To Water or Not To WaterThe past twelve-days have been unusually hot in our area and many homeowners are watering their lawns to keep them hydrated. Nice idea but is it the right course? To Water or, Not To Water – that is the question.

Turfgrasses generally need about 1-inch of water a week to maintain active growth and color. However in the hot months of summer, when high temperatures are the norm – lawns should be allowed to naturally slow down in growth. Maybe even let the lawn go almost dormant in hot weather.

Water Consistently or, Let It Go

With summer heat comes drought conditions, every homeowner needs to decide what path they will take…to commit and water consistently without fail or, to allow their lawns to go dormant as conditions become hot and dry. Whatever the decision – do not flip back and forth. In other words, don’t let the grass turn brown then give it enough water to turn green again only to allow it to brown again. This will drain food reserves from the plant.

When to Water

The first few days of warm weather arrive, that’s not your cue to begin watering. Allowing your lawn to experience mild drought stress increases rooting. So watch your lawn – look for foot printing (prints remain on the lawn after walking on it). Grasses may turn darker in color as they go under drought stress.


Water as infrequently as possible. But when you water – water thoroughly so moisture soaks down to the roots (soil should be wet about 4 to 6 inches deep). You can use a screwdriver to check. Avoid frequent watering that promotes shallow root systems and weed growth.

Note: Dormant lawns must be watered once every three-weeks during a drought.

Time of Day

Water early in the day – it reduces the amount of evaporation due to heat, allows more water to reach the root system and reduces the chances of turfgrass disease.


Spread the water uniformly over the lawn. Avoid flooding areas or missing other spots. Watch for heavy runoff on slopes and clay soil areas – you may need to use several applications to allow for proper penetration.

If you have more questions about caring for your lawn or landscape – visit us at Ask the Expert. Grass, trees, shrubs, bugs, water or soil – you name it and we’ll provide the information you need.

Inspiring You to Love Your Lawn,




To learn more about your lawn and watering – visit the following links.

NC Dept of Agriculture & Consumer Services

NC State University – Turf Files

NC Cooperative Extension Service