Watering your yard on a regular basis is important to get a lush green look. It is ideal to water your lawn before a freeze as it moistens the soil and allows it to soak up water more efficiently. It will also hydrate the lawn before the cold weather and helps to prevent frost damage.
This article will explore the top 5 benefits of watering your lawn before a freeze and the best way to do it.
5 Benefits of Watering a Lawn Before a Freeze
Here are the top 5 benefits of watering your lawn before it is scheduled to freeze.
- It keeps the roots well-hydrated.
- It prevents the roots from becoming dormant.
- It allows the roots to live longer.
- It prevents the frost from causing damage to the lawn.
- It keeps the entire lawn much healthier.
Watering the lawn before a freeze prepares the soil to receive the frost and water the lawn more efficiently. Experts agree that until the temperature reaches 40 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s a good idea to continue giving your lawn half an inch of water per week even if it’s cool outside.
Once the temperature gets below 40 degrees, the grass becomes dormant and there is no need to water.
How to Water Your Lawn Before a Freeze
It’s best to water the lawn 24-48 hours before an anticipated frost. This allows the ground to get some moisture, which means the effect of the frost on the grass is lessened quite a bit.
Frost can be brutal, but it’s worse if the ground is dry and doesn’t have any moisture in it. Start early in the morning and wait until the temperature is 40 degrees or higher. You should also never soak the lawn. Try providing it without about a half to one inch of water then stop.
How Long Before a Freeze to Water Your Lawn
Your lawn should be watered 24-48 hours before the freeze. Always start early in the morning to water the lawn. The water will absorb better than it would if you waited until the temperature was very high.
When it’s later in the day and the temperature is high, the water you provide your lawn will be automatically absorbed and therefore, less of the water will get to the roots of the grass and enable it to grow and thrive.
Check out these easy tips for watering your lawn in winter.
At What Temperature Should You Stop Watering your Lawn?
You can keep watering your lawn as the temperatures are dropping, but keep in mind that the cooler it gets, the less water the lawn will need.
Instead of watering the lawn down to around 1.5 inches deep three times a week, you can gradually reduce it to watering it .5 to 1 inch deep 1-2 times per week. When the temperature reaches 40 degrees, take notice and start watering less.
Once it gets to between the low 30s up to around 40 degrees, you can stop watering your grass altogether.
Watering Lawns with Sprinklers Before a Freeze
The main thing you have to remember is that sprinklers need to be “winterized,” which means that before a freeze occurs, they need to be drained of all water so they can be put aside for the next few months.
While you can run sprinklers before a freeze – or use a hose that you’re operating by hand – the sprinklers need to be put away once the temperature reaches freezing, or 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you keep the sprinklers out when the freeze is occurring, it can ruin the sprinkler, which means you’ll have to throw it out and purchase a new one before long.
Watering Lawns After a Freeze
Immediately after a freeze, there is no point in watering your lawn because the frozen water essentially produces a barrier that prevents the water from being soaked into the soil. Once the soil starts to soften up some and get back to normal, you can water it lightly once a week.
The lawn will need .5 to 1 inch of water per week, but keep in mind that this includes rainfall. If it rains one week, you won’t need to water your lawn nearly as much. Once it gets to 32-40 degrees Fahrenheit and you know the grass is dormant, no more watering is needed for a while.
Does Watering Prevent Frost Damage?
Watering does prevent frost damage, mostly because it allows the moisture to evaporate slowly overnight and keeps the soil damper for a longer period of time. This means that when the frost starts to occur, it is more difficult for it to freeze the soil and grass.
Any time your soil is filled with water, it thrives more and is sturdier, which means it can ward off the frost much easier. You need to be careful not to overwater as well. Never let the water develop into pools because this means you’re overwatering and the roots might get ruined.
Why Do Farmers Spray Water Before a Freeze?
Farmers spray water on their crops before a freeze, but only if it is not predicted to rain. Spraying plants with water when it’s expected to freeze later on in the evening can actually prevent frost.
If this isn’t done, there is the possibility that the plants or grass might actually die. This happens because when you water your plants or grass right before it’s supposed to get cold, the water will heat up the plants and keep them warmer and healthier, even as the temperatures start to drop.
Spraying plants with water also insulates the roots, which gives the grass or plants an extra edge to grow and thrive.
Watering your lawn before a freeze is a good idea, but you should water it 24-48 hours before the freeze is expected and only give the lawn a half to one inch of water total. Once the temperatures get to freezing, the grass should become dormant and you can cease watering it for a while.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.