The most important step in an over-seeding program is proper watering after the lawn is verticut and seeded. Grass seed is very vulnerable to drought after it has begun to germinate. To ensure that you get the best results, please follow these tips and guidelines.
When watering, keep in mind that sprinkler water output, daytime temperature, wind and other variants will alter your watering times and frequency. The following guidelines are “rule of thumb”, and you will need to keep an eye on the lawn to make sure that your lawn is receiving proper watering. The goal is to keep the top ½ inch of soil moist for at least two to three weeks. After then, watering may be cut back to once a day or every other day, again depending on weather and watering times.
Weeks 1 & 2
Set each zone to water for 7-10 minutes, three times a day at 9am, 2pm, and 6pm. This should get you started. Keep an eye on the lawn and test for moisture during the warmest times of day by feeling the ground. If you still feel a bit of moisture in the soil just before the next watering is scheduled, this is ideal. If not, increase watering. Many control units, especially Hunter brand, has a feature that will allow you to increase or decrease all zones by a percentage without having to change every zone. This feature is typically located at the upper left of the unit. Continue this watering schedule for two weeks.
Weeks 3, 4, & 5
After the seed has germinated and developed a small root system, water can be reduced. Also, at this time, the weather is typically more rainy and cooler. While it is still important to maintain a moist top surface, watering can usually be cut back to once a day, possibly less. Continue to maintain a fairly moist lawn until your sprinkler is winterized, or early November.
For spring seeding: continue to water more than normal during the summer during dry periods. The new grass still has shallow roots and is susceptible to heat and drought.
If it dries out, it dies out!