Category Archives: Watering

Watering guidelines – new and existing turf

Newly Seeded Turf

Seed just planted should be CONSISTENTLY moist until growth begins.  This means a daily light watering for 15 to 30 minutes.  DO NOT OVER WATER AND DO NOT USE A STRONG SPRAY. You don’t want to drown the seeds, nor do you want to wash them away.

Once seedlings have reasonable growth (½” to ¾”), reduce watering to twice weekly and apply ¼” to ½” per watering.  Once mowed, watering can be done as to accumulate 1 to 1 ½” of water once per week.  Again, be certain to take rainfall into consideration.

Please note that seed will not germinate without the execution of these watering guidelines.

 New Sod

Sod should be watered daily.  Its good health and development requires up to 2” to 4” of water per week for the first couple of weeks.  After the first week, start stretching out the time between watering so that the roots will grow downward toward the soil moisture.  When you do water, water deeply.  Keep up the frequent watering until about 20 to 30 days after planting.  Once firmly rooted you may reduce watering to once per week, applying 1” to 1 ½” per application.

Please note that sod will die without the execution of these watering guidelines.

Established Turf

Established turf grass requires infrequent but heavy watering.   Remember you are watering the soil, not the grass.  Generally established turf grass requires 1 inch to 1½ inches of water per week for optimum health.

Watering twice a week may be required during extreme conditions, such as temperatures of 90 degrees or higher for a prolonged period of time or extremely windy days.  Separate the watering to the early part of the week and the later part of the week with a minimum accumulation of 1 inch per watering.

For more information about your turf, check out the National Turfgrass Federation’s website.

Watering Guidelines – new trees and shrubs

During the spring we generally receive a sufficient amount of moisture.  Spring to summer is probably the most critical transitional period because moisture levels can drop quickly and soil moisture availability rapidly declines.  This situation can be exacerbated by overly hot and windy conditions.

When plants start to show signs of stress by wilting permanent damage to the vascular system may have already occurred.  Prevention is the key; therefore we have prepared the following guidelines on the basics of proper watering procedures.

Time of Day to Water

The BEST time to water is about 3 a.m. to 10 a.m.  At this time the air is cool and very little evaporation loss occurs before the water reaches the ground.  When the sun rises and the air warms, the liquid quickly evaporates from the leaves.  Watering early in the evening encourages fungal infection (fungal infections thrive in cool wet conditions); watering in the heat of day is bad because much of the water evaporates before reaching the ground.  This accelerates buildup of soluble minerals in the soil that over along time can be ruinous to soil health.

Accurate Measuring

When you water, water deeply.  This means water for a long time, allowing the water to soak into the ground.  Ideally, you should provide one inch of water with every soaking, but not more than once per week.

Remember to take rainfall into consideration when monitoring your watering. Use a rain gauge to monitor the amount of water your landscape receives from rainfall and your irrigation system (if applicable).

Be careful…you can over water your plants!  Roots need both water and oxygen to thrive.  Over watering can kill plants because constant moisture suffocates the roots, thereby causing them to die and rot.  Inspect the area BEFORE watering by tunneling with a deep root feeder or stake.  If the soil is dry on top, it might still be moist underground and not need water.

Newly Planted Trees

When watering newly planted trees, remove the nozzle from your hose, wrap the hose in an old bath towel  (so it will disperse the energy of the spray) and set the hose at the base of the tree.  Water the area at a low pressure every other day (45 to 60 minutes) for 3 to 4 weeks, based on your soil conditions.  Make certain to change the position of the hose to water evenly.

Newly Planted Shrubs

Shrubs can be watered similarly to trees except the time frame drops to 10 to 15 minutes each.  Avoid watering foliage, most plants DO NOT like being watered from above because moisture build up on leaves encourages fungal problems.

For more information there is a great article by the University of Illinois Extension.