Watering New Sod
The First Day is Critical
New Sod has 4-6 hrs. once installed before it will begin to die. Exposure to the sun begins to dry the sod immediately. Remember the new sod only has about 1/10th the root system of an established lawn. Every site is different so assume you need to water the grass in the first 4 hrs. This helps avoid browning out of the blades. With proper watering, any browning will be replaced by new growth within 3-4 weeks.
- First day, water 2 times per day for 20 min. (mid morn & mid afternoon)
- Water every day for the 1st week.
- Water every 2nd day for the 2nd week.
- Water every 3rd day for the 3rd week.
- By the 4th week water approx 2 times per week.
- Remember it takes up to 90 days to establish a mature root system.
To test if you are applying enough water to your new sod lawn, pull back a piece of sod that is not yet rooted and check the soil underneath. It should be damp and cool. If the soil is dry or saturated, you should fine-tune your watering periods. Perform this test in several locations of your yard. Once you have done this test a few times and your sod is rooted, you will have a feel for its regular watering needs. The most important thing to remember is DO NOT let it dry out during the first growing season. Keep the soil slightly moist. This will avoid damaging the young, tender new roots.
Look for signs of dry or wilting grass. It will probably occur in small areas first. Parts of the lawn will begin to lose that lush green look and become grayish in color. The areas of full exposure to afternoon sun are usually the first to show signs of stress.
1” of water every week. Try a rain gauge or 1” tall sardine can. It may surprise you to see how long it takes to achieve 1”.
Morning Watering is Best
Morning watering is best once the lawn is past the 1st month. Fungus grows in moist conditions. Morning watering will allow the lawn to dry by night fall.
No fertilizer for 30 days. Allow the sod grow its new root system for 30 days. After that, begin, a regular fertilization schedule.
Weed seeds are everywhere. Birds, wind, even mower decks transport weed seeds. The best weed control is an annual program that uses pre and post emergents on a proper schedule to avoid germination or deal with the weeds quickly once they begin to grow. There will be new weeds in most lawns. The seeds where there when the sod went down. They will grow through new sod or in the seams between pieces. By preparing the soil and watering regularly, you create ideal conditions for weeds too. Pull the new weeds by hand when possible.