While sod is an affordable and far superior option to traditional seeding, it does require proper care to maintain. The first few weeks after installation are the most crucial to proper settling and rooting.
- Week 1: Water 2-3 times a day
- Week 2: water 1-2 times a day
- Week 3: Water every day or every other day
- Week 4: Water 2-3 times per week to establish your ongoing schedule
Proper watering for the first month after install is the single most important step to giving your sod lawn the best possible start. Your lawn should be very wet and feel like a sponge when stepped on. In the first 3-4 weeks keep the foot traffic to a minimal. The root structure will grow and spread much quicker with less traffic. Keep the depth of wetness to at least 4”. This can be checked by pulling back a corner of turf and use a screwdriver or sharp tool to push into the soil. If it does not push in more water needs to be applied. Make certain that water is getting to all areas of your new lawn. Corners and edges can be easily missed by sprinklers.
When the temperatures reach 100 degrees or high winds are constant for more than half the day, reduce the turf surface temperature by lightly sprinkling the area. This does not replace the longer deeper watering.
Infrequent and deep watering is preferred to frequent shallow watering, because the roots will only grow as deeply as its most frequently available water supply. Deeply rooter grass has a larger “soil-water bank” to draw moisture from and this will help the grass survive drought and hot weather.
After about 2 weeks your lawn should still be lush and tall enough to mow. Let the surface dry thoroughly before you mow. Keep the blade length below 3.5”. Make sure to use sharp blades and mow in the cool of the day to reduce plant stress. Remember to never remove more than 1/3 of the leaf blade at one time.
How you water your new sod is entirely up to you. However making sure you understand advantages and disadvantages of each type of sprinkler system is important.
In-ground sprinkler system require professional design and installation routine adjustment and regular maintenance. These are great except for the set it and forget it Philosophy. This fails to account for the changing seasonal water requirements to maximize turf growth and allows operation during or following a rain storm.
Hose-end sprinklers range in complexity, cost and durability, but are highly portable and can provide uniform and consistent coverage when properly placed on the yard.
When done properly your new sod lawn will be amply trained to process water efficiently and establish strong roots.