Tips For Watering Your Lawn

I’ve just installed a new lawn. How much should I water it?

Give your new lawn at least 1 inch of water within the first 30 minutes of installation. Water daily or more often, keeping the sod moist until it is firmly rooted, about 2 weeks.

This allows the root system to become firmly established. After a couple of weeks, water the sod as an established lawn.

How can I measure my water rate?

No matter what kind of irrigation system or method you use, check and adjust it to the soil’s absorption rate. A good rule of thumb is to apply water to a rate equal to or slightly less than the soil’s ability to absorb it. Most irrigation systems apply water faster than necessary, which wastes water through run-off. Also, don’t forget to check if the system is applying water uniformly.

The best way to check both of these functions is to set out a series of straight-side, flat-bottom cans for an in-ground system or a few cans for a movable sprinkler system. Run the watering system for 30 minutes and measure the amount of water collected. You can determine the length of time needed to apply one inch of water with our chart:

SAND2.0 Inches0.5 Hours
SANDY LOAM1.0 Inch1.0 Hours
LOAM0.5 Inches2.0 Hours
SILT LOAM0.4 Inches2.25 Hours
CLAY LOAM0.3 Inches3.3 Hours
CLAY0.2 Inches5.0 Hours

Knowing your soil type will help you figure out how long the system needs to run in order to soak the lawn to a desired depth of 4-6 inches. Remember to stop the watering for an interval if you see run-off occurring. Hilly or sloping areas may require a soaker hose to reduce run-off and allow better water penetration into the soil. Soakers apply water slowly over a small area.

What’s the best time of day to water my lawn?

Once your lawn is established it is best to water in the early morning, when there is less wind and heat. Watering early allows greater penetration into the soil, less run-off and less evaporation.

Once my lawn is established, how often does it require watering?

The healthiest lawns are produced when they are watered heavily at infrequent intervals. On average, the lawn needs about 1 inch of water a week, by rainfall or in combination with irrigation. This one-inch rule will normally soak the soil to a depth of 4-6 inches, allowing the water to reach deep into the root system Let the lawn completely dry out between watering intervals.

Most lawn grasses can tolerate dryer conditions over a reasonable period of time. Water only when a probe or screwdriver is difficult to push into the ground or shows the soil is dry 4 to 6 inches down.