When Is the Best Time of Day to Water Grass? We Have the Answer

Watering your lawn at the right time of day is crucial for healthy grass growth. The ideal time to water grass depends on several factors, including the season, climate, and type of grass you have. Here’s what you need to know about the best time of day to water your lawn for maximum health and beauty.

Why Time of Day Matters for Watering Grass

Watering grass at the wrong time of day can lead to a number of problems, including:

  • Evaporation – Watering when it’s hot and sunny causes up to 30% of water to evaporate before it can soak into the soil. This wastes water.
  • Fungal diseases – Wet grass for extended periods increases the risk of fungal diseases like brown patch.
  • Shallow roots – Frequent light watering encourages shallow roots. Deep periodic soaking promotes deep roots.
  • Runoff – Watering too fast can cause runoff, wasting water and not sufficiently soaking the soil.

Watering at the right time minimizes these problems, saving water and promoting turf health.

The Best Time of Day to Water Grass

The ideal time to water grass is early morning, before 10am. Reasons why include:

  • Lower temperatures and wind speeds reduce evaporation.
  • Allows grass blades to dry off before evening, minimizing fungal disease risk.
  • Aids deeper water penetration into soil.
  • Morning dew helps distribute water evenly.
  • Avoiding mid-day watering reduces growth of shallow roots.
  • Grass has the entire day to utilize water absorbed in the morning.

If morning watering is not practical, the next best times are late afternoon or early evening, between 4pm to 8pm. At these times:

  • Temperatures are lower, allowing more water to soak in rather than evaporate.
  • Gives grass ample time to dry before nightfall.
  • There’s less wind compared to mid-day.
  • Allows recently watered grass to utilize water through the night.

Seasonal Variations

While early morning is always ideal, watering schedules vary by season:


  • Water 2-3 times per week for about 15 minutes per session.
  • Increase frequency if rainfall is low.
  • Water in the early AM between 6-8am.


  • Water 3-4 times per week for 20+ minutes.
  • Water in early AM between 5-7am.
  • Water extra on extremely hot days or after heavy use.


  • Gradually reduce watering frequency as temperatures cool.
  • Water 1-2 times per week for 10-15 minutes in early AM.
  • Adjust based on rainfall.


  • Water only 1-2 times per month in dry climates if grass still grows.
  • Reduce frequency after first hard frost.
  • Brief midday watering can prevent wilting during dry spells.

Types of Grass and Watering Times

Different grass types have different watering needs:

  • Cool season grasses – Best watered in early AM. Avoid afternoon watering.
  • Warm season grasses – Prefer early AM watering. Can tolerate late afternoon.
  • Bermuda grass – Require frequent, shallow watering. Early AM best.
  • Zoysia grass – Prefers infrequent, deep watering. AM or late afternoon.
  • St. Augustine grass – Responds well to frequent, light watering in early AM.

Know your specific grass type and adjust appropriately.

Watering Grass at Night – The Pitfalls

It’s best to avoid watering grass late at night:

  • Wet blades for extended periods encourage fungus and disease.
  • Night weather is calm, humidity is higher. Evaporation is minimized, extending grass wetness.
  • Little opportunity for grass to utilize water before nightfalls.
  • Morning dew negates the need for night watering.

However, occasionally watering at night may be warranted if:

  • Daytime temperatures exceed 90°F – preventing heat stress.
  • Establishing new sod or grass seed – keeps seeds moist.
  • Repairing or patching drought damage.
  • Battling crabgrass and other weeds.

When needed, water lightly between 9 pm to midnight to limit fungal disease issues.

How Long to Water Grass

Along with proper timing, pay attention to watering duration:

  • New sod – Water for 30 minutes, 3 times per day for the first 2 weeks.
  • New seeds – Water for 15 minutes, 3 times daily until germination. Then reduce frequency.
  • Established grass – Water for 10-25 minutes per session, varying by season.
  • Sandy soils – Require more frequent, shorter watering like 12-15 minutes.
  • Clay soils – Allow longer, less frequent soakings of 25-30 minutes.
  • Slopes and hilly areas – Water for a few extra minutes to allow penetration through runoff.

Get to know your soil type and sprinklers’ output. Adjust duration to avoid runoff.

Signs It’s Time to Water Grass

Beyond following a consistent schedule, look for visual cues that indicate it’s time to water:

  • Grass blades – Folding, wilting, or turning blue-gray.
  • Footprints – Your lawn shoes leave deep footprints.
  • Rain gauge – 1 inch of rain hasn’t fallen in the past week.
  • Topsoil check – The first 1-2 inch top layer of soil is dry.
  • Grass resilience – Blades don’t spring back when walked on.
  • Slope dryness – Slopes and mounds start showing dry patches.
  • New sod – If new sod or seeds don’t stay continually moist.

Adjust your watering times and frequency based on these indicators.

Tips for Watering New Grass Seed or Sod

Special care is needed when establishing new grass from seed or sod:

  • Water lightly 3 times per day for sod, or 1-2 times for seeded lawns.
  • Use a sprinkler or mist setting to avoid displacing seeds or sod.
  • Maintain constant moisture for seeds for 10-14 days until germination.
  • For sod, water daily to take for proper rooting, generally 2-3 weeks.
  • After established, transition to a typical watering schedule based on season.
  • Consider using a moisture meter to easily check topsoil wetness.
  • If water pools or flows off new sod or seeded areas, alter frequency.

Careful attention in the first few weeks prevents new grass drying out or detaching.


Properly timed lawn irrigation delivers the water grass needs without waste. Early morning watering provides ideal conditions for absorption while minimizing evaporation, runoff, and disease. Adjust your specific schedule and duration based on climate, season, and grass variety. Pay attention to signs of dryness, and be extra diligent when establishing new sod or seeded grass. Consistent deep watering in the AM hours results in a green, vibrant landscape.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the ideal time of day to water my lawn?

The best time to water grass is in the early morning, before 10 am. Lower temperatures, calmer winds, and morning dew help distribute and absorb water into the soil effectively at this time.

Should I ever water my grass at night?

It’s best to avoid nighttime watering, which can promote fungal diseases. However, occasionally watering in the late evening to early night between 9 pm to midnight can help cool grass and prevent heat stress in extreme heat.

How long should I water my lawn each time?

Duration depends on factors like your soil type, sprinkler output, and time of year. Typical watering sessions range from 10-25 minutes. Sandy soils require more frequent, shorter waterings while clay soils allow deeper, less frequent soakings.

How often should I water my lawn in summer?

During peak summer, most lawns need watering 3-4 times per week. Water for 20 minutes or more in the early morning between 5-7 am to soak the soil deeply. Increase frequency if temperatures exceed 90°F.

How can I tell when my grass needs watering?

Signs that indicate it’s time to water include folded or wilting blades, footprints remaining on the lawn, dry soil in the root zone, and grass not springing back when walked on. Use these visual cues to determine watering frequency.

What’s different about watering new sod or seeded grass?

Newly planted sod or seeded lawns have higher watering needs. Lightly water new sod for 30 minutes 3 times per day, and new seeds for 15 minutes 1-2 times daily to maintain constant moisture until established.

How often should I water grass in the winter?

In winter, grass goes dormant and needs minimal water. Most winter climates only require monthly watering, or during dry spells. Reduce frequency after the first hard frost as grass stops actively growing.


Proper watering techniques are vital for a thriving lawn. Paying attention to the ideal time of day for watering based on season, as well as the duration needed for your specific grass variety and soil, will ensure your landscape stays green and healthy year-round. Early morning is the prime time to water to maximize absorption while preventing issues like disease. Adjust your watering schedule over time by observing signs of lawn dryness and utilizing moisture meters. With the knowledge provided in this article, you can establish the optimal watering routine for your lawn’s needs.