A vibrant green lawn can be a big consumer of water, but many people actually overwater their lawns. Knowing how much water your grass really needs can help you conserve water and help your lawn look its best.

A vibrant green lawn can be a big consumer of water, but many people actually overwater their lawns. Knowing how much water your grass really needs can help you conserve water and help your lawn look its best.

If you use an overhead sprinkler system twice weekly or every other day, you’re probably giving your grass too much water. Grass should be watered to a depth of six inches, and an receive about one inch of water per week. An easy way to figure this out is by measuring the water your sprinklers put out.

Place empty cans all over the yard and turn on the sprinklers for 30 minutes, then measure the depth of water in each can. Add up the depth numbers and divide it by the number of cans to figure out the average. Now you know how deep your sprinklers water in 30 minutes.

To ensure your grass is watered deeply enough, stick a length of rebar into the lawn and measure how far it goes down. You’re looking for six inches, so if it falls short of that, turn the sprinklers back on and try again.

Once the depth is correct, set your sprinklers to provide one inch of water to the lawn weekly according to your calculations. For example, if your sprinklers average 1/2 inch of water in 30 minutes, the sprinklers only need to run for 1 hour each week. You can apply this all at once or split it into two days of 30 minutes each. Adjust as needed to factor in rainfall.

Grass will show you when it’s not receiving enough water by turning brown or drying out. Look for these signs to see if you need to boost the sprinkler times, especially in the hottest part of summer when some water will evaporate before soaking into the soil.