Water Blog

Watering a New Lawn

If you are installing a new lawn in Greeley, make sure you apply for a variance. 

How you water your new lawn will depend on four factors: 

  • Soil type 
  • Sprinkler type 
  • Seed or sod
  • Temperature and natural precipitation 
The purpose compost and soil prep is to give your lawn the best start possible and to conserve water. You have made a big investment in your landscape and you want it to look its best and be healthy. You can save up to 30% of your water if the soil is amended with the proper amount of compost.  Soils in Greeley are primarily clay with pockets of sand and silt. By incorporating organic matter (compost) into the soil, you can improve physical properties such as water retention, permeability, water infiltration, drainage, aeration and structure. The goal is to provide a better environment for roots. Hand watering dry areas is encouraged as long as your hose is equipped with a shut off restrictive nozzle and NOT your thumb.

These are guidelines for weaning your lawn off of the water needed for establishment. 
Lawn Sprinkler Watering Green Grass
They are no substitute for common sense. If your lawn is drying out add more minutes a couple at a time until it is looking better. If water is running off your property, you are watering too much and may be cited for waste and/or have your variance revoked. Be vigilant paying attention to the seams of the sod; that is where it will dry out first.

Day of installation: 

The landscape may be watered thoroughly, immediately after installation. Make sure there is good sod to soil contact especially on the edges of the sod. You may want to roll it with a sod roller or walk on it especially at the seams.

2-5 days after installation: 

You should space irrigation evenly throughout the day, watering at least 3 times per day. Use a hand held hose equipped with a shut off nozzle to water areas showing signs of wilting caused by high winds, high temperatures or poor sprinkler coverage. Watch the edges of the sod for excessive dryness and look for wilt in new seedlings. During the spring and fall you may want to water at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. During the summer (which isn't the best time to install cool season turf), you may want to run them at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.  During this first week you will want to apply ½ inch of water per day.  Use the sprinkler gauges and put them in your spray pattern and let it accumulate for the entire day.

Sprinkler run times: popup spray heads and hose end sprinklers –water up to 5 minutes. Rotors and impact sprinklers--water up to 16 minutes 

Tips for watering new seed:  You will want to water more frequently but shorter run times.  You want to keep it evenly moist without causing runoff.  This is critical until the seed germinates. Then you can lengthen the run times and decrease the frequency.  You still want to keep consistent soil moisture in the top inch of soil.  The key is to keep it moist and not soggy!


6-14 days after installation: 

Water two times per day but for longer times than last week. Once at 11 a.m. and then at 4 p.m. 

Sprinkler run times: popup spray heads and hose end sprinklers –water up to 8 minutes. Rotors and impact sprinklers--water up to 20 minutes.

Tips for new seed:  If the seed has germinated, start watering longer to keep the top inch to two inches evenly moist.  

15-21 days after installation: 

Water once per day in the morning by cycling the water.  Cycling your watering is an effective way to water and reduce runoff.  You shorten your total watering time by ½ or 1/3 and cycle through the zone 2-3 (respectively) times.  Make sure there is a non-watering time of 30 to 60 minutes before repeating a zone. This gives the water time to soak in and thus making the next cycle more effective. This can be accomplished by using the multiple start time feature on your clock.  

Sprinkler run times: popup spray heads and hose end sprinklers –water up to 10 minutes, cycle the watering with two 5 minute cycles. Rotors and impact sprinklers--water up to 25 minutes. 

Tips for new seed: Keep the top 2 inches of soil moist watering daily, morning would be best to get it through the heat of the day.  Look for bare spots and spread more seed if necessary.

22-30 days after installation:

Water every other day before noon or after 5 p.m. 

Sprinkler run times:
popup spray heads and hose end sprinklers –water up to 16 minutes or two shorter cycles of 8 minutes each. Rotors and impact sprinklers--water up to 40 minutes (Full circles will need longer than ½ or ¼ circle rotors.)

Tips for new seed:  Check the grass daily in the morning; you will probably still need to water daily unless it is cool or overcast.  

30 days after installation:

Your lawn watering variance expires. Please remove it from your window and follow the current watering restrictions.  The graphic below suggests an appropriate schedule for an established lawn.

Tips for new seed:  You should be able to skip a day between watering.  Continue to hand-water dry spots or areas that you had to reseed.  If you need more time you can call in for a two extension on your variance, and we will come back out and check it.

A chart explaining ideal lawn watering in Greeley.

Contact Us

Greeley Water and Sewer

1100 10th Street, Suite 300
Greeley, CO 80631

Monday - Friday 8am - 5pm

970-350-9811 tel
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water@greeleygov.com

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970-336-4134
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conserve@greeleygov.com

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