Smart Watering Tips

Rain GaugeWhen to Water

  • After 10 a.m., heat and evaporation increase and remove the moisture resulting in less effective watering and wasted effort. Watering at night is not recommended because the lawn stays wet for a longer period which can promote diseases and affect the health of your lawn. Remember, lawn watering is not allowed in Woodbury between noon and 5 p.m. every day, even if it is "your day" to water. For more details, visit the lawn watering policy page.
  • Water only when your lawn needs it, rather than on a set schedule. Here are some helpful tests to see if your grass needs more water:
    • Color - when water is not available for an extended period, the lawn will have a bluish-gray cast.
    • Foot printing - walk across the lawn and if the stepped-on grass does not stand up right away, or is still visible after 30 seconds, it's time to water.
    • Leaf check - during dry periods, grass responds by wilting, rolling, or folding.
  • Water deeply and less often - watering once or twice a week with a good soaking is usually enough to keep a healthy lawn growing. The grass should be allowed to dry between watering which encourages deeper roots. Over-watering grass promotes shallower roots which are less drought-resistant and more prone to winter kill.
  • In general, your lawn needs about 1 inch of water per week, including rainfall, to keep it green during the growing season. Purchase a rain gauge to allow for easy rainfall measurements.
  • Adjust lawn watering to the weather. Following a heavy rain, skip your regular watering day until the grass needs it again according to the amount of rain that fell.
  • Delay regular lawn watering during the first cool weeks of spring and in late fall. This encourages deeper roots and makes your lawn healthier.
  • View tips on managing an irrigation system

Rain BarrelMore Helpful Tips

  • Mow grass to a height of 2 to 3 inches. Taller grass shades the roots and soil surface, which helps the amount of water lost to evaporation.
  • Sprinklers and sprinkler heads that throw large drops in a flat pattern are much more effective than those with fine, high sprays, which can be blown about and evaporated quickly.
  • Don't water your lawn too much by forgetting about manual sprinklers. If you use manual sprinklers, buy timer attachments that hook on between the faucet and hose, or set a kitchen timer to ring in 15 or 20 minutes to remind you to move the sprinkler to a new area.
  • Recycle water by using barrels to collect rain water from gutter downspouts and using this rain water to water landscape vegetation and indoor plants. You can order a rain barrel online at
  • Not all soil is the same. If your grass grows on mostly clay soil, between 1/4 and 1/2 inch of water per hour can be absorbed before it starts running off wastefully. If you have sandy soil, you'll need to water more often and for shorter periods of time.
  • Use root feeder or water-aerator probes around trees and bushes. Even for the biggest trees, you need go no deeper than 18 inches, while 8 to 12 inches is plenty deep for smaller trees and shrubs. The probes get water precisely where it's needed and simultaneously create lots of little holes that provide aeration benefits.
  • If you're thinking about planting a garden, wait until there is rain in the forecast to decrease the need for additional water. This will save time and money and will increase the survival of your new plants.