Quick facts on lawn watering

Lawns in Michigan may require as much as 1 to 1-1/2 inches of water per week from irrigation or rainfall during summer to remain green and actively growing.
Lawns mowed weekly at a taller mowing height (2-3/4″-3″) are less likely to be scalped. Scalped lawns lose density and have shallow root systems.
Deeper roots draw moisture from a larger volume of soil and therefore require less supplemental irrigation.
Taller grass has deeper roots and a lower tendency to wilt.

Learn to read a lawn and know when to water

Purple-blue wilting leaves, footprints that stay, and folded or rolled leaves are signs that lawns should be thoroughly watered if grasses are to remain green and actively growing.

Turf water use rates are high during sunny and windy days with low relative humidity. In situations where lawns are not watered and rainfall is limited, grasses first show symptoms of wilt and later turn completely brown.

Conserve water by knowing when to water

The best time to water a lawn is from 6 to 10 a.m. During this time the water pressure is highest, disruption of the water pattern from wind is low, and water lost to the atmosphere by evaporation is negligible. Watering early in the morning also has the advantage of reducing the chance of turf diseases that require extended periods of leaf moisture. Avoid irrigation during mid-day and windy conditions.
Move sprinklers frequently enough to avoid puddles and runoff.
Watering new lawns

Newly seeded or sodded lawns require special irrigation. A newly seeded lawn should be watered daily and may need as many as four light waterings in a single day. Keep the seedbed moist, but not saturated, to a depth of 1 to 2 inches until germination occurs (green cast to lawn and seedlings are 1/4- to 1/2-inch tall).


Good lawn care practices save water and harden turf in preparation for dry periods and provide disease prevention. Taller mowing and fall nitrogen fertilization develop a hardy and efficient root system that reduces the need for supplemental irrigation. Newly seeded or sodded lawns require daily irrigation during establishment