Can You Overwater Grass?

Yes, you can overwater grass. Overwatering occurs when too much water is applied all at once to a lawn regularly via heavy rain or a sprinkler. Too much water damages the grass’ root system, depriving the grass of oxygen and nutrients.

The main reason why lawns are typically overwatered is because people think that if a little water is good, more water is even better. Too much water does more harm to your grass than good.

The Irrigreen Smart Sprinkler System prevent automatically prevent this problem.

Illustration of overwatering grass

What Are the Problems Caused by Overwatering Grass?

The two main problems caused by overwatering is that the grass drowns and develops a shallow root system.

The primary issue with overwatering is that the grass, in essence, drowns.

When the soil becomes completely saturated, water molecules push the oxygen out of the pore space between the soil particles. When no oxygen is in the soil, the roots can’t absorb oxygen as needed for cellular respiration.

When there is no oxygen for cellular respiration, the grass can’t break down glucose from photosynthesis into the energy it uses for cellular processes.

Overwatering also causes grass to develop a shallow root system, which makes it susceptible to drought and heat stress. Ideally, you want roots to grow deep down into the soil, where they can access more moisture and nutrients.

What Are the Symptoms of an Overwatered Lawn?

1. You See Discolored or Pale Grass

Your lawn should be a lush, deep green color. If it looks yellow, pale green, or brown, there’s a high likelihood the grass is getting too much water.

2. The Soil Feels Soggy

Overwatered soil typically feels spongy and mushy, especially as you walk across it. To check if the ground is holding too much water, dig your fingers into the top of the soil and gently squeeze it. If water squishes out, there’s too much water.

3. Your Lawn Develops Excess Thatch

Over time, a layer of dead and living grass, roots, or other plant material known as thatch often builds up on the soil surface. But when the thatch layer becomes overly thick, it can signify overwatering.

4. Your Lawn Develops Excessive Weeds

Stressed grass and soggy, overwatered soil are optimum conditions for weeds. If you have a thriving weed problem in your lawn, it could hint at overwatering.

5. Fungal Problems Develop

Many fungal diseases love wet soil and humid conditions, including powdery mildew, dollar spot, and brown patch. If you start seeing any of them on your lawn, it could be a sign of overwatering.

6. Unusual Bug Infestations Occur

Insects are also drawn to soggy soils and areas of high humidity. If you notice many spiders, chinch bugs, or ants when you don’t usually have problems, it may be due to overwatering.

7. Your Lawn Develops Thinning Grass

If the roots don’t access oxygen and nutrients, the grass will look sparse and thin. So, thinning patches indicate you’re giving your lawn too much water.

8. Your Lawn Has Water Runoff

Runoff is also a sure sign that your lawn is getting too much water and the soil can’t absorb additional moisture. There simply isn’t any room in the soil for more water.

How to Fix Overwatered Grass

How you fix an overwatered lawn depends on whether you use a sprinkler system.

If you’re using a sprinkler system, you first want to run an audit on it.

Step 1 - Check to see that you’re applying the right amount your grass needs and not an excessively high amount.

Step 2 - You want to water deeply and infrequently. Limit watering to two or three times a week max, splitting up the weekly requirement evenly.

Step 3 - Allow the soil to dry between irrigation events. You need to give the soil enough time to dry in between your lawn irrigation sessions.

How Much Water Does a Lawn Need?

The exact amount of water your lawn needs depends on the type of grass you’re growing.

  • Cool-season grasses grown in northern climates—such as Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and tall and fine fescue—generally need about 1” of water weekly. Ideally, you want to evenly split this weekly requirement into two or three watering events.
  • Warm-season grasses that usually grow in southern climates need less water than their cool-season counterparts. Most warm-season turfs need three-quarters to an inch weekly. These grasses—Zoysia, Bahia, Centipedegrass, Bermuda—tend to develop deeper root systems, so you can water them one to two times a week.
Back to blog