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Lawn Watering

During the summer, grass performs best with enough water to keep it green and growing. Grass is capable of surviving weeks without watering. Grass can survive between five and eight weeks without water under ideal conditions including healthy turf, good soil, and little or no traffic. If you wait to water, you should not see any significant thinning or damage when the grass greens; however, this is affected by species, age, shade and your maintenance practices.

Lawn Watering Tips

  • Avoid watering during the heat of the day to prevent evaporation.
  • Water thoroughly early in the morning to wet the soil to the depth of the deepest root, approximately 2 - 4 inches. Wait to water again until the grass turns a bluish-gray in the heat of the afternoon, or footprints remain after walking on the lawn.
  • Aerate regularly to improve water penetration.
  • Mow frequently and at 3 inches or higher.
  • Stay off the grass, and limit traffic (kids, pets, mowing) to minimize crushing.
  • Avoid the temptation to apply herbicides because they are ineffective on drought-stressed weeds and can damage drought-stressed grass.
  • Compost is a great fertilizer and helps retain moisture in the soil, which helps conserve water.
  • Use water collected in a rain barrel to irrigate plants and flowers.

You can also choose not to water, provided you follow these tips:

  • Stay off the grass! Limit traffic (kids, pets, mowing) to minimize crushing.
  • Water once every 4 weeks with 1/4 to 1/2 inch of water to keep grass hydrated. This should not cause the grass to green but it will increase its long-term survival.
  • Avoid the temptation to apply herbicides because they are ineffective on drought-stressed weeds and can be damaging to drought-stressed grass.

For additional information please visit Purdue University TURF TIPS

Irrigation System Tips

  • Avoid using your irrigation system on the days it rains. Check your local forecast and watch the weather in your area.
  • Use your irrigation system no more than once every other day. Your lawn doesn't require daily watering.
  • Add some technology to your irrigation system. Many simple devices on the market have been designed to help you conserve water and save money. You can purchase and install a rain sensor that turns off your system when it's raining. Additionally, you can install a moisture sensor that will determine whether your lawn even needs watering. Rain and moisture sensors can be purchased at home improvement stores that sell irrigation systems. 

Source: Purdue University Department of Agronomy, Turf Program