There’s no denying that summer heat in Ontario can get pretty intense and in some cases intolerable for a lot of people. With temperatures ranging from the mid-20s to low 30s (degrees Celsius), many gardeners often make mistakes when it comes to watering their lawns.
You’d think watering your lawn would be as simple as turning on your sprinkler system and letting it run for a few minutes in the morning and in the evening, but there’s more to it than that. There’s actually a science behind how often and how much you should water your lawn. The answer to these questions varies on a regional and grass species basis, but here we offer some general residential lawn maintenance rules of thumb that you should follow.
Does Watering Grass in the Sun Burn It?
The short answer is no, watering your grass in the sun won’t burn it. To understand where this misconception comes from, you have to turn to basic science.
Some people believe that watering your grass in the sun has the potential to burn it because they think that the water droplets on each blade of grass have a magnifying effect that overheats the grass. However, this theory was debunked back in 2010 by Richard Gray, a Science Correspondent at The Telegraph in the UK.
Based on a series of scientific experiments, Gray and his team of scientists found that water droplets on blades of grass evaporated far too quickly in the heat to be able to effectively magnify the rays of the sun and cause any serious damage.
The also article explains that plant burns do happen, but they’re not necessarily caused by wet grass that’s exposed to the heat of the sun. It’s actually more of a chemical reaction caused by over-fertilizing, salt buildup in your water system, miniscule amounts of chlorine, and exposure to acid rain or other pollutants that can lead to burnt grass.
What’s the Best Time of Day to Water Your Grass in the Summertime?
The time of day you water your grass also makes a big difference in its overall healthiness and survival.
Ideally, you should try to water your grass early in the morning—preferably before 10:00 a.m. to give it a chance to thoroughly absorb the water and ensure adequate hydration throughout the day. Since there’s very minimal sunlight and wind blowing in the morning (unless there’s a storm happening), the water droplets are less likely to get blown away or evaporate too quickly.
On hotter days, your grass needs slightly more hydration, so you should opt to water it mid-day to prevent it from drying out. But you should only do so when it’s absolutely necessary because the wind and sunlight factors tend to pick up by mid-day.
If you forget or don’t have time to water your lawn in the morning, then the next best time of day to do so is the late afternoon. By this time, the wind and sunlight have died down a little so once again, you don’t have to worry about the water droplets evaporating too quickly.
Avoid nighttime watering at all costs. Small organisms such as fungi and mildew that are attracted to healthy grass tend to flourish more in the dark. Although some species of fungi are actually good for your grass, they’re not necessarily aesthetically appealing and can get out of control fairly quickly.
How Often Should You Water Your Grass in the Summer?
Grass should be watered approximately 2 to 3 times per week to avoid over-hydration. Of course, the frequency with which you water your lawn also depends on several factors including grass species, climate, and how much rain is in the forecast for the week. Obviously, if the forecast calls for rain on a particular day, then you can abstain from watering the grass.
During the particularly hot periods of the season, however, your grass may require extra watering, so use your best judgment. When it comes to effective summer lawn care, a good rule of thumb to go by is how easily your grass becomes matted down. If you walk across your grass and you see footprints, then that means your grass is too dry and needs more water. Grass that’s under what’s known as “drought stress” or dehydrated typically changes from a healthy bright green colour to a bluish-gray hue. Another signifier of drought stress is when your grass blades begin to curl up and wilt, making it look lifeless rather than vibrant.
Harmful Lawn Watering Tricks to Avoid
There are a lot of misconceptions about how to administer proper lawn maintenance in the summer. The worst thing you can do is water your lawn too much, not enough, or during the wrong time of day. We’ve already talked about some well-known lawn watering fallacies. Now let’s talk about some watering tips that you should avoid altogether.
Watering Your Lawn in the Blazing Hot Sun
While the notion that the sun will burn wet grass has been proven to be false, it’s also not ideal to water your grass in the hot sun unless absolutely necessary. Due to the intense heat of the sun, the water droplets will evaporate too quickly to be fully absorbed by your grass roots. That’s why early morning or late afternoon when the weather is a bit cooler are the two best times of the day to water your lawn.
Giving Other Plants the Same Amount of Water as Your Grass
Every plant requires varying amounts of water, sunlight, and nutrition to survive. Giving your flowers, trees, and shrubs the same amount of water as your grass can actually do more harm than good depending on the species. Do some research about how much water each of your plants actually needs so that you can keep them sufficiently hydrated.
Watering Grass Every Single Day
Watering your grass every single day is overkill. Depending on the climate, your grass only needs to be watered two to three times a week. You only have to increase the watering cycle on particularly hot and sunny days to keep the grass from drying out.
Lawn Maintenance in Toronto
For over 25 years, FOREVER GREEN LAWN & LANDSCAPE INC. has been providing high-quality lawn maintenance services in Toronto and the GTA. From routine lawn maintenance such as grass cutting and watering to installing beautiful hardscapes, and revitalizing your outdoor space, we do it all. Book a consultation with one of our lawn care experts today!