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Best Time to Water Grass

Updated: June 29, 2022

Knowing when and how long you should water your lawn can be tough, especially since your watering schedule depends on various factors, including your geographic region, the type of grass you are watering, and the current season. This blog post will tell you when to water your grass based on these factors.

Sprinklers watering the lawn with enough water during the day which is not the best time to water grass.

The Best Time to Water Grass During Different Seasons

When Should you Water your Lawn During Hot, Dry Weather?

The best time of day to water grass in hot, dry weather is in the early morning (before 10 am) when evaporation is at a minimum.

If you have cool-season grasses with a shallow root system, you should water the grass lightly and frequently, adding up to 1/2 inch of water per week.

Cool-season grasses:

  • Fescue
  • Ryegrass
  • Kentucky Blue

Warm-season lawns need less frequent, deep waterings that add up to 1 inch of water per week.

Warm-season grasses:

  • Bermuda
  • St. Augustine
  • Zoysia
  • Centipede

While it’s true that nighttime watering will avoid evaporation, it’s best to avoid lawn watering at night because the cool air allows the grass to stay damp for longer periods of time, ultimately allowing diseases and fungus to permeate.

When Should you Water your Lawn During Fall and Winter?

While the early morning is still the best time to water grass in the cooler seasons, you may need to water your warm-season grasses less because they tend to go dormant when the temperatures drop below freezing.

If you live somewhere where it snows, you should allow your grass to go dormant so it can grow back in the spring. You can always lay down about an inch of straw over your lawn to protect your grass from the cold.

The Best Time to Water Grass in Different Geographic Regions

When Should you Water your Lawn in California?

In Northern California, most homeowners have cool-season grasses. For this type of grass, you should water more frequently for shorter periods of time in the early morning.

In Southern California, you’ll find warm-season grasses. Since this type of grass has an extensive root system, you should water it less frequently for longer periods of time in the early morning.

Since California is known for occasional droughts that are continuing to pace up with occurrence and ferocity due to climate change, be sure to check up on your city, county, and state water restrictions before watering the lawn, or replacing your grassy lawn with rock and sand cover, drought-tolerant vegetation, and artificial turf.

A grassy lawn with good lawn care in California.

When Should you Water the Lawn in the South?

Since the South has warm-season grasses, you can water less frequently. The best time of day will still be in the early mornings, especially during the summertime heat.

Be sure to water deeply so that the extended roots are able to absorb moisture.

When Should you Water the Lawn in the Pacific Northwest?

Some areas in the Pacific Northwest experience frequent rain. Before watering your lawn, make sure to get the right amount of water on your lawn by accounting for the amount of rain your region gets per week.

Since most of the Pacific Northwest has cool-season grasses, you will need to water your grass more frequently but less thoroughly. The best time to water the grass in this region is in the early mornings when there is little evaporation.

Seattle at sunset

When Should you Water the Lawn in the Midwest?

The Midwest has a variety of climates, so your watering schedule will depend on which state you live in.

You should water more frequently if you have cool-season grasses in the Midwest. The best time to water the grass in this region is still in the early mornings when evaporation is minimal.

You can water less frequently if you have warm-season grasses in the Midwest. The best time of day will still be in the early mornings, especially during summertime heat waves.

If your area gets snow in the winter, be sure to allow your lawn to go dormant in the winter months when it snows.

When should you water the Lawn in the Southwest?

The Southwest has a hot, arid climate. The best time of day to water grass in this region is in the early morning (before 10 am) when evaporation is minimal. As drought continues to plague this region, many water districts are imposing strict restrictions. The Las Vegas Valley Water District recently prohibited watering any day between 11 am and 7 pm.

As drought conditions continue to worsen in this region due to climate change, you should consider swapping your grass for rock and sand cover, local vegetation that does not require watering or even artificial turf.

When Should you Water the Lawn in the Northeast?

On the East Coast, you’ll find a mix of cool-season and warm-season grasses. The best time to water will be in the early morning.

It would be best if you allowed your grass to go dormant in the winter months when it snows.

When Should you Water the Lawn in Hawaii?

Since Hawaii is a tropical region, you’ll find warm-season grasses. The best time of day to water grass in this region is in the early morning.

When Should you Water the Lawn in Alaska?

Alaska has a much colder climate, so you’ll find cool-season grasses. You should allow your lawn to go dormant in the winter months when it snows.

Consider Getting Rid of Grass Entirely

As climate change continues to make drought a new normal for many communities across the United States, it may be a good idea to forgo a grassy lawn entirely and replace it with rock and sand cover, natural vegetation that may not even need regular lawn watering or even artificial turf.

This way, you can enjoy a beautiful lawn while saving on your water bill.

A lawn covered in sand and drought-tolerant vegetation that doesn't need much water.

Conclusion

Always aim to water your lawn early in the morning and never water during the heat of the day. Water evaporates as soon as it hits grass during the heat, and the soil isn’t able to absorb moisture when it’s hardened due to heat.

No matter what region you live in or what type of grass you have, it’s essential to water your lawn regularly and deeply to ensure a healthy, green lawn. A safe bet for warm-season grasses is about 1 inch of water per week, while cool-season grass will require less at about 1/2 inch per week.

Still, if you are worried about a permanent hot and arid climate in your community due to climate change, it may be a good idea to forgo planting that grass seed and instead cover your lawn with rock, sand, and natural, drought-tolerant vegetation.