Keeping New Sod Hydrated

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Keeping your new sod hydrated after installation is essential to keeping your new lawn green and healthy.

Touch the ground beneath your fresh sod by peeling back a corner. Water should have reached the new sod’s soil layer, and the ground should be moist/wet with a slight “give” when walked on. The idea is to keep fresh sod “saturated like a sponge” until roots grow and resistance is felt from the roots anchoring your new sod to the soil. You’ll need to water your new sod every morning with 1-2 more watering cycles throughout the day (depending on the grass type and environment). These extra afternoon watering cycles aim to keep your grass moist for the first 2-3 weeks until it is well-rooted.

You should lower your watering times if your lawn is spongy, you’re leaving footprints, or water is running out from beneath the sod. Root formation can take anywhere from two to three weeks of daily watering in the summer to as long as two to three months if you’ve planted dormant sod. You’ll notice white roots as you continue to peel off a corner (check different corners each time), and pulling up a corner will become increasingly difficult. When you can’t pull up a corner any longer, gradually wean off the vigorous watering over the next few weeks. Once the sod is established, warm-season grasses (bermuda, centipede, and el toro zoysia) will require 1″ of water each week.

  • To keep new sod moist in higher temperature weather, it may need to be watered 2-3 times each day.
  • Rain only sometimes produces enough water. Use a rain gauge to monitor how much precipitation falls during a storm, and continue to sample under random sod layers to see if the ground is wet under the sod. Even if it “rained” that day, get out the sprinkler and water if it’s dry under the sod.
  • Because heat travels from paved surfaces, neighboring sod will dry up significantly faster than the rest of the new yard. As a result, keep a close eye on newly laid sod surrounding driveways and walkways.
  • If the weather is overcast and cool, your sod will dry out slower.
  • Check your fresh sod’s moisture at least twice a day, preferably in the morning and afternoon. If it appears to be drying out, water more often.

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