How Often Do You Water New Sod?
Thorough watering is crucial to your new lawn’s ability to develop strong roots. We’ll help you develop a system to stay on top of the most important part of lawn care.
Make Sure You're Watering Enough
Your new lawn needs to be watered twice a day, for about 20 minutes per session every day for at least two months. This should be enough so that your lawn gets a solid six inches of watering per cycle. The morning and late afternoon are the best times to water your lawn but remember to adjust your watering schedule to account for rainfall. Do not water your lawn in the evenings; allowing your lawn to remain damp overnight is an invitation to pests and to disease or fungus.
Always monitor your new lawn for signs of dryness and use a handheld sprayer to spot-water any areas that your sprinklers might not be reaching. Your lawn needs the most water during the first 14 weeks after being newly installed, so it’s important to be vigilant in your waterings. Remember to stay off of your lawn for the first two weeks or until after your first mowing. This will reduce stress and soil compaction so your roots can take hold.
Buy a Rain Gauge
It’s often difficult to monitor the amount of water that you’ve laid down during the course of a watering. While it’s a good rule to generally run your sprinkler for about 20 minutes per zone, it can be hard to monitor if you’re not using an in-ground system or a hose timer. The addition of a rain gauge to each zone you're watering will let you see how much water has been applied to an area throughout the day. It will also let you know how much rainfall has collected in between waterings. Just remember to empty it out at the beginning of each watering.
No Irrigation System? No Problem!
If you don’t have an in-ground irrigation system and find that it’s annoying to move your sprinkler around every 20 to 30 minutes, or if you live in an area where your watering is strictly enforced, a hose timer is a great solution. You can often find them with multiple zones so you can run multiple sprinklers, and they’ll shut off after the desired amount of watering time. There are even a few Wi-Fi options out there so you can control your hose valve from anywhere at any time.
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How to Know You Haven’t Watered Enough
If you start to see large gaps forming between your rows of sod, or if it’s pulling up at the corners, it’s a good sign that you’re not watering enough. This is a sign of shrinkage, and that means your new lawn is drying out. If you’re just seeing poor results in one area, it’s a good indication that your sprinklers aren’t hitting the mark and that some adjustments are required. Look for grayish spots on the lawn or any areas that aren’t recovering from being stepped on as well. These are early indications that your lawn isn't getting enough water.
How to Know if You’ve Gone Too Far
While your new lawn needs plenty of water, it is possible to overdo it. Too much water can lead to rot and actually prevent root growth. If your lawn appears to be holding water, or if you’re seeing evidence of puddles in your lawn, you need to stop watering and give it time to dry out. If the ground feels spongy or if water squeezes up when you walk on it, you’ve gone too far and need to adjust your watering program to give your lawn time to drain out a little. Look for any dark brown discoloration or signs of rotting grass as an early indication of overwatering. Fortunately, turfgrass is bred to be tough. If you adjust your watering program at the first signs of over/under watering, your grass will easily recover.
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