Tips for Watering Sod
We are often asked about how to water brand new sod. How much? and when??
Here are some tips to help you determine the water requirements for new sod.
Touch the ground beneath your new sod by removing a corner. The soil layer should have been soaked through by water.
You want to keep your new sod "wet as a sponge" until roots develop and resistance is felt due to roots tamping down on your new sod.
You will need to water your grass at least once a day to keep it moist. This is depending on the type of grass and the climate. These additional, after-hours watering cycles will keep your grass moist for 2-3 weeks, until it is well rooted. They are likely to last between 15-20 minutes each cycle. Your lawn should feel slightly "give" when you walk on it.
Root formation can take a few weeks depending on the temperature. If you have laid dormant soil, it may take as much as a whole winter to get the roots formed.
You'll see white roots as you continue to peel up corners (checking different corners each week). It will become harder and more difficult to pull up corners. You can't pull up corners anymore, so you need to reduce the amount of watering. However, don't stop there. The intense watering will be gradually reduced over the next few weeks. An established lawn will need 1 inch of water per week for warm-season grasses, and 2 inches for tall fescue.
Here are some Pro Tips for Watering New Sod
Heat transfer from paved surfaces to dry the adjacent sod faster than the rest. Pay attention to watering requirements of freshly laid sod around sidewalks and driveways.
Sometimes, rain doesn't provide enough water. To determine how much rain falls in a storm, get a rain gauge. Continue sampling under random sod rolls until you determine if the soil is actually moistened by the rain. It rained enough if it is wet. If it is dry, get the sprinkler out and water it even if it has "rained" on that particular day.
Your new sod will dry slower if it is cloudy or slightly cooler outside. Take a look at your lawn from the outside.
You should check your new sod several times per day for moisture - at minimum once in morning and again in the afternoon. If it is drying quickly, water more often and scout more frequently.
Brand new sod might need to be watered 2-3x a day in high heat conditions to keep it moist.