How to Spot Over-Watered Grass in Your Lawn

Your lawn needs water to thrive, right? So that means you should water it every day, right?

Actually, no. You shouldn’t be watering it every day.

Too much of a good thing and all that.

Grass plants don’t need and can’t use that much water. When it rains, the porous spaces in the soil underneath your grass is filled with water, which doesn’t leave any space for the oxygen your plants need to survive.

Without oxygen, the roots will suffocate, leaving you with a lawn that has a very shallow root system.

Shallowly rooted plants are easily stressed and susceptible to disease and damage from insects. A minor disease could become a major lawn disaster if your lawn is shallowly rooted, so you need to be careful you’re watering the right amount.

Signs of Overwatering Your Lawn

A healthy lawn should be a little thirsty, always sending its roots deeper into the soil. If you’re overwatering your lawn, the root system will be shallow. The grass doesn’t have to work for its water, but it will be a host of many more problems. The deeper the root system, the healthier and more resilient your lawn will be. 


Thatch is a layer of partially decomposed plant material and shallow roots that form a dense mat on the soil surface. Too much watering prevents the thatch from breaking down naturally, and the shallow roots leads to thatch buildup.

Thatch that is more than ¾ inch thick prevents oxygen from reaching the grass roots and creates a habitat for fungal and insect pests.


Too frequent watering keeps the grass wet and promotes fungal growth. If you’re seeing mushrooms in your yard, you might be overwatering. Irregular brown patches on your lawn might not mean it’s thirsty but that it is infected with anthracnose, which is another fungus that infects wet grass.


Some weeds like smooth crabgrass and yellow nutsedge thrive in areas too wet for healthy grass growth. Pull up the weeds and water less frequently with enough water to moisten the soil 5-8 inches deep.

Insect pests

In a waterlogged lawn, heavy thatch protects insects from insecticides, and they’ll attack your stressed-out lawn. They can create bare patches as they eat the grass blades and cause your grass to die.

Standing water or spongy feel

If the ground feels spongy when you walk on it, it probably has too much water in it. Standing water is also a clear visual sign because the grass isn’t absorbing all of the water you’re giving it.

How to Water Your Lawn Properly

The proper way to water your lawn is very simple: thoroughly but infrequently. Watering deep and infrequently, rather than shallow and often, mimics natural rainfall. One of the most important aspects of watering your lawn is knowing when to water it and how much.

The general rule of thumb is that your grass needs one inch of water a week.

But how do you know if you’re watering it that much?

1. Take the time to get acquainted with your new sprinkler system or lawn. How much water does the sprinkler apply in 30 minutes and how deep in the soil will the water go down?

2. Before turning on the sprinkler, see if the soil is dry to a depth of five inches. You can use a screwdriver or a garden trowel for this. Check several areas of your yard because there are usually differences in the amount of water each zone needs.

3. Then, turn on the sprinkler for 30 minutes.

4. Twelve hours after the watering is long enough to see how deep in the soil the water traveled. Check the areas you looked at earlier and see how deep the soil was watered.

If you want to set your sprinkler system on a schedule so you don’t have to worry about it, a rain sensor will help make sure you aren’t overwatering on rainy days.

You won’t need to water your entire lawn every day, especially if it rains regularly. You can water it any time of day, but it’s best to water it in the early morning so the ground has time to absorb it before the heat of the day evaporates the water.

Once you have your lawn and sprinkler system figured out, you’ll probably end up saving water if you have been overwatering your lawn. It’s a win for your lawn and a win for your wallet.

A brand-new sprinkler system will make it easy for you to maintain your lawn and make sure it’s being watered the right amount. The Pro Outdoor team will help you create zones in your yard so that each area gets the appropriate amount of water. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Ready for the Perfect Lawn? Let's connect!

Schedule Now