Determining the appropriate level of irrigation for turfgrasses is vital to the health of the turfgrass and the conservation of water. The linear gradient irrigation system (LGIS) allows long-term assessment of turf performance under continuous irrigation gradients from excess to no irrigation. The objectives of this study were to: 1) evaluate the minimum irrigation requirements and relative drought resistance of `Rebel II' tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.), `Meyer' zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica Steud.), `Tifway' bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.], `Prairie' buffalograss [Buchloe dactyloides (Nutt.) Engelm], and `Nortam' St. Augustinegrass [Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walt.) Kuntze]; and 2) evaluate the long-term effects of irrigation levels on turf persistence, weed invasion, and disease incidence for the five selected turfgrasses under field conditions. Turf was sodded under LGIS with an irrigation gradient ranging from 120% Class A pan evaporation (Ep) to natural precipitation, along a 20-m turf area. Evaluation during the summers of 1993–96 indicated that grasses differed in drought resistance and persistence under variable irrigation regimes. Irrigation (Ep) required to maintain acceptable turf quality for respective grasses was `Rebel II' (67%), `Meyer' (68%), `Nortam' (44%), `Tifway' (35%), and `Prairie' (26%). Higher dollar spot (Sclerotinia homoeocarpa Bennett) infection was observed at 115% Ep irrigation regime in `Tifway' bermudagrass, whereas gray leaf spot [Pyricularia grisea (Hebert) Barr] was observed only at 10% Ep irrigation regime in St. Augustinegrass plots. An outbreak of brown patch (Rhizoctonia solani Kuehn.) occurred in Sept. 1996 in St. Augustinegrass plots receiving irrigation at >80% Ep.