Here’s our philosophy: You’re a farmer if you have a yard.
Caring for a lawn in Florida is not easy— especially in the summer.
Many of our clients specifically ask us how long to water their lawns in the summer because, without fail, they find their grass dying despite “taking good care of it.”
Here’s where the confusion comes in…
My fellow Floridian, one of our region’s most abused cultural practices is overwatering.
And again, this happens even more during the summer.
- May 15 to October 15 in Southwest Florida
- May 25 to October 10 in West Central Florida
Generally speaking, you want to water your lawn anywhere from 1-3 times per week depending on:
- The time of year (see our seasonal watering guide here).
- Your grass type, and
- Your local area
However, what we’ve seen most people do is the typical “set it and forget it” method.
In other words, they set their irrigation system to run for 2x per week for all months of the year and then never touch it again.
But here’s the thing:
Florida has unbearable hear from about June-Augsut. We all know this.
Just because you’re reaching for your water bottle every 10 minutes doesn’t mean your grass needs a hydrating boost, too.
Unsurprisingly, when we tell our clients to water less during the summer, we’re met with confused looks.
When it rains, it pours in Florida. This means your grass is more than likely getting enough hydration on its own during the summer.
How Long Should I Water My Lawn in Summer?
On average, you should water your lawn for 30-40 minutes in the summer.
But that rule of thumb in Florida doesn’t work for every yard. And the set it and forget it method will cost you big time.
Did you know that your sprinkler system should have an automatic rain sensor? If it doesn’t, you’ll need to get one.
This sensor is like giving your lawn an automatic sprinkler “on-demand” water delivery.
Think of it this way: With an automatic rain sensor irrigation system, when it rains, you snore.
In other words, having this sensor makes taking care of your Florida lawn during the summer approximately 99.9% easier (our math might be wrong, mainly because we just made up that statistic).
You won’t have to worry about how long, how often, or how much water your yard’s getting. Your irrigation system will do it for you. But only if you take care of it. These sensors get damaged in the Florida rain and heat.
Check it for regular maintenance, or have someone like this tune it up for you.
Not only will it save you thousands of dollars in yard renovation (overwatering kills hundreds of yards… we’ve seen it), but letting Mother Nature do its job taking care of your backyard helps Mother Nature, too.
In 2017, over-irrigated lawns lost 70 billion gallons of water in California. That’s an actual number. We didn’t make that one up this time.
No wonder why they have so many fires!
Don’t be like California. Don’t over-irrigate your lawn.
How Often To Water Your Tampa Lawn in Summer
If you want an easy number to remember, water your lawn 2 times per week during the summer.
And truthfully, that’s probably too much. Southwest Florida’s Water Management District has a strict 2 times per week watering cap for the Tampa Bay Region.
The reason for these water restrictions is to help conserve water (and to keep you from killing your yard).
On weeks when it rains 3 times per week (or there’s ¾” rainfall), you don’t need to water your lawn at all.
And Finally: How Much Water Should You Use?
In the summer, you want your grass to get ¾” of water every week. Seems simple enough, but how do you even know how much water your lawn is getting?
There are 2 main ways to figure this out:
To calibrate lawn watering:
- Grab a few empty cans (like tuna cans) and scatter them across your lawn.
- Turn on the sprinklers for a set time.
- Measure how much water each can collect.
- Adjust sprinkler time until all cans get similar amounts.
This ensures your lawn gets the right drink every time! Here’s a full tutorial on how to do it.
2. Rain Sensors
As we mentioned earlier, rain sensors are designed to detect rainfall. Then, they’ll trigger an automatic pause in your irrigation system.
Unfortunately, they do not measure or provide information about the exact amount of water your lawn receives. If you want to track how much water your yard is getting, you would need to use a separate method, such as a rain gauge or a soil moisture sensor.
- Rain Gauge: A simple device placed in your yard to collect and measure the amount of rainfall. It can give you an accurate measurement of how much water your lawn has received.
- Soil Moisture Sensor: This is inserted into the ground to measure the moisture content of the soil. It can provide real-time data on whether your lawn needs watering.
These tools can help you monitor and adjust your watering schedule to ensure your lawn gets the right amount of water.
University of Florida Irrigation Checklist
Are you like us and care about people, pets, and the environment? Don’t cause problems with unnecessary irrigation.
Refer to UF’s Irrigation Checklist on ways you can cut down on your water usage (and your water bill):