Best Time to Water Your Lawn In Hot Weather: What You Need to Know

Jenna Jonaitis
Written by Jenna Jonaitis
Updated March 14, 2023
A little boy with his father watering the lawn
Photo: Westend61 / Westend61 / Getty Images


  • Avoid watering grass on a hot afternoon when it’s 95 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

  • The best time to water grass is dawn or early evening.

  • Water deeply three times per week instead of a little water daily.

  • Test whether your sprinkler system is watering your lawn evenly.

  • Both underwatering and overwatering can harm your grass.

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Your grass needs water to grow and stay healthy, but how to water a lawn the right way isn’t obvious—especially when temperatures get extreme. That’s why it’s essential to learn the best time to water your lawn in hot weather. 

Water too little, and the roots won’t grow deep enough; water too much, and you’ll attract pests and disease. Use these lawn care tips to learn the best time to water lawn in hot weather, along with the best watering methods.

Best Time of Day to Water Grass During Hot Weather

In the summer, especially when daily temperatures reach 95 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, the sun’s heat evaporates water from your grass more quickly than usual. On a hot summer afternoon, watering grass is a waste if the water dries up before it reaches the roots. To counteract this, the best time to water the lawn in hot weather is during one of two cooler parts of the day.

Early Morning Watering

The best time to water your lawn in the summer is at dawn, just as the sun rises. If that’s too early for you, water before 9 a.m for best results. Morning temperatures are cooler and winds are calmer, giving grass roots time to absorb the water before it evaporates or blows away.

Early Evening Watering

If your schedule doesn’t allow for morning watering, aim to water between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. This timeline gives your grass time to dry before dark, preventing it from staying damp overnight. While night temperatures are cooler, a lawn that stays stagnant with moisture can attract pests and develop disease or fungal growth.

Suppose you’re unable to water during either of these times. In that case, you may be able to save water and time with a sprinkler system that runs automatically, installed either as a DIY or by a lawn care service near you.

How Often to Water Your Lawn During Hot Weather

If your area is experiencing extremely high temperatures, water deeply every other day. Your watering frequency may vary depending on how much rainfall your area gets and how hot temperatures tend to rise in your region. For lawn watering tips specific to your local area, check out our tips for watering lawns in the Northeast and tips for Southwest lawn irrigation.

How Much Water to Use When Watering Your Grass

You’ll also want to deliver enough water during each watering session. To ensure that your grass gets a ½ inch of water each time, you’ll want to wet the top 6 to 8 inches of soil. This process can take 30 minutes to 1 hour with a sprinkler system. To determine the exact amount of time you need, take the following steps.

1. Test for Even Watering

Regardless of the sprinkler system, check that it applies water evenly throughout your yard. To test this, take an empty tuna can or similar container and place it within the range of one of your sprinklers. Run the system for a set time and note the water level in the can. Repeat this process for each sprinkler to ensure they supply the same amount of water.

2. Test Water Output

With all sprinklers operating evenly, it’s time to test their output. Run your system for 15 minutes, then drive a shovel or screwdriver into the ground to see how deep the moisture goes. Repeat this process until you measure moisture 6 to 8 inches deep. The amount of time it takes to reach that depth is how long it should take to water your lawn during each watering session.

How to Tell If Your Grass Is Getting Enough Water

Properly watered grass is dense and green. If you’re not watering it enough, you may notice faded brown patches that look gray, blue, yellow, or brown. Your soil will also feel dry, hard, and gravely underfoot. 

You can test for underwatering by walking on your grass. If you leave lasting footprints, your grass lacks the moisture to spring back into shape. You can also run the risk of overwatering your lawn. Excess water blocks nutrients from reaching the roots and allows weeds and fungi to thrive. It can also push grass roots to the surface where they decompose and die, attracting even more pests. If you see puddles and runoff, you’re watering too much.

Watering When Grass is Dormant in the Summer

If your lawn looks brown in the summer, your grass is likely dormant, not dead. A lack of water is usually the culprit. Water your entire lawn for 20 minutes three times in the next week. Continue watering the recommended amount for your grass type, usually 1 to 1½ inches per week. Your grass should turn green again within a week of watering it. If it stays brown, you could have another issue, such as fungal disease or lawn pests

Frequently Asked Questions

You should not water your lawn at night in the summer because when moisture stays on your grass all night, it has a higher chance of getting fungus. Instead, water your grass in the morning before 10 a.m. or late afternoon before 6 p.m. These are the best times to water your lawn in hot weather because there is minimal heat and wind. 

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