The sooner water is applied to your new sod, the better the sod will root and survive. Ideally watering should start within 2 hours of laying your sod, even if you have not completed your project, go ahead and get water onto the area which is complete.
Watering should always be deep watering utilizing a sprinkler, applying a minimum of ¾ to 1 inch of water at a time. The roots will attempt to follow the water, so if you just sprinkle with a hose or apply just a light application of water, the roots will tend to stay just under the surface and the sod will have a hard time living when the weather gets hot during the summer.
One of the easiest ways to measure the correct amount of water is being applied is to place a tuna fish or cat food can on your lawn and collect water in it until the can is full, then, move the sprinkler and can to another area.
If the correct amount of water is applied, the sod pad should be completely soaked and several inches of the soil beneath should be wet. The area will be “soggy” or even “squishy” to walk on, so it is easier to use multiple cans to collect your measurements (use one each time you move the sprinkler to a new area). Remove the sprinkler from the watered area by pulling it to you by the hose, then pick up the sprinkler and place it on the next dry area to be watered thereby avoiding walking on the wet sod.
Except for the initial watering, all watering should be accomplished during the morning or afternoon of the day. The ideal time to water is during the heat of the day, provided ¾ to 1 inch of water is applied, since the watering also tends to cool the micro climate of the turf. Regardless of when during the day you water, you always want to make sure the turf leaf surface is “dry” before going into the cooler evenings. Limiting the time that the grass leaves have water droplets on them reduces the probability of most lawn diseases.
The number of times it is necessary to water your lawn is dependent upon the temperature. Generally the following schedule should be followed when daytime temperatures are reaching into the high 70’s or 80’s. Remember all watering should be ¾ to 1 inch per application.
- Day 1 Water as soon as possible after installing
- Day 2-7 Water everyday
- Day 8-14 Water every other day
- Day 15-21 Water every third day
- Day 22-28 Water every fourth day
- Day 29-35 Water every fifth day
- Day 36 on Water once a week until weather cools
The watering schedule above can be modified by skipping applications if the weather cools and natural rains occur. If temperatures spike into the 90’s, this schedule can be modified by delaying starting to skip days or watering everyday while temperatures remain high.