The Best Time to Run Irrigation for Grass & Landscaping in Florida

Posted by Joe Mouad on Apr 8, 2020 7:38:23 AM

Is there a best time of day to run your irrigation system?

As long as your lawn and plants get enough water, does it matter?

It does.

Here in Orlando, Orange County sets the lawn watering rules, and we’ll talk about those. But within those restrictions, there are some helpful tips.

What’s the Best Time to Run Your Sprinkler System? 

Water between midnight and 4 a.m.

That’s when your lawn and landscaping can best absorb the water, and it will saturate well.

If you wait until the sun is shining, much of that precious water will evaporate, and be wasted. You’ll basically be watering the air. 

How Long to Run Your Irrigation System? 

Here at Ground Source, we recommend 3/4 inch of water per zone, both for your lawn and your planting beds. (If your beds are planted with drought-tolerant plants, they’ll need less water than the rest of your yard.)  lawn with irrigation system in Florida

How long does it take to deliver 3/4 inch of water?

It depends on the type of irrigation head. You could stand out in the middle of your yard with a cup and a ruler. Better yet, follow our rule of thumb: 

  • Spray heads: 30 minutes
  • Rotors: 50-60 minutes
  • MP rotors: 1-2 hours
  • Drip irrigation: 1.5 to 2 hours

How Often to Water?

Mandatory lawn watering restrictions in Orange County specify the days when you can water. 

These days depend on whether you have an odd or even-numbered address, and the time of year.

March 8 through October 31, 2020:

  • Homes with odd-numbered addresses water Wednesday and Saturday.
  • Homes with even-numbered addresses water Thursday and Sunday.
  • Non-residential properties water Tuesday and Friday.

November 1 through March 13, 2021:

  • Odd-numbered addresses water Saturday. 
  • Even-numbered addresses water Sunday. 
  • Non-residential properties water Tuesday. 

Other Orange County Irrigation Rules

  • Water only if necessary and not between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. 
  • Water for no more than one hour per zone.

There are exceptions for new sod and landscaping:

  • Residents are allowed to water new sod or landscaping on any day at any time for the initial 30 days after installation, and then every other day for the next 30 days. 
  • Watering is limited to the amount necessary for the sod or landscape to become established. 
  • This exception applies only on those specific areas where the new sod or landscaping is located.

How Long to Run My Irrigation System: Don’t Water Too Little

We know it can be tempting to water as little as possible. Nobody loves big water bills.

irrigation head spraying lawn in Florida

But if you’re setting your irrigation system for a quick 10 minutes, you could be doing more harm than good.


  • If your lawn doesn’t get enough water, it will turn brown and die. Then you’ve lost your entire investment.
  • Chinch bugs love dry grass. You won’t love them. The rude little bugs with the white stripe will kill patches of grass or your lawn. They especially love St. Augustine and Zoysia grasses.
  • Water too little, and your turf’s roots will stay close to the surface. Shallow roots aren’t healthy. Water deeply, less often, and your lawn’s roots will grow deeper and stronger.

Don’t Water Too Much

Yes, your lawn and landscaping love water. But there can be too much of a good thing.

  • If you water too much, you invite pests and diseases.
  • Over-watering encourages thatch, a layer of partially decomposed plant material that forms a dense mat between your lawn and the soil. Thatch prevents water and oxygen from reaching your lawn’s roots.
  • Too much watering also encourages brown patch, a lawn fungus that thrives when your lawn is wet and the weather is hot and humid. It appears as irregular brownish-yellow circular patches in the lawn from six inches to several feet in diameter.

Adjust Watering with the Seasons and the Weather

How long to run your irrigation system in Orlando? The answer changes, depending on the season, and the weather.

In December, for instance, most Orlando lawns only need irrigation one day a week.

Summer months obviously require more water. But if your lawn is in the shade, and it’s a rainy week, you won’t need to water as much.

Too Complicated? Switch to Smart Irrigation

Chances are, you have better things to do than puzzle over how much water your lawn and landscaping needs every month. Who needs this kind of hassle? You have burgers to grill.

Let a smart irrigation system handle the watering schedule for you.

Then you can relax, knowing your controller is watering your property accurately and precisely, based on your property’s specific needs.

A smart irrigation system will save you from wasting water, too. Here in Central Florida, with a year-round growing season, water waste here and there can add up to a significant cost in your water bill.

Best Time to Run Your Irrigation System: First, Be Sure It's Working 

Don’t feel bad if you panic when you realize your sprinkler system isn’t working. We get it. 

Here in Central Florida, that’s a real emergency that needs quick attention.

It doesn’t take long for a healthy green lawn or landscape to turn brown and die without enough water.

That’s why proper maintenance year-round is crucial.

irrigation sprinkler head

Valves leak. Heads get clogged or broken. Your controller might be set all wrong for the season.

An irrigation technician checks for all of these things, and more, including testing each zone to make sure it’s working properly and no areas are too wet or too dry.

And they’ll catch any potential problems before they turn into big, expensive repairs. 

Trust Your Irrigation System to Ground Source

Are you watering too little? Watering too much? Wasting water? Is your lawn at risk?

Figuring out the best time to run your sprinkler system in Central Florida can be complicated.

Stop stressing and give us a call. 

Our skilled technicians can quickly diagnose any problems, get your sprinkler system running on schedule, and equip your system with upgrades to help you manage all this timing so you can relax and enjoy your yard.

We’re irrigation experts, but our skills don’t stop there. 

We’re with you every step of the way as you plan your perfect outdoor space.

Sod, irrigation, landscape design: Let us transform your yard from an embarrassing eyesore to a place you spend every spare minute.

Are you ready to enjoy the vibrant, impressive yard you've always wanted? Request a quote today! We’ll help you review your options and then transform your property.

Request a Quote

6 Months Special Financing Available

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