Are You Watering Too Often?

Karen Russ
Home & Garden Information Center

When extreme summer heat hits, many homeowners are tempted to water their lawns daily to prevent wilting and maintain a lush green lawn. Unfortunately, excessively frequent watering can result in increased susceptibility to fungal diseases, shallow rooting, greater weed seed germination and thatch buildup. Another side effect of over frequent water is needlessly high water bills.

Well established lawns do not need frequent watering, as their roots can pull moisture from lower soil levels. A general rule is to apply 1 inch of water per week. Weather conditions and other factors will influence this frequency, but an established lawn will never need daily or every other day irrigation.

The ideal watering frequency is to water only when your lawn needs moisture and to water deeply to encourage deep rooting. Observation of your turf will tell you when it needs water. For information on how your lawn signals its need for water, see HGIC 1801, Landscape Irrigation Management Part 2: Determining When to Irrigate. For information on watering amount, see HGIC 1802, Landscape Irrigation Management Part 3: How Much Water?. For information on the influence of soil texture on watering needs, see HGIC 1805, Landscape Irrigation Management Part 6: Soil Type & Irrigation Frequency.

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