Does Watering Grass In The Sun Burn It (2023)? (2023)

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Watering grass in the sun will not burn it. However, water will evaporate more quickly when it is hot outside. So, when summer heat hits, it is better to water grass early in the early morning or in the late afternoon to allow the grassroots to absorb the moisture before it evaporates.

Figuring out the best lawn care methods is a challenging task. You are bound to make a few mistakes or at least face a few dilemmas along the way.

The question I had trouble answering is: “Does watering grass in the sun burn it?” There is a lot of controversy around this myth, even though, in the words of Linda Chalker-Scott, Ph.D., Extension Horticulturist and Associate Professor from Washington State University, most .edu websites dispel it.

Let’s find out if the sun’s energy and water droplets are really a deadly combo for lawn grass and when and how to water your lawn in the summer!


  • 1 Myth Busting: Does Watering Grass In The Sun Burn It?
    • 1.1 What Are The Possible Causes Of Lawn Damage?
    • 1.2 What Happens If You Water Grass In The Evening?
  • 3 FAQs
    • 3.1 Should you water grass seed when the sun is out?
    • 3.2 Can you revive sun burnt grass?
  • 4 Summing-Up

Myth Busting: Does Watering Grass In The Sun Burn It?

Does Watering Grass In The Sun Burn It (2023)? (1)

According to lawn care experts from Hicks Landscape Contractors, a reputable lawn maintenance firm from Wake County, NC, to ensure grass growth, you must secure high-quality soil and plenty of sunlight and water. In North Carolina, where I come from, the main problem during the hot summer months is providing enough water.

Since the majority of the population leads a hasty life, the main query is when to water grass. Most people hurry to work in the early morning (which is definitely the best time to water your lawn) and often tend to their lawns when they get home in the afternoon. But, is it okay to water grass in the midday sun on a hot sunny day?

The short answer is: yes.

In the words of the already-mentioned Linda Chalker-Scott, a wet lawn is not susceptible to sunburn. So, there is no need to postpone irrigation until the evening in fear of grass burns and leaf scorch. Feel free to water your lawn whenever you notice signs of drought stress, even if it is the middle of a hot, sunny day – it will not damage your grass.

What Are The Possible Causes Of Lawn Damage?

Does Watering Grass In The Sun Burn It (2023)? (2)

According to Dennis Pittenger, an Area Environmental Horticulturist at the University of California Cooperative Extension, lawn damage can occur due to abiotic causes (too much fertilizer or pesticides, dog urine, or salt build-up), pests and insects, or too much or too little water, etc. Poor soil quality is another reason people might struggle to maintain a healthy lawn too.

You should also consider the type of grass. As explained by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, cool-season grasses, such as fescues and bluegrass, go dormant in the summer and need watering every 3 weeks if there is no rain.

Constant watering only inspires the growth of heat-loving weeds. The best thing you can do is give your lawn a break for a month or two, and you’ll see it grow back in September.

My problem was over-fertilizing. I thought I was doing my grass a favor, but excess fertilizer burned my grass. My neighbor, on the other hand, ruined his lawn by watering it at night. So, let’s take a moment to explain why that is a bad thing.

What Happens If You Water Grass In The Evening?

Does Watering Grass In The Sun Burn It (2023)? (3)

The magnifying glass theory stating that water droplets act as magnifying glasses and allow the sun’s energy to scorch your grass is simply not true. In fact, water droplets are far more dangerous at night. As I read in an article written by Brandon Grammer from the Commercial Lawn Irrigation Company, watering your grass in the evening is a terrible idea for several reasons:

  • It promotes disease since water droplets on the leaf surfaces encourage fungus growth. Common problems include leaf scorch, brown patches, rust, and dollar spots.
  • It disrupts plant activity since grass cannot expel moisture during the night. This can lead to plant rot.
  • It can attract pests that love damp, dark places. These pests not only feed on your grass but also spread disease.
  • It can cause waterlogging. Since water does not evaporate at night, the soil can become too saturated, preventing the oxygen from reaching grass roots.
  • It increases the risk of soil erosion since water does not soak into the ground as quickly as during the day. Common signs of this problem are bare patches and bald spots.

How & When To Water Your Lawn During Hot Weather?

Does Watering Grass In The Sun Burn It (2023)? (4)

I have already mentioned that even though morning is the best time to water your lawn during the hot season, you can do it later in the day, too. However, there are other things to consider.

In my town (Raleigh, NC), water conservation is an important issue that both residents and local officials take quite seriously. The common goal is to maintain healthy, green lawns while wasting as little water as possible, and that is why there are irrigation recommendations and a water usage calculator that help keep everything in check.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency gives the following recommendations for setting up your automatic sprinkler system properly and saving up to 50 percent of the water you use for your lawn:

  • Timing is most important – someone from your local water utility company can probably help you determine how much water your lawn needs and the best time to water it.
  • Upgrade to a WaterSense labeled controller, which uses local weather data to determine when and how much to water your grass.
  • Hire professional help certified through a WaterSense labeled program to help you install and maintain your irrigation system.
  • Check for leaks and broken/clogged sprinkler heads on a regular basis. Fix every problem as soon as you spot it.
Does Watering Grass In The Sun Burn It (2023)? (5)

If you are like me and you don’t have a sprinkler system, the EPA recommends the following:

  • Step on your grass to see if it springs back up. If it does, you can postpone lawn watering.
  • Buy a soil moisture sensor. They don’t cost much and can prevent overwatering and damaging grass roots.
  • Do not cut your grass short. Longer grass means deeper roots and better drought resistance.
  • Refrain from using your hose to wash driveways, steps, and sidewalks to avoid overwatering and water wastage. Use a broom instead.

I found a great video offering more hot-weather watering tips:

Does Watering Grass In The Sun Burn It (2023)? (6)


Should you water grass seed when the sun is out?

You should water grass seed when the sun is out, preferably before it gets too hot. Early in the morning is the best time to water lawns and newly seeded lawns are no exception to this rule.

Can you revive sun burnt grass?

You can revive sun burnt grass by watering it properly, adding potassium-rich fertilizer, and letting it grow a bit longer, as recommended by an article I read in Plantura magazine. If that doesn’t work, consider re-seeding the discolored or bald patches.


Does Watering Grass In The Sun Burn It (2023)? (7)

Long story short: feel free to water your grass in the sun or whenever you notice signs of water stress! Water droplets do not act as magnifying glasses and won’t scorch your grass. Grass can be damaged by many things, but irrigation with fresh water is certainly not one of them (unless you overdo it)!
Please comment and share! Exchanging our knowledge and experiences can only help!


Is it bad to water your lawn on a hot day? ›

Watering on a hot summer afternoon is a horrible idea. The liquid will evaporate too quickly and may not reach your grass's roots, so heat and irrigation shouldn't go together. Instead, the best time to water grass during summer is in the morning.

How often should I water my grass in the sun? ›

Because grass grows more quickly and soil moisture is drawn up and depleted more rapidly in the sunlight, sunny lawns may need more frequent watering (about an inch per week) than grass growing in shade.

Is it OK to water grass seed in the sun? ›

The best time to water your grass seed is early in the morning or after the sun has begun to go down. Watering when the sun is directly overhead is counterproductive and on a very hot bright day not only can be wasteful, as water evaporates faster in heat, but can actually be harmful.

What temperature is too hot to water grass? ›

Avoid watering grass on a hot afternoon when it's 95 degrees or higher. The best time to water grass is at dawn or in the early evening. Water deeply three times a week instead of a little water daily.

How often should you water in 100 degree weather? ›

During really hot weather, water your vegetables at least two to three times a week. Watering the garden deeply is critical. The water must go down, down, down to encourage deep roots and get away from the hot soil surface.

How often should you water in 90 degree weather? ›

During extremely hot weather (daytime temperatures above 90F and nighttime temperatures above 70F), try to water daily or every other day.

How do you water grass in 100 degree weather? ›

Use a soaker hose

This is probably the best thing to do for water conservation in the extreme heat! When it is 100+ degrees and it hasn't rained for months, it can be hard to keep the lawn alive without a really high water bill. If you are on water restrictions, you don't have an option anyways.

How long should you water your grass in the summertime? ›

For how long should I water my lawn during the summer? Typically, most lawn irrigation periods during the summer should last between 25–30 minutes each.

What time of day should I water my grass in hot summer? ›

Watering early in the morning is important when it comes to keeping your lawn hydrated. The best time to water is 6:00 AM to 10:00 AM which allows the grass and soil to properly soak in the water. On the hottest days, try to mow even earlier—before the dew dries.

Should you water grass seed in the heat of the day? ›

Water in the early morning and late afternoon, before and after the worst heat of the day. This will allow the water to seep into the soil before evaporating and also helps to conserve water. Avoid watering at night because the water will sit on the grass for too long and promote the growth of mold.

How do you keep grass seed moist in hot weather? ›

Once your grass seed is planted, the top inch of soil should be kept consistently moist but not soggy for the first 2 to 3 weeks. This means misting the seeded area with water daily, or more if needed. If the weather is hot and dry, you will need to mist more frequently.

What is the best time to water the grass? ›

Watering in the morning (before 10 a.m.) is the best time for your lawn; it's cooler and winds tend to be calmer so water can soak into the soil and be absorbed by the grass roots before it can evaporate.

At what temperature should I not water my grass? ›

Most lawn experts recommend watering your grass until the soil or ground temperature reaches the 40-degree Fahrenheit mark.

Is it okay to water your grass in 80 degree weather? ›

As a general rule, it is ideal for watering a lawn in hot weather infrequently yet thoroughly instead of lightly misting at various times of the day. You must water your lawn in hot weather at least three times per week, as long as you soak the soil to a depth of at least 6 to 8 inches.

Is 15 minutes long enough to water grass? ›

Watering the grass every single day for 15 minutes.

This turns grass into a shallow-rooted, water-guzzling lawn needing its daily gulp just to soldier on. Instead of watering shallowly every day for 15 minutes, water deeply once a week for an hour or so (or however long it takes to apply an inch of water).

Is it OK to water grass at noon? ›

Watering in the midday or afternoon can lead to wasteful evaporation, as the sun is at its highest point and the temperature is at its warmest. This means that the water is more likely to evaporate before it can be absorbed by the grass.

What is the best time to run sprinklers? ›

To water well, timing is everything. Water in the early morning – between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. Midday watering leads to wasteful evaporation, while nighttime watering causes droplets to cling to grass overnight, increasing the chance of lawn diseases.

How long do you water for deep watering? ›

Start by turning on the sprinklers for 15 minutes, then come check to see if you are noticing runoff. If water is running off, that means the soil needs time to absorb the water. Turn off the water for 40 minutes or even an hour to let the water soak in, then water for another 15 minutes or until you see runoff.

How often should I water my grass in high heat? ›

In times of extreme heat, it is vital to water your lawn for about 30 to 45 minutes daily. Once the temperatures drop below ninety, you can cut back to watering three to four times a week, until that blissful thunderstorm comes and quenches your lawn's thirst!

How often should you water during heat wave? ›

Use a soaker hose or sprinkler for 30-60 minutes at a time. During normal summer temperatures, this type of watering can happen every 2-3 weeks. In times of extreme heat, 1-2 times each week may be necessary.

Should I water my lawn every day? ›

Watering on a daily basis is not beneficial to your lawn. Too much water can be just as damaging to plants as too little water and the excessive irrigation will invite future disease problems. Dry soil is an indicator that the lawn needs more water. If the soil is dry, it is dehydrated and needs water.

When it's 100 outside should I water my grass twice a day? ›

To correctly water your lawn look at a thermometer outside. If it's 70-80 degrees outside try watering 2-3 times a week. During the spring your lawn will be fairly easy to manage so you don't have to water all the time. In the blazing summer, when temperatures are between 90-100+, try watering 3-4 times a week.

How long to run sprinkler for 1 inch of water? ›

How to measure your sprinklers' water use:
Average water depth in inches after 15 minutes=Total time needed to water 1 inch
1/4" (0.25")=60
1/2" (0.5")=30
3/4" (0.75")=20
1 more row

Can grass survive in 100 degree weather? ›

Grass generally stops growing once temperatures drop to below the range of 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit or reach above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Since soil takes longer than air to lose and retain heat, it will take a period of a least a few days for a temperature change to impact the growth of grass.

Is it better to water grass at night or in the morning during summer? ›

Early in the morning is the best time to water grass.

Water is less likely to evaporate in morning's lower light and temperature, so you waste less. If you get the job done at dawn, you're giving the water a greater chance of reaching the roots and being fully utilized. So set those sprinklers accordingly.

Is an hour too long to water grass? ›

A related question is how often to water your lawn. You do not have to provide the required 1 inch per week all at once. Instead, you can water for 30 minutes twice a week. But some experts advise against extending irrigation sessions beyond that (for example, watering for 20 minutes three different times a week).

How long should you not water grass after rain? ›

Rainy weather is upon us, which makes it a great time to turn off your irrigation system. Watering your plants is not necessary when nature is doing it for you. It's also not necessary for at least two days after it rains, and often for much longer.

Will grass seed grow if it's too hot? ›

Once temperatures reach 77 degrees, it becomes too hot for root growth, and root growth ceases. When temperatures reach 90 degrees, it becomes too hot for shoot growth and the grasses stop growing and begin to fall dormant, with the surface grass turning a brown hue.

Should you let grass grow longer in heat? ›

Keeping grass a little longer in the heat of summer helps,” explains Williams. “The roots extend deeper into the earth, keeping weeds from coming up and competing for water. And because the turf is denser, it requires less water.” Williams recommends a blade height of about 4 inches during the summer months.

What happens if I miss a day of watering grass seed? ›

What Will Happen if You Miss a Day of Watering Your Grass Seed? If you miss a day of watering your grass seed, there is no great harm done. Missing a day of watering the grass seed should be fine, but two or more days of missing it and having no rainfall might kill your seeds, which will require you to start over.

How do I revive my grass in summer heat? ›

All you need is a good rake to help remove the dead grass and shift the ground beneath it. Once you are done, reseed your lawn evenly using a lawn roller. However, make sure you maintain your lawn's moist soil using fertilizer.

How do you revive grass in heat? ›

Water the entire lawn; give it a deep watering so the water has been soaked at least six inches deep. Have your lawn dethatched, followed by core aeration. Both of these can be done by you, however, a professional will do the best job.

Can you water your grass too much? ›

Overwatering can have some serious consequences for your lawn. First, it can cause the roots of your plants to rot, which will kill them. Additionally, overwatering can cause your lawn to become very wet and muddy, which will make it difficult for it to breathe. This can lead to the grass dying as well.

Should you water grass after mowing? ›

You should water it after mowing when the soil feels dry and the grass needs hydration, as soon as possible after mowing. As your grass is freshly mowed, it needs to be watered to gain strength again and grow in a healthy way.

What temperature kills grass seed? ›

If you're wondering how cold is too cold for grass seed germination use our rule of thumb and check the weather reports. If the daytime temperature is below 60°F then soil temperature is below 50°F, making it too cold; if there is frost or still a danger of frost, then it's too cold.

Is 85 degrees too hot to water the lawn? ›

The ideal temperature range for watering grass is between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything higher than that runs the risk of causing too much evaporation of the water, causing your grass to dry and possibly become discolored. Additionally, if the water is too hot, it can damage the roots of the grass.

Is dew enough to water grass? ›

François explains, "Dew is not enough by itself to keep plants alive long term, but during periods of drought these secondary processes become more relevant. Dew may help some species survive drought conditions." Dew reduces water stress for plants by three main processes.

Can grass go 2 weeks without water? ›

In general, grass can go up to six weeks without water, depending on the condition of the lawn, soil and other environmental factors. It takes about two weeks of adequate moisture to revive dormant lawns.

Is it better to water grass once or twice a day? ›

Uniformly applying water helps the soil absorb the water at its own pace. Watering every day is not advised. It should be done 2 to 3 times per week only to prevent a shallow root system. If possible, water during the early morning hours to ensure that the lawn dries entirely before nightfall.

How long does it take to water a lawn 1 inch? ›

How long does it take a sprinkler to water 1 inch? This will depend on your individual lawn, but typically it takes about 30 minutes.

Is 90 degrees too hot to mow? ›

what temperature is “too hot” to mow grass. When temperatures go beyond 80°F, your cool-season grass may begin to struggle. And when high temperatures last for extended periods of time, it can cause your grass' growth to slow down and its vibrant green color to fade.

Will watering dead grass bring it back? ›

It's a common misconception that watering dead grass will bring it back to life. The truth is, when you water dead grass, it can actually make the situation worse. It can cause the roots in the ground to rot and decompose faster than they would if left alone.

How often should I water my heat stressed lawn? ›

Water deeply and infrequently (2-3 times per week). Morning watering is highly recommended, as afternoon watering can lead to early evaporation, while night watering can cause various forms of turf disease. Refrain from mowing too low.

How long can grass go without water in the summer? ›

In general, grass can go up to six weeks without water, depending on the condition of the lawn, soil and other environmental factors. It takes about two weeks of adequate moisture to revive dormant lawns.

Is it better to keep grass long or short in summer? ›

Keeping grass a little longer in the heat of summer helps,” explains Williams. “The roots extend deeper into the earth, keeping weeds from coming up and competing for water. And because the turf is denser, it requires less water.” Williams recommends a blade height of about 4 inches during the summer months.

What temperature should you not cut grass? ›

Generally speaking, if it is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, it is still considered to be too cold to mow your lawn. The ideal temperatures to mow are between 50 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

When should you not cut grass? ›

If the grass is too wet, you shouldn't mow and if it's too dry you shouldn't either. Remember, mowing is a stressful event for your lawn. If you mow when it's already under stress, such as during dry spell or drought, then it will become even more stressed.

Can brown grass turn green again? ›

Yes, brown grass can become green again.

However, brown grass does not necessarily mean the lawn is dying.

What is the fastest way to fix dead grass? ›

There is no way to revive dead grass, but you can lay new sod to grow your landscape again from scratch. If you notice brown, bare, or thinning areas in your lawn, these are clear signs that you need to sow new seed or replace the sod.

How do I get my burnt grass green again? ›

Add nitrogen and fertilizer

This method tends to be most effective for smaller areas of severely impacted grass. If you have a very large bare space, you might be better off reseeding. You can find a nitrogen fertilizer suitable for your sun-scorched grass at your local lawn care store.

What does heat stressed grass look like? ›

As the heat starts to put stress on your lawn you may notice full brown blades of grass or grass with brown tips. They may have begun to curl. This can turn into brown patches which can have a severe impact on your lawn. Often this is due to improper watering to keep your lawn healthy.

Why is my grass dying in extreme heat? ›

Heat stress occurs when the heat gets intense or long, and the grass begins to dry and die because it can't get enough water. Grass dying in summer heat can happen to all types of grasses, but some are more susceptible than others. Cool season grasses are especially prone to disease and wilting in the summer heat.


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