The first watering of newly installed sod is the most important. Begin watering immediately after installation of the new sod. The first watering establishes how well the grass will perform for years to come.
When to Water New Sod
It is essential to begin watering new sod within a half-hour after it is laid on the soil. Apply at least 1 inch of water so that the soil beneath the turf is very wet. Ideally, the soil 3 to 4 in. below the surface will be moist.
Watering Tip #1
Pull back a corner of the turf and push a screwdriver or other sharp tool into the soil. It should push in easily and have moisture along the first 3 or 4 in., or you need to apply more water.
Watering Tip #2
Make absolutely certain water is getting to all areas of your new lawn regardless of the type of sprinkling system you use. Corners and edges are easily missed by many sprinklers and are particularly vulnerable to drying out faster than the inner portion of your new lawn.
Watering Tip #3
Runoff may occur on some soils and sloped areas before the soil is adequately moist. To conserve water and insure adequate soak-in, turn-off the water when runoff begins, wait 30 minutes to an hour and restart the watering on the same area, repeating as needed.
For the next two weeks (or until the turf is well rooted), keep the below-turf soil surface moist with daily (or more frequent) waterings of approximately one-quarter inch each. Especially hot, dry or windy periods will necessitate increased watering amounts and frequency.
Watering Tip #4
As the turf starts to knit its new roots into the soil,it will be difficult, and even harmful, to pull back a corner to check beneath the turf, but you can still use a sharp tool to check moisture depth by pushing it through the turf and into the soil.
Watering Tip #5
Water as early in the morning as possible to take advantage of the daily start of the grass’s normal growing cycle, usually lower wind speeds and considerably less loss of water because of high temperature evaporation.
Watering Tip #6
If the temperature approached 100 degrees F, or if high winds are constant for more than half of the day, reduce the temperature of the turf surface by lightly sprinkling the area. This sprinkling does not replace the need for longer, deeper watering, which will become even more critical to continue during adverse weather conditions.
During the remainder of the growing season, most lawns will do very well with a maximum of one inch of water a week, coming either from rain or applied water. Soil conditions may dictate that the amount be applied in two settings, approximately two to three days apart. This amount of water, properly applied, is all that is required for the health of the grass, providing it is applied evenly and saturates the underlying soil to a depth of 4 to 6 in.
Watering Tip #7
Infrequent and deep watering is preferred to frequent and shallow watering because the roots will only grow as deeply as their most frequently available water supply. Deeply rooted grass has a larger “soil-water bank” to draw moisture from and this will help the grass survive drought and hot weather that rapidly dries out the upper soil layer.
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