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Watering Lawn At Night: Good or Bad Idea?

Watering lawn at night

If you’re a person that doesn’t like waste, you’ve probably heard that watering your lawn at day is a bad idea because the sun evaporates the water. Then, you probably switched the timer on your sprinkler system to water at night.

After a while, though, you notice some bare brown patches developing on your lawn. You think your grass must need more water, so you extend your watering time. However, the problem has only gotten worse. 

By the time you call in a professional who tells you it’s root rot, the problem has gotten bigger. Or, maybe you hear you have brown patch. Both conditions can turn into massive headaches.

Some homeowners water their lawns based on a common misconception: that our hot summer days make daytime watering useless. If water evaporates before it gets to the roots, you would only assume you should change to night watering. The truth is: watering at night is a bad idea.

Why Watering Your Lawn At Night Is A Bad Idea

If you’re told not to water during the day, it makes sense that your first inclination would be to start watering your lawn at night. After all, there are only two options, right? If you can’t water when the sun’s out, wouldn’t the best time of the day to water your lawn be nighttime?

Here’s the problem, though: while too much evaporation is bad, no evaporation is also worse. Many fungal and bacterial diseases that can harm your lawn and your plants thrive in wet foliage. With no hot sun to burn it off, excess water sits there all night long.

Best Time To Water Grass In Hot Weather

It’s true that it’s best to avoid watering your lawn during the hottest part of the day. But, it’s not all day that you need to avoid, just the hottest parts of the day. Think about when it’s warmest where you live. For most of us, that means late morning, the middle of the day and during the afternoon and early evening before the sun sets.

If you try to water your lawn during these times, most of it will be evaporated before your grass and plants can soak it in and benefit from it. You will end up with thirsty roots that aren’t getting the moisture they need, especially when the temperatures are consistently high and there is less rainfall.

How Often Should I Water My Lawn With a Sprinkler System?

Set your sprinklers to water relatively early in the morning. The water will then have time to soak into the ground. At that time, your plants’ roots will have time to drink their fill. Then, by the time your sprinklers are done, the sun will be stronger. Any leftover moisture will be baked away rather than sitting there on your lawn, encouraging disease. If you have any questions about properly watering and maintaining your lawn, reach out to a lawn service professional.

How often should I water my lawn with sprinkler system

How Long Should I Water Grass, and How Often?

How often should you water? To answer this question it’s important to know what kind of soil you have. Typically, you want to water sandy soils every three days or so, while clay soils only require water about once a week. Not sure exactly what type of soil you have? No problem. There are many fairly easy ways to test it, including some DIY methods.

Just as important as frequency, you need to know how long to water your lawn each time you do it. Ideally, you want to keep the water running long enough for moisture to soak six inches deep into the soil. What’s not so simple is knowing how long it will take the water to soak down those six inches. Unfortunately, every lawn is a bit different. How often and how much you should water depends on the makeup of your soil. A lawn care specialist will know how often to water it to keep it healthy.

You can generalize, but the best way to know for sure is to turn on the water for your regularly scheduled watering, grab a shovel and dig up the topsoil after about 15 minutes. You’ll be able to feel how far down the water has penetrated and gauge how long you need. In some lawns, that first 15 minutes may be enough. Most, however, will probably need a bit longer.

This is especially true for many lawns in newer developments because often builders end up unintentionally packing the ground down as they engage in construction, leading to hard, nonporous soil that needs to be softened before they can soak in the water.

For these types of lawns, we recommend breaking up your watering sessions. In other words, you want to water for 15 to 30 minutes, turn off the water to let it soak in for a bit, then water for another 15 to 30 minutes. Doing this prevents the water from pooling on the top and simply running off.

When to start watering lawn

When To Start Watering Lawn in Cooler Weather?

While longtime residents know that there are four seasons in Texas, they’re not quite as distinct as the traditional seasons we learn about in school. This is especially true where lawns are concerned. Generally speaking, we have a hot growing season and a cooler mostly dormant season.

Which begs the question: what’s the best time to water grass in the fall and winter?  Here’s the thing. Most people in the south probably won’t need to water their lawns over the cooler parts of the year. Even in low-rain areas, there’s usually enough water to support the roots. During this time of year, that’s really all you need.

However, if you experience a long period without rain and feel the need to give your lawn a little H2O pick-me-up, you should follow the advice above–water in the early morning. You’ll want to do this for all the reasons already mentioned. Even though the sun isn’t as strong in cooler weather, it still helps to evaporate the water.

When To Start Watering Lawn

Let’s say that you got through the cooler winter months without any watering. Congratulations! You will still have to start up again at some point, though. As the weather starts to get warmer, you find yourself asking how often to water the lawn in the summer?

Should you just go back to your “warm weather” schedule at the beginning of spring? Do you wait until the grass begins growing again and you have to start cutting it? While you don’t want to wait until your lawn starts looking sickly and brown, most people actually misjudge and begin watering too early in the year.

How do you know when to start back up with watering your lawn? Check the weather. The most basic rule is that you do not need to worry about watering your lawn until the weather is hot and dry. In other words, if you’re getting a good amount of spring rain, you can wait. If you touch your lawn in the morning and your fingers get wet with dew, you can wait.

To keep your lawn as healthy and resilient as possible, the best thing that you can do is to contact a lawn care specialist to understand how often to water your lawn. 

ABC Can Ensure Your Lawn Is Always Healthy and Green

Keeping your lawn appropriately watered and vibrant isn’t always as easy as it sounds, especially if you don’t have a good sprinkler system or if yours isn’t working properly. If you want to upgrade or repair your system to help maintain your lawn, do not hesitate to turn to the experts at ABC Home & Commercial Services. Our knowledgeable lawn and sprinkler technicians can advise you on the type of watering and sprinkler system that is best for your soil and even help you program it properly so you never have to worry. 

J Zambo

J Zambo joined ABC in 2023 with over 20 years of experience. He is the Lawn & Tree Division Manager, overseeing Lawn Maintenance and Care, Landscaping, Tree and Holiday Lighting for all ABC Austin branches. Before ABC, he was the Vice President of Aloha Arbor Care and Hawaii Landscape Services. J is an ISA Certified Arborist and ISA Qualified Tree Risk Assessor. His favorite quote is “So shines a good deed in a weary world” by Willie Wonka.

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