With droughts, water shortages, and resulting water bans, homeowners who are environmentally conscious might worry about the amount of water their lawn needs. To strike a balance between growing a lush, green lawn and preventing water waste, it is important to know exactly how much water you should give your lawn. The amount of water your grass needs depends on your soil, the type of grass that you have, and your climate. In some cases, it may make more sense for you to find an alternative to the traditional grass lawn.

The general rule for lawn care is that grass should get one inch of water per week. However, your lawn could need more or less depending on your climate. During the hot summer months, your lawn might need more water. As summer turns to fall and the grass prepares to go dormant, you might need to water less. The best way to tell if your lawn needs water is to perform a soil test. A soil test lets you know if water is saturating the soil deep enough to support a healthy root system, which should be six or eight inches below the surface of the ground. You can purchase a sensor to check your soil, but the easiest way to test it is to push a stiff wire into your lawn in several places. Make sure that you can easily push the wire six or eight inches into the ground. If you can’t, you probably aren’t watering enough.

If you use a traditional sprinkler or a sprinkler system, it can be difficult to know exactly how much water your lawn is getting from the system. Perform a sprinkler test to find out how much water your sprinkler sprays so you can be sure you’re not hurting your lawn by under watering it, or hurting the environment by over watering it. Place equal sized containers around your lawn and let your sprinkler run for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes have passed, measure the amount of water in the containers and you’ll know how much water your lawn is getting. Although the general rule is that your lawn should get one inch of water a week, this varies depending on the make-up of your soil. Loam soils do well with one inch of water. Sandy soils need a little less. A half inch of water would be perfect for them. For soils that contain a lot of clay, one and a half inches of water is best.

By paying attention to the type of soil you have in your yard and focusing on maintaining a healthy root system in your lawn, you will be able to adjust the weekly amount of water you give your lawn. This can help you maintain an enviable yard without wasting water by using more of it than you should.