Summertime can be a difficult time for grassy lawns. The hot, dry weather can cause your lawn to become brown and brittle. However, with the right watering schedule, you can keep your grass looking green and healthy all summer long! In this blog post, we will discuss the best time to water lawns in hot weather.
What’s the Best Time to Water Lawn in Hot Weather?
The best time to water your grass in hot weather is in the early morning. The cooler temperatures and higher humidity will help your grass absorb the water more effectively. Watering in the evening can also be effective, but you run the risk of fungal diseases developing overnight.
If you have warm-season grasses (including Bermuda, St. Augustine, Zoysia, and Centipede grasses), you should be watering your lawn for longer periods of time less frequently. The total volume of water should add up to one inch of water per week. A good rule of thumb for watering warm-season grasses is watering for 30 minutes once or twice a week.
If you have cool-season grasses (including Fescue, Ryegrass, and Kentucky Blue grasses), you should be watering your lawn for shorter periods of time more frequently. The total volume of water should add up to one-half to 1.5 inches of water per week. A good rule of thumb for watering cool-season grasses is watering for 10 minutes three times a week.
5 Lawn Care Tips For Irrigation During Hot Weather
1) Check Up on your Sprinklers and Water Infrastructure
If you have a lawn, chances are you have a sprinkler system. But did you know that your sprinkler system may actually be inefficient and wasting water? According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), homeowners use between 30 and 70 percent of their water outdoors, and an estimated 50 percent of that water goes to waste due to evaporation, wind, runoff, and inefficient watering methods and systems.
So, the first step to efficient irrigation during a drought is to make sure your sprinkler system is working properly. Check for leaks, broken heads, and over-spray.
If you don’t have a sprinkler system, or if you want to supplement your current system, consider investing in some soaker hoses or drip irrigation. These types of irrigation systems are much more efficient than traditional sprinklers because they deliver water directly to the roots of your plants.
2) Maintain Better Watering Practices
Start a timer from the point your sprinkler system starts to the point where the water starts running off into the curb in order to avoid water runoff in the future. This way, you can set your system to water just before water starts running off into the curb.
If you have an automatic sprinkler system, make sure it is set to water in the early morning when evaporation is at a minimum.
Never water your lawn during the heat of the day when evaporation is most likely to occur. Nearly all of the water evaporates in contact with the grass, and the soil will be too hardened for the grass roots to be able to absorb the moisture. The best time to water is always in the early morning before the heat sets in.
3) Water your Lawn Less Often, or Not at All
While drought is affecting your community, it may be necessary to quit watering your lawn entirely and let it go dormant. Dormant grass will turn brown, but it is still alive and will green up again when precipitation returns and water restrictions are lifted. If conditions are especially dry for your region, water the grass once every 2 to 3 weeks, especially if you have cool-season grasses. This won’t make your lawn green, but it will keep your grass alive until the cool season returns.
Even if water scarcity isn’t affecting your community, it may still be a good idea to use less water on your lawn in the hot summer by watering the lawn less. It may turn brownish temporarily, but the green will return when the cool season comes back, and you can resume regular watering.
4) Check up on your Community’s Water Restrictions
Many communities will put water restrictions in place when water becomes scarce. These restrictions may limit how often and for how long you can water your lawn. Be sure to check up on these restrictions from your HOA, city, county, or state.
If you are found violating water restrictions, you may be subject to fines or other penalties.
5) Plant Drought-Tolerant, Biodiverse Vegetation on your Lawn
One way to reduce the amount of water your lawn needs is to plant drought-tolerant, biodiverse vegetation. This includes succulents, shrubs, tropical grasses, and trees that require less water to survive.
Not only will this reduce the amount of water your lawn needs, but it will also help create a habitat for local wildlife, especially if you live in the American Southwest or other dry areas, where cacti, succulents, and other plants that are tolerant to increased aridity have thrived for millions of years.
Cacti, succulents, and tropical grasses paired with sand and rock cover make for a beautiful lawn without having to waste a ton of water.
Still, you should wait until the Fall or when water restrictions allow before introducing new vegetation to your lawn. The plants on your lawn need to be well-established before becoming drought-tolerant, which means that they will require enough water to grow roots.
Check the packaging of the vegetation you plan to plant for watering information, and be sure to check up on the EPA’s list of what to plant for your region as well as its landscaping photo gallery for landscaping ideas for your region.
While there are steps you can take to maintain green grass and a healthy lawn during the summer heat, it’s important to be water-wise during a period of water scarcity amid high heat. Always try maintaining better watering practices by watering in the early morning and checking up on your sprinklers. When water scarcity is severe enough, try watering less or not at all. In the long-term, it may be necessary to think about swapping your grassy, water-hungry lawn for a beautiful landscape that uses drought-tolerant vegetation local to your region.