Water is the key to life as we know it, including the plants that grow in your yard. All living things, even those that call harsh deserts their home, require some water to survive. Your lawn, however, cannot store water like a cactus, so it must be watered in the correct amount and at the right frequency. Too little and your sod will not have healthy roots and will wither; too much will lead to root rot.
Many people worry about how much water to give their sod, especially when they are first having it planted. Here are some key points to remember as you prepare to install new sod and consider what watering schedule you will need for the first few weeks.
Understanding the Needs of New Sod
New sod has different needs than an established lawn. This is because new sod has a lot of factors working against it that make it harder for the latest addition to your yard to survive. Grass roots and the grass plant as a whole have to overcome a great deal of shock during planting, are more prone to environmental impacts, and are in a much weaker state than more established grasses.
Understanding what your newly planted sod has to overcome can help you meet its unique needs to grow and stay healthy. The key things to remember are that newly planted sod will dry out faster, be impacted by wind and sun more efficiently, can be damaged by wildlife, and has much growing to do to survive; giving it enough water at the right time will keep it healthy.
Knowing When to Water New Sod
With this in mind, it is easy to see that new sod will need a lot of pampering as it starts to become established. You will need to water your new sod as soon as it is installed. Ideally, this is within an hour, preferably less, so the roots do not dry out, and the grass doesn’t become more stressed than it already has become.
You will need to give enough water to soak at least three inches into the grass and soil. Plant roots grow naturally, but they will try to grow until they reach reliable water sources. So, the deeper you water, the deeper the sod roots will go and the stronger your sod will become. If you water too shallowly, the roots will remain near the surface of the soil, and even once the sod is established, it can quickly dry out during warm summer seasons.
How Often You Should Water Your Lawn
But how often should you be putting water down in your yard? Water your new sod at least three times a day, for at least 15 to 20 minutes, in a slow and steady watering pattern that won’t flood or wash away the soil or sod. This should be done for the entire first week your new grass is in your yard.
Always remember that deep watering is ideal, so you may need to adjust the time for each watering based on what your irrigation system can put out. Also, remember that warmer weather means more water is needed, and cooler weather means watering can be less frequent.
During weeks two and three, you can drop the amount of watering per day back to two times. It is still important to do deep watering as you want to encourage the grass roots to grow as deeply as possible. A root strength test can be done between two and three to check for this.
You know the roots are attached to the ground when pulling the sod is difficult. Don’t yank on it, as you don’t want to rip it up, and it is more about whether there is any resistance when you try to do so.
By the fourth week, you can safely move to water your new lawn once a day for a few days, then allow two to three days between waterings. This will help the sod get accustomed to normal rain patterns and will help harden off the sod and complete the final establishment. The lawn will, however, still need watering at least two times a week provided the weather is not overly hot and arid or there have been no significant rainfall events.
Watering Schedule and Time For Your New Sod
The time of day you water new sod is also very important. Watering too early in the day or late at night can negatively impact your grass. You will likely have to alter regular irrigation times and your schedule to ensure proper watering times for the first two weeks.
Water in the early morning with deep watering is the best time to give your lawn a good soaking. This allows as much water as possible to sink into the soil rather than evaporating in the sun and being blown away by midway winds.
A midday watering might not put as much water into the ground due to the sun and heat, so it might need to go a little longer than morning watering. The final point to remember with scheduling watering for your new sod is not to let the ground be soaked overnight, as this can promote mildew and rot in the sod.
Additional Tips for How Often to Water New Sod
Consistent watering is critical for new sod, but too much of a good thing can be bad, and you need to ensure your daily watering routine is the best that it can be. Ensure that water reaches all areas on your new lawn and that there are no areas drying out or getting missed with the current sprinkler layout. Avoid runoff and maximize water use by adjusting sprinkler timing to do slow soaking waterings over a more extended period if the lawn seems to be ponding or running off into the street or sidewalk areas.
Releasing less water per cycle allows more water to get to where you want it- in the soil to the grassroots and not on the road. Also, be mindful of the weather, as a cloudy and overcast day might allow you to skip a later watering if the lawn is still moist come early evening.
Likewise, suppose it rained for a few hours that day. In that case, you should turn off your irrigation system to ensure you are using water effectively by running it while it is raining or immediately following a rainstorm.
Contact the Lawn Pros for a Happy Lawn Today
When growing your lawn, a lot goes into keeping it looking great. To get a green lawn you can be proud of, special care and attention are needed initially, as new sod needs a lot of pampering to get established and stay healthy. If you have questions about your lawn care routine or need help with new sod installation, call your local lawn care experts today and see how easy it can be to get a beautiful lawn you can fall in love with.
What do you think?
Now you know how often to water new sod? Let us know in the comments if you have any more tips.
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