Watering & Alternative Practices

Watering Practices


Pennsylvania has enough rain that turf grasses don't have to be watered to survive. Healthy lawns go brown during a drought, but quickly turn green when rainfall resumes.

If you choose to water, 1 inch of water will wet the soil to a depth of 4 inches - 6.inches. Place an empty can under the sprinkler to determine when an inch has been applied. If water runs off the lawn before reaching an inch, turn off the sprinkler and wait an hour before resuming.
  • Water deeply and infrequently to encourage deep root growth. Light, frequent watering encourages shallow roots, which increase the risk of disease and stress injury.
  • Water in the morning. Less water is lost through evaporation and transpiration.
  • Don't water at midday or in the evenings. A lawn that remains damp during the night is more prone to disease.

Alternative Landscapes


Consider turf grass alternatives. Increase shrub beds, grow a wildflower meadow, or plant ground covers. They look beautiful, don't need mowing and will help reduce maintenance and yard waste.

The Key Word Is "less"


  • Less Fertilizer
  • Less Water
  • Less Work
  • Less Waste
Recycling clippings back into the lawn is less work than disposing of them as waste. No one has to handle the clippings - not you, your lawn care professional, or the waste management crew. By not trashing grass, you can reduce your mowing time by nearly 40 percent and spend less money on fertilizer and trash bags. You'll be doing your part for the environment by reducing waste.

If you follow these "it's okay 'let it lay'" guidelines, not only will you have a healthy lawn, you'll never have to bag grass clippings again.

Produced by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in cooperation with the Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island Departments of Environmental Protection. 2500-PADEP1714 Rev 6/94

For more information, please email our recycling address.

Department of Environmental Protection Bureau of Land Recycling and Waste Management
Rachel Carson State Office Building
P.O. Box 8472
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8472
Phone: 717-787-7382