Watering Grass to Keep it Green and Lush All Summer


If you're like many homeowners, your spring yard work is focused on helping your grass recover from cold weather and trying to kick-start its growth. As temperatures rise and summer sets in, your attention should shift to maintaining a healthy lawn. Properly watering grass is the best defense against the scorching heat and drought conditions summer can bring. Our tips on when to water your lawn and how to tackle brown spots on your lawn will help you maintain a lush, green landscape throughout the hottest months of the year.

Effects of drought stress

Identifying lawn problems caused by drought stress can be as simple as looking at your grass. Brown spots on a lawn are often a sign it isn't getting enough water.  A severely parched lawn may go dormant and turn completely brown.  Making sure your turf stays hydrated - by watering grass when necessary to supplement rainfall - can help prevent the development of brown spots on your lawn. Most grass needs an inch of water each week. Thoroughly watering grass once a week with a sprinkler is usually enough to avert drought stress. To figure out how long your sprinklers need to run to provide adequate water, place some containers around them, and see how much time it takes for each one to accumulate an inch of water. This can also be a good way to check whether your sprinklers are watering the grass evenly.


When to water your lawn

Knowing when to water your lawn can help you maximize the benefits for your grass. Although you can't control rainfall, you can time your grass watering. You may get the urge to water during the first days of summer, but letting your grass experience some mild drought stress can actually encourage deeper root growth.

When you begin to water your lawn, do so early in the day, if possible, when the grass is already wet with dew. If you have sprinklers, set them to water the lawn in the wee hours of the morning around - 3 a.m. This will give the water a chance to soak deep into the roots before midday, when water is likely to evaporate. Water applied in the evening may have too much time to soak in, which, like over-watering grass, can make your lawn vulnerable to disease.


Over-watering grass

Giving your lawn more water than it needs won't speed its recovery. In fact, watering grass to much can be more harmful to it than drought stress. Over-watering weakens roots, making your turf more susceptible to weed outbreaks and fungal diseases. Use the chart below to determine the amount of water your yard needs.


Grass Watering Frequency and Amount
Month Avg. Temp (F) Inches of Water Needed Times per Week
January 40 0 0
February 46 0 0
March 55 0 0
April 63 0.5 1
May 72 1 2
June 83 1.25 2
July 89 1.5 3
August 87 1.25 2
September 78 1 2
October 66 0.5 1
November 50 0 0
December 41 0 0


Use sharp Blades

Mowing with dull blades also weakens your turf and makes it more vulnerable to these problems. Rather than giving it the crisp cut you want, dull blades rip and tear your grass, which hurts both the health and curb appeal of your yard. Check your mower blades before and throughout growing season to make sure they're sharp and in good condition. If you need to replace blades, mower belts or other parts, use our Outdoor Power Equipment Parts Finder to locate the right matches for your machine.


Combating brown spots on your lawn

If you notice brown spots on your lawn, spot-water them rather than increasing irrigation of your entire lawn to avoid over-watering grass that is already hydrated. If your whole lawn browns, it may take a month of proper grass watering to perk it back up. It's important not to repeatedly allow your lawn to go dormant and then wake it, as this depletes its food reserves.To avoid this cycle, decide before summer arrives whether you are going to keep up with watering your grass, or allow it to sleep through the heat.