How To Tell If Your Lawn Is Underwatered Or Overwatered

And Why Overwatering May Be Worse

We all love green lush lawns. When we see our lawn struggling it is disappointing. In these cases, the first thing we often think is that it must need more water. While is sometimes this is true, that brown looking patch could actually mean you are overwatering. It is a good idea to know which is which.


Wilting is a big sign that a lawn is dry. When a lawn wilts it changes its color from typical green to a slightly blue-grey tint. Closer inspection of the lawn will show that it is limp and will not bounce back if stepped on. Testing for lack of water can be done by probing the soil with a knife or screwdriver in the wilted area and in a green area. More difficult penetration in the wilted area is confirmation of lack of water.

healthy lawn with have blades standing up and a full green color

Usually, certain sections of the lawn will repeatedly show wilting before others. If you see this that means these areas are likely receiving the least water due to poor irrigation, being at the top of a slope or the receiving direct sunlight. To fix this, check for uniform sprinkler coverage by doing a uniformity test.

To measure your uniformity, you will use a bunch of containers on your lawn to check how much water is falling on different sections. The best containers have vertical sides like a straight edged plastic cup.

If the amount varies, especially a lot, then sprinkler adjustment or an additional sprinkler may be necessary. As mentioned before, sloped areas will require shorter more frequent irrigation cycles. Full sun areas should not be on the same zone as larger shady areas.


There are specific signs that can tell you your lawn is being overwater. Overwatering your lawn is actually worse than underwatering because it does more damage. An underwatered lawn will struggle and die. An overwatered lawn will not only kill off the lawn but can ruin the soils underneath. The reason is that the soils that the lawn grows from have to have a good balance of good things (microbes) to fight off the bad things. Overwatering your lawn can kill off the good stuff in the soils allowing the bad stuff to take over. The bad stuff is what then can start to kill off the lawn.

Signs of this are:

Ring Spot Fungus

This is a fungus caused by sever overwatering. The main reason the fungus grows is because overwatering promotes fungus growth and kills the beneficial microbes in the soil, allowing the fungus to take over.

Brown Patch

Brown patch is also a grass disease that is often caused by overwatering. You will see green healthy lawn right next to the brown patches.

Compacted Soils

Compacted soils can also be the result of overwatering. Compacted soils can have thin or dead grass blades. Compacted soils do not provide enough oxygen to the lawn and beneficial microbes in the soils. Resulting in pool lawn health.

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