Watering is only for new plantings that are being established or from collected rainwater


What is this?

This means you don’t water your established lawn, even during the hot, dry summer. However, we do encourage you to properly water a vegetable garden, a newly seeded lawn or newly planted perennials, shrubs and trees. It’s great if you can use water collected in rain barrels rather than from wells or Lake Michigan.

How do I do this?

On My Own

  1. Your lawn will stay greener longer if you simply cut your grass at a generous three inches rather than putting your mower on its shortest setting (One exception – the last mowing of the fall should be a bit shorter). A three-inch setting leads to healthier grass with stronger roots. It will better survive droughts and shade out many weeds, too. Leave clippings on the lawn where they quickly break down and return nutrients to the soil.  
  2. If you feel you simply must water your lawn, please do it deeply in the morning once a week rather than lightly  throughout the summer in the evenings.
    • Deep watering promotes deep roots – use a container such as an empty tuna can and let the sprinkler run until it fills one inch.
    • Regular watering is better than spotty watering because its stressful for a lawn to bounce in and out of dormancy throughout the summer.
    • Morning is better than evening to prevent fungus issues.
  3. If you have an automatic in-ground sprinkler system, explore methods to regulate it. Some folks turn them off during rainy months. Others have experimented with rain sensors with some success.

Hire some help

If you use a landscape service, ask them to follow these same guidelines and, depending on who you use, prepare to hear them protest. If you are looking to hire a lawn care company, check our list of natural lawn care vendors.

Why is this important?

If you limit your outdoor watering to gardens, shrubs and trees – and skip the lawn – you will help to sustain Lake County’s increasingly limited water supplies: Lake Michigan and underground aquifers. This will help to keep our county’s drinking water clean, safe and affordable.

Did you know that watering can make a lawn susceptible to disease, fungal problems and insect damage? For instance, some common beetles prefer to lay their eggs in moist soil.

Lawn grass is generally able to go dormant and then bounce back from the hot, dry conditions of a typical July and August. Because Lake County’s growing population is putting increased demands on our limited water supplies, it’s very helpful when property owners let their lawns go dormant rather than draw down water supplies in order to keep them green. This has particular value during droughts. 

Lake Michigan provides water for roughly 62% of the county’s residents and its withdrawals are regulated and limited. Aquifers of various depths provide water for the remainder of the county. Both resources are limited and shared by a growing population.

Summary of Lake County’s Water Resources


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