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Water Right This Summer

Continuing our recent series about summer lawn care, this post explores one of the most important fundamentals, watering, in the context of our region’s high temperatures. The real basics of Atlanta-area lawn care are true regardless of the season, but they’re even more important when grass is being stressed by hot, dry conditions.


Although our summers can be punishing, broadly speaking our region’s climate is relatively temperate.  Our rainfall is seasonal and variable, a fact that has important implications.  While the overall amount of water that an Atlanta-area lawn needs remains stable year-round at one inch per week, the amount that a homeowner must provide to supplement rainfall may vary from week to week.  (Of course, if you regularly ensure an inch of water per week and your lawn still appears to be struggling, your particular lawn may need more moisture.  We strongly recommend consulting with a lawn care company before exceeding an inch and a half per week.)

You can track rainfall with a rain gauge or just use an empty cat food or tuna can, which is about an inch deep.  If you water with a hose, the temptation to overwater is ever-present when it’s hot, so it’s important to rely on actual measurements to produce the best results.


Overwatering is a problem because grass roots in saturated soil can’t absorb the amount of oxygen that the plant needs to survive. You probably don’t need us to tell you that your soil is too moist if it’s wet to the touch.  Other signs of overwatering include stems that are soft instead of firm and an increasing population of insects.  Moisture-loving pests tend to enjoy dining on wood as well as grass and may decide to start munching on your shrubs, trees, outdoor furniture, and home.  

The signs of underwatering are more familiar.  Healthy bright green color dulls and eventually becomes gray.  Soil cracks, especially near things that people install, like driveways, sidewalks, and garden borders.  Blades become more fragile and don’t return to their natural positions after being stepped on.

You can regulate the amount of water delivered to various areas of your lawn by installing a sprinkler system; whether your particular situation can justify the expense is a decision only you can make (although a lawn care professional can help).


It’s best to avoiding watering during the hottest hours of the day, because the moisture will just evaporate.  The water will be wasted, and the grass won’t derive any benefits.  Evenings, or, better yet, mornings, are much better.  Evaporation is also the reason why it’s best to water deeply a few times a week, allowing water to soak into soil, than to provide less water daily.  (This is also true if you’re programming an irrigation system.)

If you have questions about watering your lawn or anything else related to lawn care, an experienced lawn service company like Arbor-Nomics can answer them. In addition to weed control, we provide lawn fertilization, outdoor pest control, and much, much more. Our Certified Landscape Specialists are ready to help with all of your lawn service needs.