Summer Landscape Watering: How Much is Enough?

As hot weather sets in and homeowners watch their landscapes wither into summer dormancy, many ask: “How much do I need to water my landscape this summer to keep it alive?”

While there is no perfect answer, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is it raining on a regular or semi-regular basis? Normally, a good summer recommendation is to apply ½ to ¾ inch of water to the landscape once per week because the grass/plants are actively producing leaves, stems and roots. However, a slow rainfall of ½ inch or more is enough to delay irrigation for at least one week in the summer. A spot shower, on the other hand, may not be enough to avoid irrigation. Check for the latest weekly watering recommendations.
  2. What is the depth of the soil beneath my landscape? Soil depth is very important in the water needs of plants and grass for summer. Soil at least six inches deep or more will hold moisture longer, requiring less frequent irrigation or need for rainfall. Landscapes with soil less than six inches deep require irrigation or significant rainfall at least once every seven days. Watering slowly and deeply will fill your soil’s “water tank” and allow grass and plants longer access to the water.
  3. What is its field capacity? Shrubs and trees require less water than grasses in summer. If supplemental watering is needed, use a hand-held hose to apply water to individual shrubs and trees as necessary and use sprinklers or rainfall for grasses.
  4. What are the types of plants/grass being watered? The most important thing to remember about lawns in San Antonio is that for the most part, they are biologically able to withstand drought. Bermuda lawns turn brown in the summer and green-up when rains fall and temperatures moderate. Watering lawns once a week will keep them alive and ready for cooler weather.
  5. How much brown in the lawn can I tolerate? Local lawns will brown out and go dormant in the summer in response to heat and decreased rainfall. Watering once per week will keep lawns alive and perhaps not as green as preferred, but the lawn will green up with rainfall.

Lastly, if you’re tired of bothering with the drought’s effects on your landscape, consider one of our landscape or patioscape coupons (when available) to replace turf with more colorful xeric options.

Picture of Nathan Riggs
Nathan Riggs
Nathan Riggs is a SAWS project coordinator and licensed irrigator who also happens to have a degree in entomology from Texas A&M University. Yes, Nathan’s a bug expert, and not just on water bugs! When he’s not hard at work on SAWS conservation projects, he enjoys a wide variety of interests including: landscaping, hiking, photography of flowers, insects and other critters, and planning his next adventure with his wife Ella and family.
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