet, dispersing water when it’s 95 degrees Fahrenheit outside will only cause water to evaporate quickly, which leads to a waste of resources and effort.
During extremely hot days, it’s advisable to soak the soil into a depth of 1 to 2 inches per week. Just like normal watering rules, the the best time to water your lawn is in the early morning.
Yet, this can only be effective if you know how much water to release or how long to water in hot weather.
What Happens if I Don't Water My Grass In Hot Weather?
Cool-season grasses can survive long periods of dry weather. For instance, a Kentucky seagrass will only grow dormant for up to six weeks, which is a natural survival mechanism for grass.
The leaves will turn color brown, but the lawn remains alive.
But if it goes beyond six weeks, you face the risk of your lawn dying. This is why it’s still advisable to water a lawn in hot weather.
Similarly, lawns are likely to grow brown-colored leaves when deprived of water. The summer heat will oblige you to water your lawn more to prevent it from becoming drought-stressed.
This is especially true when there’s a combination of high temperature and strong winds.
When your location has extreme temperatures of the high 90s and over 100 degrees Fahrenheit for a long period of time, you might need to water your lawn more than the recommended sprinkler run times of three times a week.
When is the Best Time to Water your Lawn in Hot Weather?
Basically, temperatures are at their lowest during early morning or late evening. Hence, the best time of day to water lawn is when air temperatures are lower, as well as when there is dew on the ground.
Know that there are tiny openings on the surface of the leaves called stomata, which remains open throughout the day. Water can get evaporated from the stomata.
Water at the Early Hours of Morning to Avoid Full Sun
The break of dawn is the best time of day to water your lawn in hot weather. This is even the recommendable time at cold and normal conditions.
The early hours of the morning are effective because evaporation is low at this time due to outdoor cooler temperatures. Thus, there’s no waste of water since there is less wind and the water gets to remain on the lawn.
It could be anytime between 5:00 to 9:00 in the morning, only if the crack of dawn isn’t ideal for your schedule. As long as you get to soak the soil deeply, little to no water is lost to evaporation.
Remember, do not water a lawn when it’s approaching midday, especially when there’s full sun.
Water as early as you can to give time for your lawn to dry up during the day and avoid creating optimal conditions for fungal growth.
Should You Water Plants in the Middle of the Day?
High sun + hot weather = too much evaporation
Choosing midday as the time to water a lawn in hot weather is counter-productive because a lot of water won’t reach the soil due to evaporation.
Aside from rapid evaporation, strong winds at midday may cause uneven water dispersal. Strong winds might spread the water onto sidewalks, driveways, or streets.
Avoiding Watering Late at Night
It’s true that watering lawn late at night gives ample time for the grass to dry out, and the roots could still achieve water uptake.
While the sun is not a threat at night, watering lawns in the late afternoon or evening may cause the grass to stay damp overnight, making your lawn susceptible to disease.
Likewise, the continuous temperature drop could be detrimental to your lawn because water may remain stagnant, which invites fungal growth.
Early in the morning remains to be the best time to water a lawn in hot weather.
How Often Should I Water your grass in Extreme Heat?
As a general rule, it is ideal to water a lawn in hot weather infrequently, yet thoroughly, instead of lightly misting in various times of the day.
You must water your lawn in hot weather at least three times per week, as long as you soak the soil to a depth of at least 6 to 8 inches.
Akin to normal conditions, watering your lawn daily will create a shallow root system, which dries out fast and weakens your lawn.
Therefore, less frequent but deep watering is preferable because it encourages grass roots to develop and run strong systems underneath the soil.
This enables your lawn to be more robust and disease resistant.
How Much Water Should I Need When I Water my Lawn in Hot Weather?
Lawns with clay soil or more shade don’t require much water because they have the ability to retain more moisture.
On the other hand, porous and sandy soil might need more water.
When watering a lawn in hot weather, you should at least provide 1 to 1.5 inches of water every early morning or a single application.
Note that you have to produce this amount three times a week.
Depth of 1-inch water
Holds water longer because it absorbs water slowly.
Reduces the risk of runoff or puddling because it absorbs water evenly
How Long Should I Water My Grass?
It is ideal to water your lawn about 1 inch of water for every single application per week. On average, it takes 30 minutes to disperse 0.5 inches of water.
Therefore, you must water your lawn in hot weather three times per week, for about 30 minutes each, to get an inch of water on your lawn.
Moreover, it can be easier if you are using a sprinkler system to water a lawn in hot weather. A typical lawn sprinkler zone produces about 0.27 to 0.30 inches of water per hour.
When it’s extremely hot, the average amount of moisture that evaporates from the soil is about 0.25 to 0.35 inches per day. Meaning, your lawn will only get about 50% of the water.
But sometimes this won’t be appropriate to certain lawns. You can experiment to measure how long you should keep your sprinklers open to water a lawn in hot weather.
When Should I Stop Watering My Lawn in Hot Weather?
It is recommendable to make use of a rain gauge to measure whether you’ve achieved the ideal amount of water.
But if you don’t have one, you can place an empty can in your lawn. When you’ve filled up the can to your desired amount, it means you’ve supplied the necessary water.
Meanwhile, there are visual signs you can monitor when you water a lawn in hot weather.
For example, do you see green grass instead of brown, narrow ones?
Then, your lawn is healthy and you’ve watered it correctly despite the hot conditions.
Another good way to check is to probe the soil using a screwdriver. You will know if your lawn is getting a sufficient amount of water each week when you can easily submerge the probe into the soil.
If not, then you can ramp up your watering schedule.
What If I’ve Overwatered My Lawn in Hot Weather?
I understand that the hotter conditions may lead you to think that you have to boost up watering.
While this is true, you must remember that early in the morning is the best time to water a lawn in hot weather.
The ample time will allow your soil to soak up the water, and give it a chance to let the roots take up water as well.
Thus, you shouldn’t worry about overwatering your lawn, not unless you meticulously water it three times a day, which is a big no-no.
Do Not Mow Grass Too Short When Watering Lawn in Hot Weather
Traditionally, you must not clip off more than a third of the length of your grass. You should not cut it often, too.
Furthermore, taller leaves protect the bottom part of the grass from burning due to the hot weather.
Additionally, tall grass slows down evaporation, which is helpful when you water a lawn in hot weather especially in the early morning.
To Sum It Up…
Plants are like humans, they enjoy having a sufficient amount of water. The best time to water a lawn in hot weather is during dawn until the early hours of the morning, or when the sun isn’t fully shining yet.
Remember to focus on your watering when the temperature is low and there’s not much wind.
Lindsey Hyland grew up in Arizona where she attended University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture. She has supplemented her formal education by working on various organic farms, including spending a semester abroad in India.
Growing and/or raising just about anything gets her excited. She is especially passionate about environmental justice and low-tech, sustainable ways to better run small-scale farms and homesteads. Lindsey started Urban Organic Yield to discuss gardening tips and tactics.