ATLANTA — ATLANTA – Caring for your lawn the right way means setting your alarm early.

An 11Alive viewer reached out to our Why Guy, wondering why lawn care experts advise watering in the morning rather than the evening when it’s more convenient.

Clint Waltz with the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension says there’s a lot less risk of wasting water early in the morning.

“Watering in the morning hours typically lends to improved water use efficiency,” says Waltz. “By watering during the morning hours more irrigation water makes its way into the soil where it can be taken-up and used by the grass. During the morning hours (between 3:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.) temperatures and winds are lower, allowing applied irrigation water to reach and infiltrate into the soil.”

Watering later in the day could damage your lawn. Diseases thrive in a warm, moist environment. If you water in the evening the moisture will sit all night and won’t “burn off” until the next morning.

That’s like an open invitation to disease.

“The disease pathogens that affect turfgrass are fungi,” says Waltz. “They require favorable environmental conditions and suitable time for infection. For most diseases twelve hours of favorable conditions are needed for disease development and infection. Irrigating during the morning hours reduces the time conditions that are moist enough for disease development.”

Georgia law restricts when you can legally water your lawn.

In order to encourage conservation, the Water Stewardship Act allows watering between 4 in the afternoon and 10 the next morning.

If you want to do it right, set that alarm early and start your watering before the rooster crows.

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