Lawn Watering & Care

Lawn SprinklerWater Wisely

Lawn watering consumes nearly half of the water used by most homes during the warmest months of the year. Many of us water too often and too long. Most lawns need to be watered no more than three days a week in the spring as well as in the summer and two days a week in the fall. This watering schedule is recommended under normal water supply conditions. However, droughts are cyclical and often require further conservation efforts to stretch a limited water supply.

Lawn Watering Conservation Ideas

The Inland Empire region has a very arid climate. At times, water can be scarce and the supply unpredictable. There are various alternatives to lawns, such as ground covers, low growing shrubs, or hardscaping. If a lawn is a necessary component of your landscape, consider these tips:

  • Minimize or reduce lawn areas
  • Consider replacing established or unhealthy lawn areas with more water, conserving varieties
  • Install a sprinkler system to deliver water uniformly
  • Use automatic timers
  • Use the following lawn watering practices

Lawn Watering Practices

Deep Watering

Frequent watering encourages shallow root growth and unhealthy grass. Deep, less frequent watering encourages grass roots to grow deeper into the soil reservoir from which to draw moisture. Deep roots also mean the lawn will be less affected by surface drying.

Water Absorption

Many sprinklers will apply water faster than the soil can absorb. Remember, the ground is like a sponge. To make sure it can absorb all the water your lawn needs, divide your watering time into two or three periods. (Follow our suggested seasonal watering schedule (PDF).)

Water Sprinkler Layout

Sprinklers for lawn areas should be spaced so that water from each sprinkler head reaches the next sprinkler head. This is called head-to-head coverage. The goal is to apply water evenly, avoiding runoff and over-spray.

TimingYellow California Poppies

How long and how frequently you water your lawn depends on several factors: how fast your sprinklers apply water, your soil type, the health of your lawn, and the weather. Adjust watering schedules with the seasons. Water less often in the cool weather of fall and spring, and more frequently during summer. Don’t water during the wet season. Set your sprinklers to come on in the early morning hours (before dawn) to give the water time to soak in before it evaporates by the heat of the sun.

Lawn Care Checklist

  • Adjust your watering schedule (PDF) to reflect the seasons, water less in the spring and fall
  • Aerate and dethatch your lawn and aid water, air, and fertilizer penetration
  • Plant or replace unhealthy lawns with drought tolerant varieties
  • Don’t cut your grass too short, and keep your mower’s blade sharp

The Waterwise Landscape

  • Watering infrequently and deeply will encourage deep, healthy roots
  • Avoid overwatering and run off by watering in 2 to 3 cycles
  • Check and adjust sprinkler heads seasonally
  • Water early in the day to avoid excess evaporation