Fertilizing and Watering Sod
All sod will benefit from PROPER fertilization. Your soil will become depleted of important nutrients over time if it is not managed correctly. Every lawn’s soil make up is different so the only way to know for sure is having soil samples sent to the agricultural department of your local county. This will tell you what and how much your soil needs for the specific type of grass you want to grow. Even with this report in hand and lots of effort on your part, achieving the perfect soil everywhere is a moving and impossible target.
Our locally owned and operated chemical maintenance companies are usually your easiest choice to keep up with your lawn and it’s requirements. They buy in bulk and know what time of year is best for all of the different applications necessary to keep weeds out and fertilizer present. I believe they are more accurate and efficient than most homeowners can ever be unless it’s just a passion. Look for a company that is local and has time to meet with you to discuss what plan they think your lawn needs. The trend is leaning toward measuring from satellite images to save time measuring on site. It is a volume business very little income from any one particular customer. Please keep that in mind as you search for the right company to begin a relationship with.
Watering sod is best accomplished using automated irrigation systems. They are the most efficient way to cover the entire lawn with very little waste. They can include rain gauges and seasonal adjustability based on your zip code and hours of sun light at a particular time of year. They can even be connected to the national weather service for the best idea of when to turn off a scheduled watering event due to forecasted rain. If an irrigation system is just not in the budget, consider building a garden hose supplemental system for the hotter and drier parts of the year. Mechanical timers that simply wind down and turn off are cheap and effective. A few hoses, splitters and sprinklers will usually only cost a few hundred (buy good parts/ you get what you pay for).
The aim is for keeping soil slightly moist and cool to the touch. Swamping the soil and creating standing water is not what you want. Stop thinking about how long to water in each area. Only you can figure out how long based on the sprinkler you use, the soil you have, how much sun and many other factors. You should try to get ½ -1”of watering on turf areas per week in our average clay based soil. A rain gauge from a hardware store will help in this area. Another trick is to use a 1” tall empty sardine can. Soils that are heavy in clay content will shed more water so they may need more frequent watering. If you over water an area, allow it time to dry out on the surface. Roots need oxygen too.
Do more research and keep good notes. Have your soil samples sent off annually. Trial and error can be a pain but diligence will pay off when it comes to watering and fertilizing. Good luck.