Your Questions About Watering New Sod

Sandy asks…

how much watering new sod?

Tony answers:

Any turf grass needs approx one inch of water per week to get established and stay healthy. To determine this put a soup can out next time you water and see how long it takes for 1″ of water to collect in the can. It might be 30 minutes, for example. That means with your sprinkilng system your sod needs watered 30 min a week. I would break that up into 2 or 3 sessions rather than all at once.
If nature helps lighten up.

Ruth asks…

How long with sprinklers do you water new sod?

I read you should water at 7am 11am and 2pm but never between 4pm and 4am. Does anyone know why that is?

Tony answers:

For new sod, about 2 inches of water per week. After established, about 1 inch per week. With automatic sprinklers, this equates to about 20 minutes of watering per day (for 2 inches).

Actually you should water early in the morning (7am). You SHOULD NOT water in mid-afternoon because you lose a lot of water to evaporation, plus in the very hot summer months you could actually cook (steam) your grass and kill it. Try not to water at night because the ground stays wet longer and could promote the growth of mold and mildew which can disease the grass and kill it. Depending on the species, some grass can handle late afternoon watering during the summer, but I wouldn’t do it after 7pm.

Nancy asks…

New Sod….Watering too much?

We have just sodded our lawn, and I am wondering how much/often I should water my lawn… can you “over do” watering, or will it cause no harm!?

Tony answers:

Sod should be watered frequently with small amounts of water to encourage rooting. Apply water at least once per day during the first two weeks after installation. Use enough water to keep the sod and the soil beneath it moist but not soaking wet throughout the day. Be extra careful during hot, dry and windy weather — newly installed sod can dry out quickly. As more and more roots penetrate the soil (carefully lift the edges of strips in several locations to check), decrease the frequency of watering but increase the total amount of water applied each time to encourage a deep and healthy root system. Hand watering usually allows you to regulate the amount of water applied better than using a mechanical sprinkler.

Mark asks…

I planted new sod in one area and wanted to know how do you temporarily cap a sprinkler head?

Since I am watering the new sod frequently, I want to temporarily cap some of the heads in the same zone that do not water the new sod. I did not want to dig up the sprinklers and cap the line, just replace the cap of the sprinkler. Lowe’s did not have anything.
I am watering every day. I live in Florida and the tempature is above average for this time of year and it has hit 90 already.

Tony answers:

How frequently are you watering the new sod? If more than once a day for only a couple of minutes at a time, you are not watering properly. New sod need deep watering once a day in the early morning, twice a day if it’s really hot outside. By deep I mean the water has to penetrate the sod down into the soil underneath to a depth of at least 2 inches. This must be done daily for at least 2 weeks to help the sod’s roots penetrate into the soil. Shallow watering does not allow the roots to penetrate the soil.
Improper watering of sod is the biggest reason for sod failure, other than not amending the soil prior to laying sod.

Charles asks…

How much should you water new sod?

How many times a day and for how long?

Tony answers:

The answer is “it depends”. Wind, temperature, and sunlight all affect the soil moisture and hydration needs of sod. Generally, fresh sod should be watered twice-a-day during its first two weeks in warm, dry, and/or windy. After two weeks, water can be tapered off to once a day. After one month, watering can be reduced to every few days.

A note of caution: observe the lawn frequently for the presence of yellowish-brown circular spots. This may indicate fungus caused by over-watering. Reduce watering and treat the lawn with a fungicide if necessary. Always remember to follow the instructions on the fungicide you purchase and apply it in accordance to the manufacturer’s recommendation.

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