Your beautiful new sod was just installed and you couldn’t be more excited. So, now what? Now it’s time to help it thrive — and that means implementing a detailed watering plan. For the first 30 days, you’ll need to pay close attention to the health of your sod. Follow these guidelines for details on how to do so:
In order for sod to establish the deep roots necessary to survive, it needs time. The day your sod is installed, plan to soak it completely to help the roots begin growing. Water until the soil is moist three to four inches deep. It should “squish” under your foot when you step on it.
As the days go on, you can slowly taper the amount of water you’re putting on the new sod. Continue to water thoroughly in both the morning and late afternoon, just not as deeply as you did on the first day. You want the water to reach the roots of the grass.
During this time, pay close attention to the exposed edges of sod cuttings to make sure they don’t dry out. Hand-watering these spots is always an opton if they don’t seem to be getting as much water as they need.
On the flip side, you also don’t want to over-water the sod. The goal should be to keep the soil moist, not saturated, and avoid creating any standing water. Remember, you won’t have to be this diligent forever, only 30 days. Your commitment to watering will set the stage for the sod’s health for years to come.
On the tenth day following installation, you can pare back to watering only once per day. This is the time period where diseases can pop up, so keep an eye out for circular patterns that could indicate the presence of fungus. New sod is especially susceptible so if you do notice rotting pieces, apply a fungicide as soon as possible.
Days 13, 14, and 15, are ideal for mowing your new sod for the first time. The sod roots should reach well into the soil by now. To make sure your sod is ready, attempt to lift up a corner. If it doesn’t lift easily and you see new, white roots underneath, it’s reached the proper stage of maturity. Set your mowing height higher than normal, at three inches, to reduce the amount of stress put on the sod.
Transition to watering at a rate of one inch per week, preferably in the morning. If there’s been rainfall recently, take that into account and water less than one inch.
Day 30 and Beyond
After taking great care of your new sod for the first 30 days, it should be properly established and no longer need watered frequently. If you’d like, water it at a rate of one inch per 2-3 weeks for the remainder of the growing season. Otherwise, maintain it just like you would any grass from this point on, with regular mowing, aerating and fertilizing.
If you are installing you new sod during warmer months like June, July or August, you will need to make sure to use more water than we have suggested above due to the high temperatures.
If you are considering installing new sod, reach out to our team at Shattuck Turf Farms at 515-331-4900. We’re happy to answer your questions and look forward to helping you achieve a beautiful new lawn.