When and How to Water Your New Sod for a Beautiful Lawn.
It is essential to begin watering new turf grass 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 very wet. Ideally, the soil 3 to 4 inches 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 to 4 inches, or you need to apply more water.
Watering Tip #2
Make absolutely certain that 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 center portion of your new lawn. Also areas near buildings dry out faster because of reflected heat and may require more water.
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 and hour and restart the watering on the same area, repeating as needed.
For the Next Two Weeks
Keep the below turf soil surface moist with daily (or more frequent) watering of approximately ¼ inch each. Especially hot dry or windy periods will require increased watering amounts and frequency.
Watering Tip #4
As the sod starts to knit its new roots into the soil, it will be difficult, impossible and/ or harmful to pull back a corner to check beneath the turf (watering Tip #1), 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 speed 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.
Mowing is recommended after 10-14 days if you pull on the edges and they have rooted enough to hold. Raise your mower up to avoid mowing overly short.
During The Remainder of The Growing Season
Most lawns will do very well with a maximum total of 1 inch of water a week. 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 inches.
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.
Proper watering techniques are critical! Avoid hand sprinkling because it cannot provide the necessary uniformity needed. The only possible exception to this guideline would be the need to sprinkle the surface of the grass to cool it, or to provide additional water near buildings or other heat-reflecting surfaces.
Understand the differences between sprinkler system designs because each type has its advantages and disadvantages, proper use, will be determined by the type of sprinkler you select.
In ground systems require professional design and installation and they require routine adjustments and regular maintenance to be most efficient. 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 and adequately maintained. Sprinklers that do not throw the water high into the air are usually more efficient, as are larger drop generators because prevailing winds are less disruptive of distribution patterns, the potential for evaporation loss is reduced and trees, shrubs and other plants do not block the pattern. Several times during the growing/watering season, routine maintenance is important to check for clogged outlets, leaking or missing gaskets, or misaligned sprinkler heads, regardless of the sprinkler design.
Verifying Watering Uniformity
This can be accomplished with a very simple and inexpensive method that uses only 4 to 6 flat bottom, straight sided cans (tuna, cat food, etc.) a ruler and a watch. can be accomplished with a very simple and inexpensive method that uses only 4 to 6 flat bottom, straight sided cans (tuna, cat food, etc.) a ruler and a watch. Follow these steps:
- Arrange the cans at random distances away from any sprinkler, but all within the area you assume is being covered.
- Run the sprinkler for a specific amount of time, say a half-hour or run until a specific amount of water is in at least one can, say ½ inch.
- Measure the amount of water in each can, checking for uniformity. Some variation is expected, but a difference of 25% to 30% or more, between any two cans, must be addressed by replacing or adjusting the sprinkler or relocating the system.