Watering Guide

Watering Guide for New Lawns

Watering Guide for New Plantings

Watering Guide for New Lawns

Mornings
Before 10:00AM

Evenings
After 5:00PM

During the germination period of approximately 2-3 weeks, you should water 2 to 3 times per day for roughly 5-10 minutes. Almost a mist. The intention is to keep the seed moist, but not to oversaturate and cause run-off. You NEVER want the seed to dry out. It is ok to walk gently on the seed. For seed to germinate it needs moisture, seed-to-soil contact, and soil for its roots.

• After germination, it is important to provide 1.5 inches of water per week. Preferably 2 applications per week of 3⁄4 inches.

• Mow the new lawn when it reaches 2 to 3 inches high.

• Mow when the soil is on the dry side; otherwise, you might tear up the new turf.

• Apply fertilizer about 4 to 6 weeks after germination.

During the establishment period of approximately 2 weeks, you should water once per day for roughly 30 minutes. The intention is to keep the sod saturated, but not to oversaturate and cause run-off. If water starts to puddle, cut back on the watering time.

• During the third week, reduce watering to once every second or third day.

• Refrain from walking on the new sod for the first 2-3 weeks.

• After roots are fully “netted-in”, it is important to water 1.5 inches of water per week. Preferably 2 applications per week of 3⁄4 inches.

• Mow the new lawn when it reaches close to 3 inches high, at the highest setting.

• Mow when the soil is on the dry side; otherwise, you might tear up the new turf.

• Apply fertilizer about 3-4 weeks after installation.

How to water after Overseeding?

One of the most important things to remember when watering your lawn after overseeding is to start slowly. It’s important not to overwater your lawn, as this can lead to problems such as fungal growth, disease, and even death of the new seedlings. Instead, water your lawn lightly and frequently at first, then gradually increase the amount of water you’re applying as the seedlings begin to establish themselves. Make sure not to water the sod when temperatures are exceeding 85 degrees, that’s why its best to water in the morning or during the evening.

The amount of water to use depends on a number of factors, such as the type of grass you’re growing, the climate in your area, and the amount of rainfall you typically receive. Remember that you want the soil to feel consistently damp, but do not soak it or allow puddles to form. In general, most lawns will require 1-2 inches of water per week, but this is just a guideline.

Days 1-10

  • Rotating Irrigation Heads: 12 minutes per zone.
  • Fixed Irrigation Heads: 5 minutes per zone.
  • Hand Watering/Hose and Sprinkler System: 15-20 minutes per zone.

Days 11-20

  • Water your lawn when your soil has dried out.
  • Don’t water if it is still damp.
  • Rotating Irrigation Heads: 20 minutes per zone.
  • Fixed Irrigation Heads: 10 minutes per zone.
  • Hand Watering/Hose and Sprinkler System: 25-30 minutes per section.

Days 21+

  • 1-2 inches of water per week between rainfall and irrigation.
  • Rotating Irrigation Heads: 25 minutes per zone.
  • Fixed Irrigation Heads: 15 minutes per zone.
  • Hand Watering/Hose and Sprinkler System: 25-30 minutes per section.

Watering Guide for New Plantings

The most efficient method is to apply water directly to the soil by running a hose at a slow trickle around the roots of your plant. Or, use a soaker hose or drip irrigation.

For newly-planted trees and shrubs: Water immediately and thoroughly after planting.

For the first 2 weeks after planting, check the soil moisture daily and water deeply if the top 6 inches of soil feels dry to the touch.

Be careful not to overwater. Many people have inadvertently drowned newly planted trees by watering them too often. Water should soak in quickly; your plants should never sit in a puddle of water for an extended period of time. This can lead to root damage.

For all trees and shrubs:

Water when the soil feels dry to the touch beneath the surface. Dig into the soil with a trowel, hand shovel, or screwdriver and check your soil at a depth of about 6 inches. Soil that is moist or damp to the touch is fine. If the soil feels dry, water the plant thoroughly. Direct water to the roots, not the leaves of the plant.

Water in the morning. Watering during the heat of the day increases the amount of water lost to evaporation by as much as 40%. Late-day, overhead watering increases the chances of some plants being infected by diseases.

Observe how quickly your soil dries out after rain or watering. Clay soil drains slowly porous sandy soil drains quickly. Adding organic matter to the soil will improve drainage in clay soil and increase water retention in sandy soil.

New installations should always be watered immediately after planting. It is important to keep new plantings and young plants well-watered as their root system has not fully developed. Make sure to check the soil right around the base of the plants as this soil may dry out faster than soil in between plants. Too much water can encourage disease and cause plant death, so it’s important to pay attention to the climate and the location of the plants to determine when and how much to water. Always check soil moisture before watering by sticking your finger in the soil up to the second knuckle.

You can use our watering guidelines to help determine when and how much to water:

Spring Perennial Plantings:

  • Week 1: Every day to every other day.
  • Weeks 2-3: Water 2-3 times per week, depending on environmental conditions.
  • Weeks 4+: Water 2-3 times per week, more in hot/dry conditions. When cooler, water less.

Summer Perennial Plantings:

  • Week 1: Every day.
  • Weeks 2-6: Water 2-3 times per week, depending on environmental conditions.
  • Weeks 6+: Water as needed, more in summer months and less in fall.

Fall Perennial Plantings:

  • Week 1: Every day to every other day.
  • Weeks 2-4: Water 1-3 times a week, depending on environmental conditions.
  • Weeks 4+: Water less as winter approaches.
  • Water evergreens until ground freezes.

Spring and Fall Annual Plantings:

  • Week 1: Water 1-2 times per week.
  • Weeks 2+: As needed. Depending on weather this may be every other day or once a week.

For Evergreens:

Evergreens – trees or shrubs that have needles or leaves that remain green on the plant through the winter – should be deeply watered in the fall before the ground freezes if precipitation has been insufficient. Evergreens continue to lose water during the winter, especially when the temperature is above 40°F and on sunny, windy days. If the soil is dry, the plants may become desiccated, turn brown, and die, even if those symptoms don’t become obvious until spring.

How much water?

Wetting the soil at least 6 inches deep requires 1 to 2 inches of surface water (65-130 gallons of water per 100 square feet). The amount of water depends on soil type, weather, and types of plants growing. If you use an overhead sprinkler, check the amount of water the sprinkler is providing to a group of plants by placing a tin can in the range of the sprinkler. When 1 inch of water accumulates in the can, 1 inch of water has been distributed in the soil. This is enough to penetrate 6 inches of soil.