Watering Your Lawn and Garden: When and How

This article contains information from the City of Toronto.

Knowing when to water, how much to water and for how long is important for a healthy lawn and garden.

If you don't water properly, you might have to spend a lot of time repairing and weeding your lawn. It can also waste water.

Here are some tips to have a healthy green lawn and a beautiful garden.

Watch the Weather

  • Before turning on your sprinkler, ask yourself: Did it rain recently? Is it going to rain in the next few days?
  • Don't worry if your grass turns slightly brown during the summer. Lawns naturally turn colour during hot dry spells - this is when the lawn goes into "dormancy." Lawns quickly recover when cooler and wetter weather returns.

Water in the Morning

  • Don't water midday or you'll lose a lot of water to evaporation.
  • Avoid night watering - leaving grass wet for extended periods of time can promote fungal disease outbreaks in your yard.

Don't Over Water

  • Stop your sprinkler if the water is running off your lawn.
  • Let it soak in - don't apply water faster than your soil can soak it up.
  • If your soil is no longer absorbing water, your lawn might be compacted. Consider aerating your lawn in the spring or fall to allow air, water and nutrients to reach the roots.
  • Newly planted trees and shrubs require deep watering once a week until they are established (usually one season).
  • If you know your soil type, follow these rules of thumb:
    • Sandy soils can't hold much water, apply about 1.5 cm (1/2 inch) of water twice a week.
    • Clay soils are more compacted and need water applied slowly to allow time to soak in, so apply 2.5 cm (1 inch) of water once a week.

Don't Waste Water

  • Fix your leaking garden hose and connections.
  • Water the landscape, not the sidewalk.
  • Use a broom to clean your driveway and sidewalk, not the hose.

More information about watering and natural lawn care is available on the City of Toronto's website.

For More Information

  • Your Local Municipality - Contact your municipality for more information about watering in your area.
  • Canadian Weather - Get weather forecasts, warnings, and information if you want to travel. From Environment Canada.
Last updated: December 7, 2020 4001516