When to Water Your Lawn in Panama City

Lawn sprinklers

The best time to water your lawn in Panama City is early in the morning so the sun doesn’t evaporate the moisture before it gets to the grass’s roots. Your lawn should get water two to three days a week during the summer but less frequently during the mild Florida winters.

Water is key to the health and attractiveness of your lawn, and that starts with knowing the best time of day to water, the frequency, and the amount needed to keep it thick and green. We’ll cover all that and more.

Key Takeaways

Watering frequency depends on these variables: Rainfall, the season, type of grass, and soil composition all affect how much water your lawn needs.

Water in the mornings: 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. is optimal. Avoid watering midday; the sun will evaporate much of the moisture before your grass gets what it needs.

Signs of drought: Blades will turn bluish-gray and the grass will lose its elasticity when your lawn is thirsty.

How Often Should You Water Your Panama City Lawn?

When you turn on the sprinkler system, water deeply but not frequently. How often you should water depends upon several things: the weather, the season, the type of grass in your lawn, and your soil composition.

Rainfall

Female's lower part of body in boots while raining
Photo Credit: Adobe Stock

In general, the warm-season grasses in most Florida lawns need an inch to inch and a half of water a week during the hot weather, whether from rainfall or irrigation.

But North Florida’s weather is pretty fickle. We have periods of heavy rain followed by periods of very dry weather, or even drought. This should be your approach for each period:

  • During rainy times, you may not need to irrigate your lawn at all. Let Mother Nature do her thing.
  • When it’s dry, you may need to provide regular supplemental irrigation until the rain returns. The inch to inch and a half of water you provide your lawn during dry periods should be administered two to three days a week.

The Season

Your lawn typically needs more water in the warm-weather months than in the winter for one simple reason: The sun is brutally hot in Panama City in the spring, summer, and early fall, and it can scorch and kill grass that doesn’t get enough water.

In June, July, and August, temperatures average 90 degrees and it rains an average of nine or 10 days a month, or about one third of the time during the hottest period of the year. That means you’ll almost certainly need to provide your lawn some additional water.

We recommend:

  • When the temperature climbs above 80 on a daily basis, be sure your lawn gets an inch of water a week, an inch and a half during the hottest dog days of summer.
  • When the temperature cools off in fall and winter, Panama City lawns don’t need as much water. Reduce irrigation to once a week or not at all, depending on rainfall. Check out this guide of Winter Lawn Care Tips for Florida for more.

Type of Grass

Each variety of warm-season grass has different watering needs.

  • Zoysiagrass tolerates drought very well.   
  • Bermudagrass also tolerates drought but does best with about an inch of water a week. 
  • St. Augustinegrass, like Bermudagrass and Zoysia, does best with an inch of water a week in the summer but can go several weeks or more without water.
  • Centipedegrass doesn’t tolerate drought very well. 
  • Bahiagrass has deep roots that help it survive drought very well once it is established. But it does go dormant in dry conditions as a defense mechanism.

Soil Composition

Farmer holding soil in hands close up. Farmer is checking soil.
Photo Credit: Adobe Stock

The kind of soil in your yard determines how well your lawn retains moisture. 

Clay Soil. On the one end of the spectrum, clay is dense, so water doesn’t seep into the ground and get to the roots of plants as easily as it does with other soils. If your yard has a lot of clay, you may need to water less frequently.

Sandy Soil. On the other end of the spectrum, sandy soils are loose, so water flows through very quickly – sometimes too quickly for grass to make good use of the moisture before it’s gone. If you have sandy soil, you may need to water more frequently. 

Loamy Soil. Loamy soil combines sand’s drainage qualities and clay’s water retention qualities, providing the proper balance for your grass. Lawns with loamy soil need about ½ inch of water twice a week to stay resilient throughout the hot months.

In general, soil in North Florida has more clay than elsewhere in the state, but that doesn’t mean YOUR yard has clay. The best way to tell is to have a soil sample analyzed by the local Extension office. Then, you can plan your watering schedule and perhaps even improve the composition by adding soil amendments.

The Best Time of Day to Water in Panama City

Early morning is the best time of day to water your lawn in Panama City, typically between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. The air is cooler at this time, humidity is lower, and the sun is not yet beating down on your lawn with all its might. 

The closer you get to midday, the more water will be evaporated by the sun’s powerful heat.

If you’re not an early riser, you can also water in the evening, when the sun has started to retreat for the day. Don’t water after dark, however, because water that sits on grass all night can cause fungus to develop in your grass and invite pests.

How to Tell if Your Lawn Needs Water

Having a watering schedule is good, but be flexible. Your grass will tell you if it needs water. Here are some signs:

  • The grass turns yellow, brown, or in some cases blue. This could also be a sign of lawn disease or lawn pests, but it’s an indication that something is wrong.
  • Footprints remain on the grass long after someone has walked on it. This is because dry grass doesn’t spring back as quickly as properly hydrated grass.
  • The grass is dry to the touch.
  • Grass grows slowly or not at all.

Watering Restrictions: When You Can’t Water in Panama City

Panama City does not have permanent watering restrictions. However, because Florida is prone to drought, local or state authorities may occasionally impose watering restrictions on homeowners. These restrictions may limit the number or days you can water, the times of days you can water, and even the precise days you can water.

When restrictions are in place, advisories will be posted on the City of Panama City website or the Suwannee River Water Management District website.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should you run your sprinkler system in Panama City?

You should generally water each zone of your lawn 15 to 30 minutes at a time. 

How often should I water my lawn in Panama City?

Generally, once a week in the winter and two to three times a week in the high heat of summer. But watch your grass for signs that it needs more or less water. Signs of drought include wilting blades, bluish-gray color, and slower recovery from foot traffic.

Do fertilized lawns require more water?

Yes. Applying fertilizer makes the grass grow faster, which also makes it thirstier. Applying fertilizer at the wrong time of year can make your grass use too much water. See our optimal lawn fertilization schedule for Florida to make sure you’re fertilizing at the best time of year.

Expert Lawn Care At Your Fingertips

Achieving a great lawn is a rewarding experience, but getting there takes real work and a fair amount of knowledge about how to water, fertilize, mow, and troubleshoot grass problems. LawnStarter makes it easy. Our pros are experienced, knowledgeable and dependable. And booking a pro couldn’t be easier.

Main Photo Credit: Adobe Stock

Whitney Lehnecker

Whitney Lehnecker

A native of Ohio, Whitney Lehnecker is a career journalist and newspaper designer. She now lives in Central Florida with her husband and two pups, Goose and Bindi.