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When is the Best Time to Water Lawns? Irrigation Tips for WI & MN Homeowners


One of the best things about having a smart irrigation system and an expert irrigation maintenance program to go with it is not having to worry about the best time to water your grass.

It’s just done. Boom. Relax and focus on mixing up your famous barbecue sauce. 

For the rest of you, when is the best time to water grass?

Put down that hose, and let’s take a look.

Best Time to Water Lawns: Before Sunrise

Wrap up your watering as close to sunrise as possible.

If sunrise is at 6 a.m., you should be done watering at 6.

Why? A few reasons:

  • Wind typically picks up as the day goes on. You don’t want your precious water droplets to blow away.
  • The sun will cause your water to evaporate before it can soak into your soil. 
  • When water droplets land on your grass, they act like tiny magnifying glasses and can cause the sun to burn your grass.

Change That Controller, Please

Remember, the sunrise time changes every day. So the best time to water grass will change, too. 

irrigation system controllerYou need to change your start time throughout the seasons. 

But, let’s face it, nobody really does that. It’s inconvenient. And it can be complicated.

So people set their controllers (timers) and just forget them.

That’s fine when you turn your irrigation on for the season, set for cool and rainy spring weather.

Suddenly it’s July, 90 degrees, it hasn’t rained in two weeks, and you wonder why your grass is so dry.

Your controller settings are still working like it’s spring.

Don’t forget to update your watering schedule.  

Ditch the Daily Watering  

If you have an established lawn, don’t water it every day.

You want to let the soil dry out between waterings, which means water longer and less frequent. 


You want your grass to have to search for water, sending its roots deeper into the soil. That encourages the roots to grow longer and deeper, which means your grass will be healthier.

lawn irrigation in healthy green grass

Water too often, and those roots can just hang out near the surface and get all the water they need. 

Shallow roots can’t handle the stress of a sudden drought or a summer lawn disease as well as deeper roots. 

But this isn’t true for new grass. It should stay wet, so it needs several waterings a day.

How Long to Water? It’s Tricky

Deciding the best time to water grass is easy. This one’s trickier. 

Everybody’s yard is different. There are no universal watering rules for everybody.

Your goal should be an inch of water per week, and that includes any rain that falls. But lots of different factors affect how long you should actually water your lawn.

Read Our Guide to Irrigation Installation & Maintenance

If your soil is clay, you’ll water differently than if your soil is sand. You might water 40 minutes to an hour if you have sandy soil. But your friend across town who has clay might need to water for just 15 minutes. He’d have a lake if he watered for an hour.

Are you on a slope? In the shade? What variety of grass do you have? What type of soil? What kind of irrigation heads? 

All these factors come into play when it comes to watering times.

If you have rotor irrigation heads on a zone, that revolve as they water, you might need 30 minutes of water. 

But some spray heads deliver more water, so that zone might need just 10 minutes.

See what we mean? One size definitely does not fit all. 

Your best bet? Hire a skilled and knowledgeable irrigation company to help you assess your particular lawn and create an irrigation plan perfect for your lawn.

The Best Time to Water Lawns? Let Smart Irrigation Do the Work

Sure, a regular rain sensor will turn your irrigation system off if it starts to rain. But that’s so yesterday.

A smart irrigation controller will skip watering if it rains or if rain is in the forecast. You wouldn’t want to water the lawn at 5 a.m. and then it starts raining a couple of hours later.

Your lawn doesn’t need that much water and overwatering can lead to other problems. 

customer using lawn irrigation app

A smart irrigation controller also knows to skip if it’s too windy, and the wind will just blow the water all over the place. Or if it’s too cold. No need for water if it’s 40 degrees.

A smart irrigation system takes into account what kinds of plants you have in your yard, and how much water they need. 

Beyond that, it calculates how much water is in the soil and how much water has evaporated.

What’s the soil type? Is there a slope?

It might know more about your yard than you do.

Or, Leave the Hassle to Us

Honestly, most of our customers hire us because they don’t want to worry about any of this.

“I just want my lawn green,” they say.

We get it. Our irrigation programs make it easy to figure out the best time to water grass. 

We offer three levels of irrigation programs designed to keep your system working properly from spring through fall: Peak Performance, Optimum Operation, and Efficient Essentials.

You choose the level that suits your needs and let us do the rest.

Your irrigation program should be designed to match your needs. Every visit is planned to optimize the performance of your irrigation system, reduce water usage, and promote a healthier landscape.

lawn irrigation inspection

We get you set up in the spring with the right irrigation settings. But as spring turns to summer, the sun rises earlier, and temperatures warm up, you’ll need to adjust those settings.

Sign up for our Peak Performance plan, and we’ll come out every month and do it for you.

There’s an added benefit to have an irrigation tech stop by every month during irrigation season. 

We’ll check on your irrigation system when it’s working the hardest, and when your lawn needs your sprinkler system the most. 

Yes, your smart controller is brainy enough to make adjustments, but it’s not a pair of eyes on your property. 

Our skilled technicians will check your spray coverage, reprogram your timer as needed, and inspect all your components to make sure everything is working at peak performance, to protect your landscape investment and ensure your lawn looks beautiful through the hottest days of summer.

When Is the Best Time to Water Lawns? Let RainMaster Help

While there are a few universal rules — water before sunrise, don’t water too often — figuring out exactly when and how long to water your lawn is kind of a hassle. 

You’d rather just enjoy your healthy, well-irrigated yard, right? Can’t somebody make this easier?

We’re glad you asked.

When you’re ready to put your trust in us, we can’t wait to meet you — and help you make the best choices for your lawn.

Want to be confident about your choice for irrigation services? Request a quote today! We’ll review your options together so you can make a confident decision. Then, you can finally enjoy your lawn and stop worrying about it.

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Topics: Lawn Care, Irrigation

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