Water is essential to all life. The first watering of newly installed turf grass is the most important. Begin watering immediately after installation of the new turf grass. The first watering establishes how well the grass will perform for years to come.
The amount of water your lawn requires and receives will determine its overall health, beauty, and ability to withstand use and drought. Never water by hand if you can use a sprinkler. Not many people have the time or patience to hold a sprinkler hose for as long as it is usually necessary. Be sure that the corners and edges are thoroughly covered. Overlap settings so that there are not gaps in the areas being watered.
Remember, watering is the single most important factor that determines appearance and health of your lawn. Here are some other great tips for watering your plants:
Generally it is recommended to water flowers by hand, soaking them thoroughly one time each day for the first three weeks. This allows every plant to be watered in a short amount of time which helps in controlling fungus and other diseases that spread during long wet periods. Sprinklers tend to miss areas when it is windy and are often left on for hours at a time. When you factor in the time spent adjusting, connecting and moving sprinklers and soakers, and factor plant loss due to the problems they cause, then hand watering makes sense in almost every situation. After the first three weeks as flowers become established, they can be soaked once every two days or as necessary to keep them healthy. If someone is monitoring them, when the flowers along the edges begin to dry and wilt, it is a good time to soak in the entire bed.
Water perennials deeply, making sure the roots are thoroughly soaked. This prompts them to grow deep roots that search out additional nutrients and water. Perennials that are watered deeply need less water than shallowly watered perennials. Water established perennials in the spring. Older perennials need less water. Perennials grown in sandy soil need more water than those grown in clay soil. Perennials may need more water in dry, windy weather. Later-blooming perennials may need more water. It is normal for perennials to look wilted in the hottest part of the day and during a summer drought.
AVERAGE: Let hose run on ½ volume for 2 minutes per plant (2x’s per week)
When planted, shrubs should be watered thoroughly to wet the entire root zone and surrounding area. During the first year, the shrub should be watered when the soil begins to dry out. Like newly planted trees, an inch of water a week is required for newly-planted shrubs. Feel the soil near the shrub about 1-inch deep. If the soil feels dry, thoroughly soak the soil around the root zone.
AVERAGE: Let hose run on ½ volume for 3 minutes per plant (1 or 2x’s per week)
Evergreen Trees and Shrubs
Newly planted evergreens should be watered regularly during the first year after planting. They should be soaked by rain or supplemental watering once a week, or more during hot, dry weather on sandy soils. Keep watering right up until the ground freezes, usually in late November in the Chicago area. It is important that evergreens are fully hydrated going into winter. Because evergreen foliage is retained through winter, it is exposed to drying winter winds. With frozen ground and roots, plants cannot replenish that moisture and can "burn" or brown by spring. Most evergreens require well-drained soil, and overwatering them will result in stress and damage to roots.
AVERAGE: Trees = Let hose run on ¼ volume in center for 45 minutes (1x per week)
Shrubs = Let hose run on ½ volume for 4 minutes per plant (1x per week)
When planting, the soil in the entire root zone should be thoroughly soaked with water. The tree will need regular watering for the first year, and periodic supplemental watering for the next several years, to develop an extensive root system.
Monitor the soil moisture around your newly planted tree. The tree will need at least an inch of water each week. This can be provided by nature, in the form of rain, or by you with supplemental watering. A thorough weekly watering is much better for the tree than light daily waterings. If you have heavy soil, a soaking once a week will be probably sufficient except in the hottest weather. If you have sandy soil, you may need to soak the root zone twice or more each week, depending on the weather and temperatures.
AVERAGE: Let hose run on ¼ volume in center for 45 minutes (1x per week)
First 2-3 Weeks (until sod is firmly rooted):
Do not walk unnecessarily on sod. Water the sod daily for approximately 1 hour each time. Note: The sod needs to be soaked through so when you pull back the sod the soil beneath is saturated. Try not to water in the morning, if possible. Do not miss a watering. The first 2 weeks are crucial.
After 2 weeks:
The lawn needs 1” of rainfall per week. 2 watering’s per week at ½” per time. Place a watering gauge in the lawn to measure. One watering should follow a mowing. Continue this practice for the life of the lawn.
Until grass is 3” high:
Do not walk unnecessarily on seed. Water 1x each day as follows: Flat ground-water until there is shallow puddling. Sloped land- water until there is a run off.
Do not miss a watering. First period is crucial. Do not allow ground to dry and crack.
After grass is 3” high:
Lawn needs 1” of rainfall per week. 2 watering’s per week at ½” per time. Place a watering gauge in the lawn to measure. One watering should follow a cutting. Continue this practice for the life of the lawn.
General Plant Notes
Avoid over watering - it can be just as harmful as under watering. Plant roots need oxygen as well as water. Too much water fills the air pockets between soil particles and creates an anaerobic environment. This can result in root rot and an environment favorable to other pathogens such as fungi and bacteria.
A good rule is to dig down with your finger above the roots. If it is dry an inch down, it is necessary to water. If the soil is still wet from a recent rain or previous watering, delay watering until it dries out some.