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Lawn Watering 101: How Much Water Does Your Lawn Need?

Posted on June 21st, 2023

Ensuring a picture-perfect carpet of green on your lawn takes more than just proper fertilization and regular mowing. You’ll also need to understand the watering needs of your grass are vital to promoting the healthy growth and vitality of your lawn.

When Should You Water Your Lawn

The best time to water your lawn is in the morning, between 6 am and 10 am. This is because between these times are the coldest parts of the day which means less soil evaporation that reduces the amount of water that goes into your lawn.

Watering early in the morning also reduces the chances of fungal issues with your grass. In addition, watering with a minor evaporative action ensures more water reaches below the soil where the roots are.

Watering at night tends to keep the soil damp over several hours until morning, increasing the chances of disease. However, if you don’t have time in the morning, you can work around this issue by fertilizing your soil and ensuring your grass is mowed correctly. This way, you can prevent disease even after you water your grass at night.

How Much Water Should You Use?

Lawns should be watered around an inch each week. So, how often should you water grass? If you’re using a sprinkler system, getting half an inch of water will take around 30 minutes. Evaporation and other factors come into play. Factor in the amount of rainfall you’re getting as well. You can use rain gauges to measure how much water your lawn is getting with each session. The goal is to divide one inch of water into several weekly watering sessions.

The type of grass on your lawn also plays a significant factor in your watering schedule. If you plant cool-season grass, best suited for colder regions, such as Kentucky Bluegrass, Fine Fescue, Perennial Ryegrass, Tall Fescue, and Bentgrass, require more frequent watering to about one to 1.5 inches of water per week.

On the other hand, warm-season grass, like Bermuda, St. Augustine grass, and Zoysia, requires less watering, around 0.5 to 1 inch of water per week. You should also adjust your watering schedule according to soil type since some soil retains moisture better than others.

How to Water Different Lawn Types

Different methods to establish a lawn include newly seeded, plugged, sprigged, and sodded lawns. Watering lawns of each type will vary since each one will have different needs, which is part of proper lawn care practices.

1. Newly Seeded Lawns

These lawns are new and made using prepared soil where grass seeds are spread over the entire surface. The seeds used for this method are mixed with starter fertilizers to ensure their proper growth. After laying the seeds, you can cover the surface with straw or a thin layer of topsoil.

This process adds a layer of protection for the seeds. The added layer promotes proper germination and growth, allowing the seeds to establish a new lawn gradually. Seeding grass into newly prepared soil is a cost-effective option.

Newly seeded lawns should be gently watered and only twice daily with light sprinkling. It is best to water this lawn in the morning and afternoon, applying only enough water to moisten the soil. As the grass begins to establish, you should reduce watering frequency. After a few weeks, as the grass has grown, you should transition to infrequent but deep watering, promoting deeper root growth.

2. Plugged Lawns

Also known as grass plugging or sod plugging, the process involves planting individual sections of grass into a lawn. These sections were taken from mature yards and transferred to the new area. A plug consists of lawn grass and a layer of soil, with each plug planted at specific intervals.

Grass plugs are expected to grow and spread across the soil, filling the gaps on your lawn. This method has been the most suitable for certain types of grass, such as centipedegrass and St. Augustine grass.

Plugged lawns should be watered thoroughly, ensuring every plugged patch is soaked. You should make sure that the water reaches the soil beneath the plugs. The goal is to ensure that water reaches the layer where the roots are located. Remember that the goal is to keep the plugs moist but not saturated.

3. Sprigged Lawns

The sprigging process uses stolons or runners planted directly into the soil in small sections. The runners can be taken from already established lawns but can also be grown separately. This growing method is best suited for certain types of grass like Zoysia and Bermuda. The goal is to allow the sprigs to take root and make the grass grow all over the lawn. This takes patience, but it will ensure strong growth if done well.

Watering lawns of this type is relatively easy. Immediately after transplanting the sprigs, make sure to water them directly. Use a gentle spray setting on your sprinklers and ensure even coverage. Water the soil lightly multiple times daily to ensure the ground remains moist. This method should be maintained during the first two weeks.

As the sprigs become established, reduce the watering frequency. The goal is to transition to deeper watering slowly. It takes patience since it may take a few weeks before the sprigs start to spread. Once you notice new outgrowths, you should be on a less frequent watering schedule.

4. Sodded Lawns

Sodding is a common practice where pre-installed grass patches, or turf, are laid onto prepared soil. These patches are grown on a farm, and the mature grass is later cut into patches or rolls, ready to be transplanted elsewhere.

Sodding is very popular since it allows lawn care providers and landscape technicians to set up the grass immediately. It’s the lawn preparation method for sports fields and many residential lawns. However, it should be remembered that sodding is the more expensive option due to the costs associated with growing the grass and transporting them to the desired location.

Watering sodded lawns requires thorough saturation of the soil. If you’re using sprinklers, you should ensure that your system provides even coverage across the entire area covered in sod. Ensure constant coverage until the roots of the sodded patches have been established.

It should be noted that several factors like local climate, grass varieties, cost, and the speed of growth and establishment all come into play. If you’re unsure how much and how frequently to water your lawn type, it is best to work with specialists to ensure growth.

Watering Practices and Grub Control

Lawn watering practices can impact the number of grubs growing in the soil. Notably, grubs are larvae of various beetle species, including June and Japanese beetles. These larvae live in the ground and feed off multiple plants, shrubs, and lawn grass roots.


How often should you water grass if you suspect a grub infestation? The way you water your lawn will affect the soil’s moisture levels, which can influence its suitability for grub growth and development.

Consider the following factors:

  1. Soil Moisture: Grubs prefer moist, damp soil over hard, dry earth. These conditions are perfect for these critters to thrive. Overwatering your lawn can inadvertently create a wet environment where beetles can lay eggs and allow grubs to hatch. If the soil remains oversaturated with water, it creates conditions where grubs can survive and grow into mature beetles. Thus the cycle continues until you have a full-blown infestation.
  2. Irrigation Timing: Your watering and lawn irrigation timing can also influence grub growth. Beetles usually lay eggs in mid-summer or early fall, giving a few weeks for the eggs to hatch into grubs in the soil. For instance, according to researchers from Michigan State University, Japanese beetles lay eggs in July to August, with each female laying anywhere from 40 to 60 eggs. If you adjust your watering schedule, you can discourage beetles from laying eggs. Reduced watering during these months can disrupt their lifecycle and help prevent an infestation.

Knowing these facts helps us understand how often you should water grass. However, it is essential to note that adequately watering lawns is only one of the things you can do to prevent a grub infestation, and there are other factors to be considered. Proper lawn care practices, soil composition, and managing beetle populations are also essential. If you suspect an infestation, working with lawn care experts using proven grub control solutions is vital.

Trust the Lawn Care Experts from Turf Unlimited

Turf Unlimited has been the trusted provider of lawn care solutions since 1996. Our specialists can help you determine the proper watering schedule for your property, prevent grub growth, and ensure proper lawn care. Contact us today to achieve that picture-perfect carpet of green for your home.

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