Lush Lawn Sprinkler

Ever wondered how often you should be watering your lawn? Check out our lawn watering tips.

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Before following our recommendations below, it's best if you know what type of lawn you have. Here's a breakdown of cool and warm climate lawn varieties commonly found in New Zealand.

Click through on the pics if you'd like more details about the individual grass types.

Cool Season Grasses:

Cool season grasses are cold-hardy and ideal for temperate climates. They look best, and put on most of their growth, during autumn and spring. Growth slows down in the winter and the hottest part of summer.

The best time to fertilise cool season lawns is in autumn and spring, while they’re growing vigorously. If the grass is under drought or water stress during summer, it’s best to wait for cooler weather before you fertilise.

Classic cool season varieties include Fine Fescue, Tall Fescue, Perennial Ryegrass and Browntop/Bent (most NZ lawns will be one of these varieties).

Summer watering every 2-3 days
Autumn watering every 4-5 days
Winter watering as required
Spring watering every 4-5 days


Warm Season Grasses: 

The most commonly encountered varieties in NZ are kikuyu and couch. Warm season grasses are more sensitive to cold temperatures than the cool season grasses above. Warm season grasses tend to grow vigorously from late spring, until early autumn. In cold climates, they can go quite dormant in winter.

The best time to feed warm season lawns is when they’re in growth mode, from spring through to autumn. Stop feeding in late autumn, then wait until the lawn has started to show signs of growth before fertilising in spring.

Warm season grasses have deep, extensive root systems, so they tend to be much more drought tolerant than cool season varieties and don’t need as much water.

Summer watering 3-4 days
Autumn watering every 7-10 days
Winter watering as required
Spring watering every 7-10 days


Pro Tips

Try to water your lawns in the early morning, before 10am.  This is the best time to water lawns, as night watering can increase the risk of fungal problems in all lawn types. However, common sense wins, if you can't water in the morning, of course water at night!

Give your lawn longer, but less frequent watering.  Deeply penetrating watering that wets the soil to a considerable depth encourages deep rooting and delivers a more vigorous, higher quality turf.

Don’t give your lawn short frequent waterings.  Short frequent waterings during hot weather will encourage shallow rooting of the lawn grass. This diminishes access to water and nutrients, which makes the lawn more susceptible to weed invasion, fungal diseases and pest damage.

To check if your lawn needs to be watered, tread firmly on the grass. After removing your foot, if the grass doesn't spring back and lays flat, it's an indication your grass needs to be watered.  If the grass springs back, it doesn't need to be watered.

Fertilise lawns 2-3 times a year. This will produce a stronger, healthier root system which will enable lawns to survive under stressful conditions for a lot longer than a lawn that never gets fertilised.

Raise the mowing height for your lawn. An increase in mowing height encourages a deeper root system. The longer leaf also creates better shading of the soil which helps to reduce evaporation.  In summer for cool season grasses, mow at 5cm and for warm season grasses mow at 2-4cm. In winter for cool season grasses, mow at 3cm and for warm season grasses only cut the weeds.

A new lawn will take up to 12 months before it's established a deep enough root system to achieve its maximum drought tolerance.  Your lawn will require more watering during its first summer, to enable it to develop to its fullest drought tolerant potential.

Keep an eye out for pests. Pests like grass grub will feed on and damage your grass roots. This can appear as first wilted patches of grass and while this damage may not be immediately visible during spring and early summer, when the lawn transitions into autumn the damage will turn into obvious bare patches of dead grass. Check out Yates Lawn Grub & Porina Kill + Protect for a solution to this destructive pest.

Check for hydrophobic soils, which can develop after both high or low periods of rainfall. If an area is patchy compared to the rest of your lawn, test it by watering the area thoroughly, then dig a small hole in it. If the hole stays dry while the water seeps into the surrounding area, then it's hydrophobic. An application of gypsum will improve the soils porosity and ability to absorb moisture. This is especially important with heavy clay soils, as they often become hydrophobic in summer. Feeding with Yates Dynamic Lifter Lawn Food will help by adding organic matter and stimulating soil microbes. The improves the soils health and depth, allowing for greater moisture penetration.

Installing a rain gauge or a weather app to track past and future rain can give you some great data to plan your water usage.

Rainwater tanks and irrigation are very worthwhile upgrades if you can manage them.

Follow your local councils water restrictions whenever they occur.

Related Products

Yates Lawn Fertiliser Quarterly

A premium granular lawn food designed to give you a strong, green and healthy lawn. Features both fast-acting and gradually released Nitrogen, to feed for up to 12 weeks.

More Lawn Tips & Advice

Winter lawn care tips

Winter’s an important time for solving lawn problems. If you tackle problems while it's cold, the lawn will be in great shape for the coming summer.

Autumn lawn care tips

Early autumn is a great time of the year to make improvements to the lawn. It’s the perfect season for seeding, laying new turf, feeding and controlling weeds.

Summer lawn care tips

Whether it’s preparing your lawn for the festive season and holidays or helping it recover from backyard games and parties, here are some summer lawn care tips to help create a beautiful lush green lawn.