Watering Your Sod:
Water, Water, Water!
Newly planted sod needs to be watered much differently than established lawns. It is highly recommended you have a sprinkler system in place before installing sod. Due to the increased water needs of the new sod, watering by hand or with a garden hose sprinkler will be very time consuming for the first few weeks.
Many factors will affect the water needs during the establishment and even after the sod is established. Areas of your lawn that are on higher ground and/or are more exposed to sun and wind will use significantly more water. Lower areas and areas that are well shaded and protected will not need as much water. Maintaining consistent moisture levels in all areas of the lawn will ensure proper establishment. In order to achieve consistent moisture levels, fine tuning of the irrigation system and close observation will be required for success.
- Immediately after all the sod is installed, water the lawn until it is good and soaked, usually 45 to 60 minutes. This is the most important watering because the ground is dry, the soil amendment is dry and the sod itself is dry. This initial watering is vital to ensure the sod and soil beneath are good and soaked.
- During the first 2 weeks, while the sod’s root system is being established, heavy watering is necessary. The new sod needs to stay moist 24 hours a day. We recommend watering a MINIMUM of 3 times per day for at least 15 to 30 minutes per zone (15 for pop up heads and 30 for rotary or oscillating heads). Variations in soil conditions, temperature and sprinkler type will affect the number of cycles and length of time that your sprinklers should run. The key is maintaining consistent moisture throughout the lawn and not allowing the lawn to dry between watering cycles. On hot days (90 degrees and over) or windy days you may need to water up to 4 times a day so that the sod is not allowed to dry out between watering. During the 3rd and 4th week you should be transitioning from heavy watering to a normal routine. Begin by eliminating one run cycle of the system every 4-5 days until you have reached one per day and then begin gradually eliminating days from the schedule until you have reached your preferred watering schedule. We recommend every other day schedule, watering early in the morning.
- It is important to note that areas of your lawn that are well shaded will use significantly less water so be careful to not overwater these areas. Overwatering will keep the sod from growing roots which will lead to dead spots.
- Watch your sod closely for signs of dehydration (not enough water). Signs include: a purplish tint, blades turn gray and footprints are left when walked upon, the sod rolls begin to shrink and gaps form between rolls, or grass blades turn straw in color. If any of these signs are prevalent, the sod is not getting enough water, increase your watering times! If you are not sure what is going on, please call us as soon as possible!!!
- If you are not convinced your issues are due to lack of watering, try this test. Place like-sized containers in the problem area and another in a good and green area. Water for 15 to 30 minutes then measure and compare both containers. If the problem area is not getting the same amount of water then your sprinkler heads and system may need adjustments.