Laying sod is one of the best ways to create a beautiful lawn, but you need a great deal of care to ensure that it roots well and grows into healthy turf. As a result, it’s important to know how to water your new sod properly.
You cannot water new sod in the evening because the excess water will stagnate instead of evaporating. Instead, water your sod early in the morning and again in the late afternoon before the sun sets if a second watering is necessary.
Leaving stagnant water in your sod can cause a fungal infection, and if that happens, you might have to reinstall it. In this article, I’ll go over how you should water your new sod to help it develop stronger roots over the different stages of growth, so read on!
The Right Way To Water New Sod
It’s important to water the ground before installing the new sod, especially if your ground tends to be very dry. Doing it about a week before you add your sod will ensure that water is readily available for your new and fragile grass.
Once you’ve installed it, you need to water your sod thoroughly. Deep watering is naturally good for the grass as it needs water to grow, but it also has the added benefit of allowing water to penetrate past the topsoil.
As a result, the roots of your new sod’s roots will be encouraged to go deeper into the soil in search of water. Deep roots will allow your lawn to withstand difficult conditions, including drought.
The best way to water your new sod is to set up a schedule that ensures that the sod is thoroughly watered, especially in the first few weeks after installation. Ideally, the water should soak through the topsoil and into the ground.
Still, managing how much water you add is vital, as overwatering can be just as bad as underwatering.
Too much water can lead to stagnation and disease just as much as watering at the wrong time can. You can learn more about overwatering your lawn in this article that explores if it’s possible to overwater new turf: Is It Possible to Water New Turf Too Much?
Take care never to let the soil layer dry out. While the roots establish, your turf will struggle to absorb water, making young grass more vulnerable to drying out.
An ideal watering schedule will keep the ground consistently moist, which will also maintain ambient humidity and hydrate the grass.
To do this, you should water the new sod frequently and lightly for the first few weeks. Then, increase the quantity of water and the time between waterings gradually.
Slowly work up to applying about 1-1.5 inches (2.54-3.81 cm) of water a week. Remember to factor in rainfall when planning a watering schedule. If you expect regular rainfall while the sod is establishing its roots, reduce the amount of water by the corresponding level of rainfall expected.
When To Water Your New Sod
The watering schedule will differ based on the type of soil and weather conditions of your area. Clay will retain more water than sandy soils, so it may need to be watered very lightly and more frequently to allow the soil to absorb water.
In hot weather, you’ll need to water more frequently to counteract water loss from evaporation. Always wait for the water to soak through the sod’s soil and into the ground before you water again.
- Start watering your sod on the first day. You can water your sod soon after the installation, as the hydration makes it much easier for the sod to adjust to its new surroundings.
- Water your sod twice a day or more for the first week. Peel back the sod periodically to ensure the water has penetrated through the soil into the ground and that the ground stays moist. You can water the sod up to five times a day if necessary, but water lightly every time. The more frequently you water, the lighter your watering should be.
- After the roots start growing, water every alternate day. The roots should start growing about ten days to two weeks after installation. Peel the sod back gently to check for root growth every day till you see the white roots. Meanwhile, keep the soil moist.
- By the third week, water every 3 or 4 days. By now, the sod should have rooted and will benefit from deeper, more thorough waterings. Allow the soil to dry a little between waterings as well.
- At week four, only water your sod once a week. By this time, your sod should be an established lawn. You can help it grow healthier and more resilient with deep and thorough watering. Ensure you allow the first few inches of soil to dry after each watering. This encourages the grass to grow deeper roots while preventing overwatering.
The Right Time To Water New Sod
Water your new sod early in the morning to give it the best chance to absorb all the water it needs. This means watering your grass before 10:00 AM or even before 8:00 AM in hotter climates.
Early morning waterings help the grass acclimatize better to the water’s temperature since it is still wet and cool from the dew. Most importantly, watering in the morning allows the water time to be absorbed into the soil. The sun will evaporate the excess water as it gets hotter over the course of the day.
Watering at midday is not ideal as most of the water evaporates before it can soak into the soil. You can learn more about the inefficiency of watering during the day in this article, where I explain how direct sunlight can affect watering: Should You Water Your Grass in Direct Sun
Watering new sod in the evening is also not ideal because the excess water doesn’t have the time or heat it needs to evaporate entirely. Instead, the water sits in the grass and soil overnight and may flood the fragile roots, drowning the grass.
It may also cause several bacterial and fungal infections.
How Much Water Does New Sod Need?
You should water new sod until the soil remains moist and the water seeps into the ground. At this point, you want to avoid soaking the soil thoroughly as the roots of the grass haven’t grown in yet.
As a general rule of thumb, water your lawns with 1 inch (2.54 cm) of water a week. The water should soak about 6-8 inches (15.24-20.32 cm) of the soil.
Based on this, you can start with a quarter of that in the first week for new sod. Spread this out over several equivalent watering sessions.
After the sod roots, increase the watering volume to 0.5 inches (1.27 cm) of water a week, including rainfall. Once the lawn is fully established, you can water the ground with about an inch (2.54 cm) of water a week.
Remember that this amount is a general estimate, and you may need more or less water per week depending on the temperature, soil type, and various other factors. Watch for signs of wilting, and ensure that the ground is moist, not soggy.
What Type of Sprinkler Is Best for New Sod? (PAA)
Watering new sod by hand is difficult, especially since you won’t be able to apply the water evenly across the yard. This makes sprinklers an ideal solution to keep your new sod hydrated.
Oscillating sprinklers are the best type of sprinkler for new sod because these can work with any water pressure, cover a reasonably wide area, and ensure even watering. These sprinklers will ensure that all parts of your new sod are watered to the same degree.
The installation cost is relatively reasonable, and if you’re worried, you can hand water the areas the sprinkler doesn’t reach, like the corners or tucked away areas of your lawn.
You cannot water new sod in the evening as it can lead to root rot and disease. Instead, water your sod in the early mornings and again in the late afternoon before the sun sets. Try to contain additional watering between these times during the first weeks as you wait for your grass to develop strong roots.
Water frequently and lightly in the beginning, but after a month of installation, you can water your sod once a week.