Watering Guide for New Sod
PROPER CARE OF YOUR NEW SOD DURING THE FIRST FOUR WEEKS IS CRITICAL.
DO NOT ALLOW THE SOD OR SOIL UNDERNEATH TO DRY OUT AT ANY TIME. IT MUST BE KEPT SOAKED AT ALL TIMES.
NO PEOPLE, PETS AND/OR MACHINERY (except for when mowing) ARE ALLOWED ON THE SOD DURING THE FIRST FOUR WEEKS.
On the FIRST DAY (24 hours), THOROUGHLY SOAK the sod so that the FIRST ½ INCH OF UNDERSOIL IS WET. Ideally, you will pull back the edge of the sod in an indiscrete corner to check the moisture of the undersoil. (Note: The edges of the lawn are usually the areas that don’t get enough water during the establishment phase.) The AMOUNT OF TIME it will take to obtain this DEGREE OF MOISTURE will DEPEND on a few things: 1) Your soil conditions (is your soil naturally clayey or dry?) 2) The grade of your lawn (Is your yard flat or on a hill? The later will likely require more watering due to run off.) and 3) Current WEATHER CONDITIONS. (If it is hot out, i.e. above 80 degrees, you may have to water several hours in the morning and again in the evening with a sprinkler.)
YOU NEED TO CONTINUE TO THOROUGHLY WATER YOUR LAWN FOR THE FIRST FOUR WEEKS. Be sure to take natural rainfall into account. (A rain gauge is helpful to do this to help accurately determine how much rain has actually fallen.) Note: Some villages have watering restrictions in place (i.e. every other day watering bans.) Check to see if your village allows for exceptions in the case of newly installed sod.
THE FIRST MOW should take place when your newly installed sod reaches 3” tall. Allow your yard to dry out a bit for a day or two before the first mow. Your lawn should be able to withstand your weight and that of the mower without making any indentations or ruts when you run the mower over it. (Hint: If you can feel the soil “move” under your feet, it is still too wet.!!!) Set your mower to the highest setting and be sure to bag any clippings. Mow the ENTIRE LAWN, not just sections.
After mowing, continue to soak your lawn until it is time for the next mow. Again, allow your yard to dry out a bit prior to mowing. Continue to spot check areas to ensure that the first ½ of undersoil is still wet. Pull back a little piece of sod at the edge of your lawn if you need to.
Assuming “normal” summer conditions (i.e. sufficient sun and moisture), you will need to mow your lawn on at least a weekly basis.
By the third or fourth week after installation, while you need to continue to deeply and thoroughly water your yard, the frequency of watering should have decreased to every other or every two days (depending on the temperature.)
After 30 days, your lawn should be fairly well established. However, it will still require a deep, thorough watering once or twice a week (duration of the watering will likely be influenced by heat and natural rainfall.) Continue to keep foot traffic and pets to a minimum as the lawn is still tender.