How Much and How Often To Water Bermuda Grass

Bermuda loves water. Water is probably the easiest way to a strong bermuda lawn. It can be do more for your lawn than any product.

How much water does bermuda grass need?

Bermuda thrives with 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week. Every sprinkler setup is different because the actual amount can vary based on the sprinkler type, water pressure, radius, number of heads, and nozzle settings.

Many assume a typical residential sprinkler system delivers about 1 to 1.5 inches of water per hour. I find that estimate to be incredibly high.

Rainbird sells nozzles that are marked as 3 gallons per minute. I’ll spare you the math, but when distributing 3 gallons of water over a half-circle with a radius of 20 feet, the average depth of water applied would be approximately 0.0077 inches per minute. That’s 0.462 per hour. I did a tuna can test which revealed a similar answer, because my system (builder-grade sprinkler) doesn’t have much head-to-head overlap.

How long to run sprinkler on Bermuda grass?

So depending on if your system waters 0.5 inches per hour or 1.5 inches per hour, you can decide how long to run your sprinklers.

If you want to make an assumption without measuring, I would recommend watering each zone for 3 hours per week.

In the chance your sprinkler system puts out over an inch and hour, the Bermuda will still use the extra water and your lawn will look great. However, if you assume your sprinkler system puts out 1.5 inches per hour so you water it for an hour a week (per zone) and it actually only does 0.5 inches, then you’ll be getting like 0.15 inches per week which will ensure a brown lawn.

To avoid run off, particularly if you have Texas clay soil, you might have a zone that looks like this:

Water Zone 110 minutes
Wait20 minutes
Water Zone 110 minutes
Wait20 minutes
Water Zone 110 minutes
Wait20 minutes
Water Zone 110 minutes
Wait20 minutes
Water Zone 110 minutes
Wait20 minutes
Water Zone 110 minutes
Wait20 minutes

I use a Rachio to automatically program that so it minimizes run off. They’re super cheap and you can swap it out yourself in under an hour with a YouTube video.

How often to water bermuda grass?

I water my lawn based on the season. Again, a Rachio controller will automatically adjust for you based on a number of conditions. If you have a basic/cheaper controller, here’s the logic it uses. Well, technically it uses weather data, but here’s the schedule assuming standard weather:

MonthDescription
MarchTurn on sprinklers. Start running once every 2 weeks if there’s no rain. Be sure to check over system for winter damage.
AprilWater once a week.
MayWater twice a week.
June-AugWater at least twice a week. 3-4 days may be required if there’s no rain. Temperature does not matter, it’s drought that causes summer dormancy in bermuda.
SeptWater once or twice a week.
OctWater once a week if necessary.
Nov-FebTurn off sprinklers and bleed the lines. Watch football.

The table above also changes based on climate and shade. I assumed a sunny Texas yard.

The key is to water deep and infrequent. If you decide you need 2 hours per week per zone, do an hour on Tuesday and an hour on Friday, for example. You want the soil to dry out to avoid fungus problems. You also want to encourage deep root growth for a healthy lawn and you do that by watering deep and infrequent. That’ll also train your lawn to get used deep and infrequent Texas rains, helping you use less water with irrigation.

Best time to water bermuda grass

The best time of day to run sprinkler is early morning. If you water at night, you risk fungus problems. If you water during sunlight, you’re wasting money and need to buy a boat instead. Watering when it’s sunny gives the lawn less time to absorb and it’s competing with evaporation.

Ideally you want the sprinkler schedule to finish at sunrise. That’s the most ideal time to water.

Head-to-head Coverage

Many of us did not plan and design our own irrigation system. If your home is anything like mine, your sprinkler system may lack head-to-head coverage.

Here’s a summer photo of my lawn when I first moved into my house. You can see the arc pattern the rotor covers, as the lawn is quite green and healthy. Close to the rotor in the corner and far from it, the grass is brown and thin. It might look like grubs or other pests, but it is water-related. So adding a head fixed that.

Conclusion

Bermuda grass water requirements are not super complicated, but it does take a mild effort to make sure the lawn is getting over an inch of water per week. If you don’t have any clue what to do, or don’t care too much, you can probably just water your zone for 2-3 hours per week and expect average or above average results.


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