Contact your local county Extension office through our County Office List.

Close Icon
Science-based gardening information, videos, & resources created for Colorado communities with support from Green Industry.

1532 – Efficient Lawn Watering   arrow

What happens to water you put on your lawn? Water can be used by plants, evaporate from the soil or percolate down through the soil to the water table.

What is the most efficient way to water my lawn?

Lawn being watered by sprinkler systemThe most efficient watering system for a lawn is to water it when it is dry, not necessarily on every set number of days. Check the amount of moisture in the soil about three inches below the surface with a screwdriver or small garden trowel. If the soil is damp, there’s no need to water – even if the surface soil looks dry.

Can I measure how much water my lawn is getting?

To determine how much water your lawn is getting, place several small containers in the area to be watered. Run the system for 15 minutes, then measure the depth of the water in the containers. If there are dry areas in the lawn, check to see how much water is in the container placed in that area.

How much water should my lawn be getting?

Typical lawns should receive at least one inch of water per week. When you do water, don’t apply water too much at one time. Heavy clay soil can only absorb about one-quarter inch of water an hour. That means that this type of soil should be watered more frequently with smaller amounts at one time. Instead of 20 minutes at one time, water twice with 10 minutes each time.

When should I water my lawn?

Finally, avoid watering during the heat of the day. Water early in the morning or in the evening. If you have an automatic sprinkler system, water during the night; our climate is so dry that night watering doesn’t create problems unless you overdo it.

For more information, see the following Colorado State University Extension fact sheet(s).

For more information, see the following Planttalk Colorado™ script(s).

Tell us what you think!

Do you have a question? Try Ask an Expert!