Watering Sod

Watering Sod in Your New Lawn

How Does Your Soil Affect Your Watering Needs?

     There are 3 different types of soil, ClaySand, and Loam. Each soil type has its own properties and reacts differently to being given the same amount of water. Finding out what type of soil you have is the first step to figuring out how much water to apply. Check out this link on How the components of the soil affect a plants need for supplimental irrigation.


How Much Water Does My New Sod Need?

     Allot of factors will effect how much water your new sod will need including soil composition, rainfall, wind conditions, sun exposure and even the slope or grade of the land. Even flat surfaces of a mainly clay based soil will require allot less water to keep the new sod and the soil underneath it moist than a really sandy embankment.

     Checking the moisture level of the sod as well as the soil underneath it each day before your next scheduled watering will be needed during the first week or two to get a better understanding of how your watering is taking.

     For example, if you go out to water that sandy embankment and find that as you lift the sod the sod is dry and the top few inches of the soils surface is dry then you either need to increase your watering time or split that watering into two cycles each day instead of just one. Your water is draining out and away from the root of your new sod to quickly for it to help to root the sod in properly.

     If you go out to water the sod you just layed on a clay soil based lawn receiving some shade throughout the day you may find that the ground is still wet from your watering yesterday. When you lift up the soil it is obvious and evident that the water is still there for the roots to take in without even needing to dig down into the top few inches of the soil. In that case you can skip your watering today and check again tomorrow.

A General Guide to Get You Started…

Watering Sod That is Newly Laid

     A general rule to follow after installing new sod is to water every day for two weeks applying 3/4 of an inch to 1 inch of water at each application.

     When using your irrigation system this will require 45 minutes to 1 hour on rotor zones and 15 minutes to 25 minutes on spray zones depending on soil and sun conditions as well as local rainfall. Be sure to be familiar with how much water your irrigation system is putting out and check to ensure all areas of sod are being watered thoroughly by your system. ( use the can system mentioned below to check for areas not receiving adequate water )

     When watering manually with a hose and sprinkler you will need to find out how much water you are giving your lawn per hour. Simply place containers in several locations in the area you are going to be watering. You may our to use some old tuna cans or cereal bowls, anything you have on hand. Water for 30 minutes and measure how much water is in the containers. Adjust your watering time accordingly ensuring that your initial waterings will be 3/4 of an inch to 1 inch per application. 

Start by watering your new sod every day for two weeks, checking the soil moisture by lifting the sod gently at the corners in a few places and digging into the first inch or two of soil to test for moisture.

Then after two weeks of everyday begin to taper down to 5 days a week for two weeks followed by 4 days a week for two weeks and so on until you have properly established your new sod and it has resumed growing normally. At that time you will need to begin to wean your new lawn to an as needed basis watching carefully for sign’s of water stress and watering accordingly.

Tips on How to Water Sod on Your New Lawn:


Water Before the Sod is Layed

     When the existing turf is removed the soil will be left exposed to the drying effects of sun and wind. Moistening the soil surface before laying the sod helps not only to avoid the newly laid sod drying out but helps the water applied during and after installation to soak the ground thoroughly reducing the runoff that can occur on parched soils. Take care not to make the ground soft or in any way mushy by watering to long, and check your site, you may not need this step at all depending on recent rainfall, soil composition or sun conditions.

Water Sod During Installation

     As the workers finish laying sections of the yard, water thoroughly, soaking all the way through the sod and into the ground beneath it. Lift up small corner sections of sod pieces in different places around the new lawn to check for water saturation.

Water Sod Early in the Morning

    This will take advantage of the grass’s normal growing cycle, the lower wind speeds, and less loss of water because of high temperature evaporation that happens later in the day with the sun shining down on the grass blades.