Does watering grass in the sun burn it? Lawn care experts debunk the myth

How to keep lawn looking healthy and fresh during a heat wave

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As extreme high temperatures set in across parts of the US, you may be concerned about how to keep your yard healthy through the summer months. One of the biggest challenges during extreme heat? Keeping your grass looking green and luscious.

When it comes to maintaining a healthy lawn, it's not only important to know when to water your grass but also in what conditions. You may have already discovered that it isn't necessary to water a lawn after mowing, but the rising temperatures may leave you wondering if watering your grass during extreme hot weather is a good idea.

We asked the lawn care experts whether giving your lawn a drink during a heat wave will cause it to burn. Here's everything you need to know about properly hydrating your grass this summer.

Watering grass

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Should you water grass during hot weather?

Knowing how to water your plants correctly can make all the difference in keeping your garden happy this summer. You might be concerned about maintaining the appearance of your lawn in extreme heat, but achieving a green carpet in the hotter months is easier than you may think.

Does watering grass in the sun burn it?

Summer garden

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The first thing to know about watering your lawn in extreme heat is that it won't cause your grass to burn. Experts note that in natural habitats, it's normal for grass to experience periods of rainfall shortly followed by heat.

'I don’t know where this myth began, but consider this: it rains every afternoon in Florida for at least a few minutes, followed by plenty of sunshine later in the day,' says Craig Elworthy, founder of Lawnbright. 'If that were true, the entire state would be a wasteland of burned out lawns,' he adds.

While you may think that saturated grass blades sitting under high heat could scorch your lawn, this isn't the case. However, you might notice your lawn discoloring during the summer months as a result of problems like lawn rust or summer patch, as well as dehydration.

In fact, watering your grass is essential during hot periods to keep it looking its best. 'A proper care regime will help your lawn thrive in any season. This involves regular mowing, feeding and watering if there isn't enough rainfall,' notes Craig.

Craig Elworthy
Craig Elworthy

Craig is the Founder at Lawnbright, a lawn care subscription service featuring all natural products that are safe for kids and pets. Craig advises on lawn care, natural lawns and other similar topics.

Water your grass at cooler times of the day

sprinkler on a lawn

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It's important to know when to water plants to ensure they don't become dehydrated or oversaturated. For grass, hot weather is exactly when watering is needed most. However, experts say there is a method to ensuring you save water in your yard and water more efficiently.

'Preparing your garden early by watering deeply one to two days before the onset of a heat wave to lower the air and soil temperature around the plants as well as provide much-needed moisture is key,' says Daniel Eginton, garden expert and landscape architect.

Soil health can be a big part of water retention. It's important to have a soil type that holds onto moisture efficiently while also draining well to stop plants suffering from root rot. You can use this soil test kit from Amazon to find out more about your soil health.

You should also identify the coolest parts of the day in your area to water your lawn, as this gives the soil a better chance of absorbing the moisture.

'Watering your lawn at night or in the morning is ideal because the most extreme sun has passed. This means that the water you apply to your grass is more likely to get into the root zone and be accessible to the grass as opposed to evaporating in the hot summer heat,' says Craig.

Daniel Eginton
Daniel Eginton

Daniel Eginton is the founder and principal of DELA (Daniel Eginton Landscape Architecture) Daniel began his career on Long Island New York. At age 17, Daniel was introduced to a Landscape Architect in Middle Island, New York, where he fell in love with the idea of designing beautiful outdoor spaces. Daniel graduated from the University of New York with a degree in Ornamental Horticulture in 1990 and graduated from the University of Georgia’s Environmental Design School in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture.

Water your grass deeply, not frequently

lawn sprinkler spraying water on a lawn

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You might also want to leave your sprinkler on for longer during hotter weather to encourage deeper rather than more frequent watering.

'If you water very often the grass doesn't develop a robust root system as it knows water is readily available at the surface,' says Craig. 'Watering less often but more thoroughly and for longer is more natural for the lawn and can encourage the grass to search for water, producing a more robust root system and improving drought tolerance overall,' he adds.

'Installing efficient drip irrigation systems or efficient spray sprinklers on timers can help reduce water usage compared to large rotating type sprinklers,' Daniel suggests. You can purchase watering tools to help you with this online, like this sprinkler timer from Amazon and this drip irrigation system from Amazon.

This is especially important if you have a drought-tolerant grass for lawn or are creating a drought-tolerant landscaping in your yard.


How do you revive burned grass?

If you have burned grass, it can be difficult to revive - however, it isn't impossible.

'You will need to give it a lot of water, consistently for several days in a row,' says Craig Elworthy, founder of Lawnbright. 'If there’s still several months of summer left, you’re better off waiting until fall when the temperatures are cooler and your lawn is more likely to recover on its own,' he adds.

It can be easier to revive lawn during cooler months, as extreme heat in the middle of summer will dry out any moisture quicker. If you are struggling to get your lawn to a healthy condition again, it can be a good idea to seek professional lawn care help.

In short, watering grass in the sun won't burn it. However, not keeping on top of lawn watering care during hotter weather can lead to dehydration, discoloring and other issues. To make sure you're fully prepared for summer lawn care, read our expert advice on cutting grass in hot weather.

Tenielle Jordison
News Writer (Gardens)

Tenielle is a News Writer in the Gardens team at Homes & Gardens with five years of journalistic experience. She studied BA Journalism, Media and English Literature and MA Magazine Journalism at Cardiff University. Before coming to Homes & Gardens, Tenielle was in the editorial department at the Royal Horticultural Society and worked on The Garden magazine. She is passionate about sustainable living and the role gardening has to play in tackling the effects of climate change. Tenielle is also a houseplant lover who is slowly running out of room for her ever-growing collection. She has experience successfully propagating indoor plants and overcoming common houseplant problems.