7 Signs You’re Watering Too Much

Ever wonder if you might be overwatering your lawn? No need for guesswork. Just step outside and check for these sure signs of too much watering.

In such a case, a high water bill may be the customer’s first clue that something’s amiss in the water department. But here are a few signs to watch for — usually in summer, but any time of year if you’re overwatering:

    If you see cockroaches wandering around shrubs, pots, grasses, and the yard in general, you’ve got a perfect habitat for cockroaches — and that means your yard is as wet as the inside of a sewer pipe. Sound gross?

    Cockroaches thrive on decomposing plant material. So remember, all that extra water is probably building up as thatch and rotting your grass from below. Other insects that benefit from too much water: pillbugs, millipedes and especially fire ants.

    Dollarweed is one of those plants so tenacious it’s created an industry of big-box weed killers for homeowners trying to get rid of it. Fortunately it’s comparatively uncommon in dry San Antonio. Hint: dollarweed requires even more water to look good than St. Augustine — so if your grass is drowning in dollarweed, put down the weedkiller and pick up the sprinkler instructions.
    American robins are a common sight in San Antonio in winter. But by summer the ground dries out, and digging for worms in hard soil isn’t worth sticking around. Yep, robins usually head back north and east in spring. If yours are still here in June, congratulations: you’ve got worms — and some of the wettest soil in town!
    In San Antonio’s wet clays, nutsedge is a sure sign that soil is staying wet and draining poorly. It’s been called the world’s worst weed, spreading easily through mud and loose soils. Locally, it’s extremely common in landscape beds, especially when overwatered.
    Has it been raining? Then look for mushrooms. But if there are still mushrooms in dry summer (or warm winter?) weather, your lawn is probably staying wet and poorly drained; not a good idea, since in addition to mushrooms, some of the most common funguses include take-all-patch and brown patch.
    It’s not just the amount of water you use, it’s where you put it. By some estimates, about a fifth of summer irrigation water is spent watering side yards, AC condensers, toolsheds and garbage cans – and that’s way too much. SAWS offers an irrigation rebate to customers who remove side yard valves. Call 210-704-7283 for details.
    Pools of water are a sure sign the run times are too long on your sprinkler system. If the yard is too steep to hold much water, cycling-and-soaking may be a better method. Remember, your bedding plants typically need less water than grass.

Picture of Brad Wier
Brad Wier
Brad Wier is a SAWS conservation planner. Years in South Texas landscaping and public horticulture gave him a lasting enthusiasm for native plants that don’t die when sprinklers -- and gardeners -- break down. He’d rather save time and water for kayaking and tubing. He is a former kilt model, and hears hummingbirds.
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