If your grass wilts then it is time to water. Wilting is a sign that the grass is under stress and if it isn’t watered soon, it will die.
So how do you spot wilting? The most obvious sign is when the plant collapses, but really, you want to spot it before then.
Four signs of grass wilt
- Grass blades turn bluish-purple.
- Leaves are folded or rolled lengthwise along the blade.
- Footprints remain in the lawn for several hours. If the grass has plenty of water in its leaves then they spring back to their upright shape quickly after someone walks over them.
- Brown off. This is the classic sign.
In most cases when grass turns brown, the grass will be dormant rather than dead. This means that the leaf structure above ground has died but the root is alive. When the grass is watered the dormancy will end and the grass will grow again from the root.
This dormancy is a survival adaptation that helps the grass to survive. A thorough watering every few weeks will keep the grass roots alive.
A guide would be to give Perenial ryegrass 1.5 inches of water when it is actively growing and 1 inch when it is dormant. In contrast, Buffalo grass needs 0.3 inches when it is actively growing and 0.2 inches when it is dormant.
A general rule is to give your lawn one inch of water per week. A more precise rule is to water enough so that the soil is moist to a depth of 6 inches.
Deep and infrequent watering is best for the health of your grass. This ensures the grass grows deep roots which helps it survive drought better.
Over watering isn’t just wasteful, it also stresses the grass.
- The plant will have shorter, less developed roots and is less able to reach down to find nutrients and water.
- Over watered grass will have weaker cell walls which reduces the strength of the leaf.
- Thatch (dead plant material) will build up in your lawn.
- Weeds such as sedges and dollar weed with thrive, competing with your chosen grass variety.
You will find that certain areas of your yard will wilt first. Learn where these areas are and then as soon as you notice those telltale signs of wilting such as the grass turning bluish purple, water the whole yard within one day.
And what do I suggest you use to water your yard?
Read my review of the best walking sprinkler.