Your lawn needs a certain amount of water to thrive and grow. Rainfall provides most of the natural needs of the grass and you can supplement that by watering the lawn. But when you combine rainfall with manual watering or an irrigation system is it possible to over-water your lawn? Could too much water damage your grass?
Results of Too Much Water
Grass, much like any other plant that thrives in soil, will not take well to soaked roots and constant water. When the roots are wet they have less access to oxygen, which is also necessary for growth and health. With too much water you will essentially be drowning your grass, hindering growth and creating the ideal environment for rot.
Continuously damp conditions also invite disease and other pests to your grass. This type of condition is a prime spot for bacteria growth and attracts other nasty elements that will damage the grass, stunt growth and could even kill the plants. The lawn needs adequate air circulation to thrive and soaking it with water eliminates that.
Soil can also be washed away with excessive watering. When the soil is eroded the grass will begin to brown and wilt, partially due to exposure and partially because the soil contains the necessary nutrients for good grass health. Without it the plant starves.
Other Problems Beyond the Yard
Over-watering your grass also contributes to problems outside of your property. Since the soil is saturated and unable to absorb the water being applied, too much water on the grass will result in increased run-off. This run-off will spill into the streets and then into the storm sewers, eventually ending up in rivers and streams nearby. Environmental problems can be a direct result of this condition.
Water run-off can also damage other landscaping features such as driveways and walkways. Since water finds the path of least resistance, your paving and other landscaping elements may be damaged by constant pressure and erosion. Depending on the drainage on your property, excess lawn watering could even cause damage in your home through minor basement flooding.
How Much Is Too Much?
Your lawn needs an average of 1” of water each week. Slightly more than that will not cause an issue. The problem occurs when the ground is saturated by constant rainfall and more water is applied (manually, through a sprinkler system or by additional rainfall). The water within the soil is soaking the roots and the additional water becomes run-off.
Watering the proper way, at the proper time and applying the proper amount is the best way to a healthy lawn. Over-watering is a very real threat that could leave you without a grassy yard in a fairly short period of time.