How Long To Water Lawn With Oscillating Sprinkler

Oscillating sprinklers can be a gardener’s best friend, but such things often arrive with nothing more than a few operating instructions. Connecting them to a hose and turning on the water is straightforward yet doing this and letting them run can offer too much water to your grass plants and leave your green lawn waterlogged.

How much water does a sprinkler put out, and how long should an oscillating sprinkler be used to water your lawn? Both are questions often asked. The good news, in our guide, we take a deeper look at some helpful guidelines for using a sprinkler to water grass.

While in most cases, you can supply sufficient water in around 15 minutes to each zone of your yard, yet there are factors such as weather, climate, grass type, and sprinkler output.

Water Lawn With Oscillating Sprinkler

These variables combine to determine how often and how long to run sprinkler on most lawns. By the end, you’ll know the maximum coverage of your new sprinkler irrigation system and what watering cycle, you need to follow for the healthiest lawn possible. (Learn How To Turn On Sprinkler System)

How Long Should I Leave Sprinkler On Lawn?

General guidelines for determining how long to use a sprinkler are that grass requires about one inch of water every week between rainfall and frequent watering.

Climate And Weather

For lawn care, you need to consider climate and weather. Because of the lack of regular rainfall in drier areas, lawns require frequent, long watering sessions to be hydrated and healthy.

Meanwhile, lawns in humid and temperate zones may receive consistent rainfall, requiring less sprinkling. But, again, consider the environment and weather when determining how much sprinkler use there should be to avoid over-watering.

Sprinkler Waterflow

Another consideration is the water flow rate of the sprinklers, as different sprinklers deliver different amounts of water. Again, you can use a simple can or container as the most accurate way to calculate a sprinkler’s rate.

  1. Grab some cans or containers that are a couple of inches deep and place them at different distances from your sprinkler.
  2. Turn the water on for 15 minutes.
  3. Turn the water off and measure the depth of the water.
  4. Add all the amounts and divide by your can number to get the average.
  5. Multiply the average by four to determine how much water you get from your sprinkler’s water flow rate.

Because the typical water flow is 1 inch every 15 minutes, watering a lawn with an oscillating sprinkler takes only 15 minutes. Over-watering occurs if the sprinkler is left on for longer than that.

So, if this sprinkler was on a lawn in a moderate climate with minimal rain, watering takes 15 minutes. However, if it rained half an inch in a week, the sprinkler would only need to run for 7 minutes and 30 seconds.

A healthy lawn receives an inch of water per week, including rainfall, so pay attention to the weather and how much rain falls. (Read Lawnmower Starts But Won’t Stay Running)

Rotary Sprinkler to water your lawn

How Long Should I Water My Rotary Sprinkler?

One of the most prevalent sprinkler kinds is an oscillating sprinkler. It works by spraying a water curtain as you water your lawn.

The metal arms of most oscillating sprinklers cover more ground than fixed sprinklers. This reduces the need to move your sprinkler, which is why they are so popular.

Stationary sprinklers have a fixed sprinkler head that sprays 360 degrees around to water your lawn for a defined range. A lawn with an oscillating sprinkler is best as they cover more area than regular sprinklers.

Here are some ideas for watering your grass with an oscillating sprinkler.

Finding out how much water your sprinklers distribute is the first step to understanding how long to run them.

That’s called water flow. Place shallow pots all over your lawn to measure your sprinkler’s water flow. The ideal is to use a rain gauge, but any Tupperware container or empty cat food can is good enough. Just ensure they are spaced in each grass area you want to be sprinkled.

Once you run your sprinkler for a set amount of time, you can determine the sprinkler’s average hourly output.

Established lawns in a dry climate need between one and two inches of water per week.

You should apply the water all at once. This will help your grass produce strong roots and stay healthy all year. These sprinklers usually emit an inch of water each hour. That means an hour of watering once a week.

Gently press your lawn with a soil sampling tube to see if it gets adequate water. After the initial watering, the soil should be saturated one to two inches below the surface. You can use metal wire or a pointed piece of metal as it feels harder as you hit dry soil beneath your lawn.

If your lawn isn’t completely soaked, use your oscillating sprinklers for about an hour extra to add at least one inch of moisture. Now that you know how much water your lawn requires, you need to know how often.

Sprinkler a half-inch of water

How Long Does It Take a Sprinkler to Water 1/2 inch?

Place a plastic container in your yard and set a timer to see how long it takes to get one inch of water. A half-inch of water will take about 30 minutes to get on average. So, if you water your grass for 20 minutes three times a week, it will get roughly an inch of water. This solution works best in soil that is healthy and well-cultivated.

Why waste water on your lawn by running your sprinkler for too long? Using a more exact watering schedule can help your grass grow and produce deep roots without wasting water.

By altering the general recommendations for watering lawns and making modifications where necessary, as well as knowing the water flow around your yard from your oscillating sprinklers, you can determine the quantity of watering larger lawns require for one hour of watering.

If you water your lawn and the grass edges are dry, you have options:

  • First, you’ll need to use a garden hose to finish the irrigation manually.
  • Next, you’ll need a longer-range oscillating sprinkler.
  • The angle of the oscillating sprinkler provides a third choice. Change the angle so that the dry section receives the proper amount of water.
  • The edges are frequently problematic because they are close to a fence, a sidewalk, or a window.
  • Because it was getting hotter, the grass edges were drying out, causing more watering time.
  • Purchase an oscillating sprinkler with a timer if you forget to switch off or on the irrigation. It will make things easy for you.

Oscillating sprinkler water pros and cons:


  • If you merely intend to rent the property. You don’t want to install a costly and difficult-to-remove subsurface sprinkler system.
  • Oscillating lawn sprinklers can improve water distribution by allowing for more effective width and length management.
  • Using an oscillator ensures your lawn water is distributed efficiently and evenly spaced and uniform, resulting in few to no dry spots.
  • Instead of flooding your garden and driving up your water expenditures, which can be costly in dry areas, you’re simply spreading what’s needed when you water lawn with oscillating sprinkler.
  • Allows for gradual water infiltration into the soil.
  • They’re great for large lawns.
  • There’s not much that can go wrong with a standard hose-and-oscillating-sprinkler system.
  • The sprinkler output and range can be adjusted using the units.


  • Smaller oscillating sprinkler systems may not be able to wet your entire lawn. For an even spread, you’ll need to reposition the oscillating sprinkler frequently.
  • The issue with an oscillating sprinkler is that it might shift without warning. Your pet plays with the hose after you nudge or trip it, and the pressure causes it to leap about.
  • Water can be blown around by the wind.
  • Oscillating sprinklers are more prone to evaporate than other watering options.
  • Water may run onto the street, driveway, or sidewalk at the pattern’s edge, wasting water and money.

Your lawn needs one to two inches of water every week to stay healthy, and longer roots help your grass stay healthy with one to two inches of water in the winter.

As a general rule, water your lawn once a week, and don’t water daily. Daily watering can drown your lawn, also water your lawn less when you live in a wet climate. (Learn the Best Time To Buy A Lawn Mower)

It is better to water once per week with enough water output in such conditions across the lawn instead of a dry part with more water to soak the first inch.

Watering your grass in the morning saves water as your grass soaks up water before it evaporates, and morning watering also avoids scorching your grass as the sun hits the water.

Check for a deeper issue if your lawn doesn’t green up after adding additional water, especially if you have dead grass that won’t revive with regular watering.

How Long To Water Lawn With Oscillating Sprinkler

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