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How to Manage Pests

The UC Guide to Healthy Lawns

Irrigating new lawns

Proper irrigation of new lawns is critical for successful establishment. Uniform coverage is essential. Avoid watering in the evening to help prevent disease.

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Lawns grown from sod or plugs

  • Water daily for the first few weeks, keeping the turf moist until the roots are well established. If temperatures are hot, watering 2 or 3 times a day may be required.
  • Do not saturate the soil below the turf; too much water will prevent the roots from penetrating deep into the soil.
  • A bluish-gray color is an indication that the grass is not getting enough water.
  • Every second or third day, a little deeper irrigation is needed to ensure that the soil beneath the turf is moist to a 6-inch depth.
  • Use a screwdriver to probe the soil for an indication of moisture depth.
  • Once established, watering 2 times a week is usually sufficient.

Lawns grown from seed

  • A few days before planting, water the seedbed thoroughly to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Allow soil surface to dry before seeding.
  • After planting, until the seeds germinate, water frequently and lightly, keeping the top 1 - 2 inches of soil moist, but not soaked.
  • Too much water will cause the seeds to rot. If the soil dries out during germination, seedlings are likely to die.
  • Several light waterings a day may be required for up to 30 days to keep the seedbed moist. During hot periods, even more waterings may be needed.
  • As the seedlings become established, watering every other day may be sufficient.
  • Use a screwdriver to probe the soil for an indication of moisture depth.
  • Once the root system has developed, deep watering once or twice a week is all that will be needed.

Lawns grown from sprigs or stolons

  • A few days before planting, water the seedbed thoroughly to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Allow soil surface to dry before planting.
  • Water lightly and frequently, keeping sprigs and stolons moist without saturating the soil, until the root system develops.
  • If water erodes the soil between sprigs or stolons, add soil and level it as needed.
  • Use a screwdriver to probe the soil for an indication of moisture depth.
  • Two daily waterings may be sufficient when the roots are developed.

Roll your mouse over the illustration to see how to water established lawns.

Rollover illustration showing light watering when plants are young and deeper, infrequent watering for established lawns

Plan your irrigation system

Irrigating established lawns


Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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