By now most of you have overseeded for the fall or made the decision to let your turf go dormant for the winter. I think now is an appropriate time to talk about the best way to control your water bill and at the same time give your grass the best chance of thriving. Our extreme summers often give homeowners the wrong idea of just how much water is necessary to grow a green lawn. Most people often think that grass needs to be watered daily or twice daily in order to survive but remember these grasses are adapted to the area and are actually hindered by excessive watering. The same is true during the winter months when temperatures really begin to cool off and even though our temperatures may seem warm during the day your grass requires a lot less water than summer.

Dormant Turf

I will very quickly touch on watering a dormant lawn in the winter and then will move on to watering an overseeded lawn. We typically will see a bermudagrass lawn go dormant around Thanksgiving and a paspalum lawn around Christmas. When your goes into a full dormant stage it is storing up energy for the spring and overwatering inhibits this process. A dormant lawn should be watered no more than once every two weeks for around 60 minutes. Since our winters are typically wetter than the summers you may not need to water at all if sufficient rainfall occurs during this time period. If you receive a timely rainfall you can get away with watering once per month for 60 minutes. This will last until March when we start to see temperatures begin to warm up and you’re looking to bring your grass back from dormancy. Until the soil temperature reaches 64 degrees which is usually mid April you will not see any grass growth but the paspalum will green up in February/March and the bermudagrass in late March so a little water will help generate some color.

Overseed Turf

For those who have overseeded for winter color and have an established lawn I have drawn out your watering guidelines. You typically have an established lawn after the seed has been down for 4 weeks and the grass begins to tiller and fill in all the voids. When the turf has been down a month it is best to cut the watering back to daily for one week for 15-20 minutes early in the morning. You don’t want the ryegrass to dry out in the afternoon and the root system is still pretty short so a little extra water is still necessary.

The fifth week is when you can start to make some huge reductions in your water bill and allow your grass to take hold even better to the ground. A ryegrass lawn from November to March needs no more than 20-25 minutes of water every 3 to 5 days. You did read that right where I say 3 to 5 days. By watering everyday you will deplete the grass of all its nutrients and will create a short root system. Remember the term deep and infrequent because this is really where it applies. I am a firm believer in watering no more than twice per week and only if the grass is showing signs of stress. You can check for this by walking on the grass and if your footprint does not immediately pop back up it is time to water your turf. The best time to water your grass is early in the morning so you can reduce and environmental elements that may get in the way.


If you have not put all of your Soil Burst fertilizer applications down yet be sure to do so before we get a frost. These will make your grass healthy and it will look incredible when you start to see your neighbor’s lawn turning yellow. Keep the green paint on the store shelves this winter and push your lawn with fertilizers packed with micronutrients to keep it green all winter. You should alternate monthly between the three foliar products in the winter for the best color and root system.

If you have any questions please email me and let me know.