Since it is starting to get a little bit warmer, this is a good time to talk about how you should water your lawn to keep it healthy and, at the same time, help save water. There are many types of grass for lawns. Each type of grass has a different texture and different water needs.


Types of Grass:

  • Kentucky Blue Grass is a favorite for lawns but is commonly thought of as a grass that requires lots of water to grow well and look nice and green. This isn’t necessarily true, however. It is a fine-textured grass that greens up early in the spring and holds up well to the heat of summer (June-August). It will go dormant if it does not have enough water but it won’t die out. Kentucky Blue Grass hold up well to high traffic so it is a good choice for use in a play area.
Kentucky Blue Grass
Kentucky Blue Grass
  • Buffalo Grass is a fine textured perennial grass native to the Great Plains. It does not green up as early in the spring and turns brown earlier in the fall than many other species. It is very drought-tolerant, however, so it does not need very much water even during the heat of summer. Over-watering will encourage other species like Bermuda grass and other aggressive grasses to invade the lawn and out-compete Buffalo Grass. It is not well suited for high traffic areas or shaded site.
Buffalo Grass
Buffalo Grass


  • Tall Fescue has a coarser texture than Kentucky Blue Grass but has found wide acceptance as a lawn grass. It is well-adapted to a variety of soil and climate conditions and is fairly drought tolerant. It does not recover well from wear so bare areas may be a problem unless it is reseeded.
Tall Fescue
Tall Fescue


    • Fine Fescue is finer textured than Tall Fescue but none of the fescues tolerate wear and tear well. Fine Fescue is very shade tolerant but tends to take on a brown haze if conditions are dry. It grows very slowly so does not require much fertilizer.
    Fine Fescue
    Fine Fescue


    • Frequently, blends of fescues and bluegrass are used for lawns.

    Water Needs:

    • The water needs of each types of grass are different. Kentucky Blue Grass needs 26 inches of water annually, Fescues needs 20 inches of water annually, and Buffalo Grass needs 17 inches of water annually (1).

    How to Water:

    • If you want to have a Kentucky Blue Grass lawn there are ways that you can get it without having to use so much water. One of the best ways that you can have a nice green lawn is by watering your lawn by the “soak and cycle method.” This sounds more complex than it really is.


    • The first step is to water a section of your yard for about five minutes and then turn the hose off and let the water soak into the ground for about ten minutes or so. Then turn the water back on for another five minutes and then back off. Repeat this for your entire lawn. The benefit of watering your lawn this way is that it promotes deep grass roots. This will make your lawn more drought-tolerant because it will have a larger root system to draw moister from. Another benefit in having a deeper root system is that the lawn will out-compete annual weeds that might grow up in the lawn because annual weeds have very shallows root systems.


    • The soak and cycle method of watering can be used for any type of grass. It will greatly reduce the amount of water needed for your lawn. This method can also be used with sprinkler systems it is just a matter of programming the systems.


    Fertilizing of the Lawn

    • The fertilizing of your lawn is also important element in determining how much water it will need. If you fertilize your lawn during the heat of the summer it will grow more and will require more water during that time because it is actively growing. Your lawn will already need more water because of the heat during the summer months so you should choose instead to fertilize your lawn in the fall. Fertilizing in the fall will help to replenish the nutrients that were used up during the active growing season and will give the grass roots a healthy start for winter dormancy. One other key thing to know about fertilizing your lawn is that you can reduce the amount of fertilizer needed if you do not bag up your grass clippings but instead let the clippings stay on the lawn. This gives your lawn back the nutrients within the grass that you cut. You may need to mow your lawn a little more frequently to keep it looking trim, but adding organic matter to it will make for a much healthier lawn.


    Mowing the Lawn

    • Reducing the amount of water that your lawn needs can be affected by how you mow your lawn. The best way is set your lawn mower to the highest setting because this allows the grass more surface areas to photosynthesize and will, therefore, enhance root growth. Mowing your lawn like this keeps weeds from out-competing your grass since weeds do not do well if they are constantly being mowed.



    (1) Whiting, David E. The Science of Gardening. 2006




    1. Calla Schoenecke said,

      April 1, 2008 at 1:16 pm

      This was a very interesting post. There are some very good tips in here. Something I was wondering was why it is called Kentucky Blue Grass. Is there a story behind this or someone just decided to call it Blue Grass?

    2. Marianna Brandt said,

      April 4, 2008 at 12:15 pm

      This is very useful information and interesting too. I am going to try the soak and cycle method when watering since we should all try to conserve water. I know that a lot of my water runs off into the street so I think this would help. I enjoyed the information on the different types of grass too. I have always fertilized my lawn spring, summer and fall so it is good to know when it should be done. Thank you for all of this great information.

    3. Stephanie Wood said,

      April 15, 2008 at 1:08 pm

      Thanks for the tips on lawn watering. I actually didn’t know what the different types of grass were, that’s very interesting. I liked the fertilizing tips too!

    4. Sandy Scheibeler said,

      April 15, 2008 at 1:11 pm

      i thought this was a very informative post. I have always wondered if people use buffalo grass in there home lawns. I have seen it throught my city because it is pretty low maintenance with water.

    5. September 28, 2010 at 8:22 am

      Thanks for providing info and photos of the different grass types available for lawns. Planning out how much time one is able to set aside to care for their lawn would seem to play a part in choosing what to sod once spring hits.

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