Laying new sod isn’t simply an improvement to your yard, it’s an investment in your home. You want to protect that investment by watering and caring for it properly.
Texas weather can be hot and dry at times and may require extra care and attention for newly laid sod. Let’s take a look at the main components to keep in mind when caring for freshly laid sod.
JC’s Landscaping LLC is your go-to in the DFW Metroplex area for Proper Sod Installation!
Watering After Installation
Proper watering after new sod installation is important to ensure that the turf gets established and will flourish in the future. The main idea is to promote root growth so the sod “fastens” itself into the topsoil.
Curious to learn more about the installation process? Check out our helpful article that explains How to: Sod Grass.
Overwatering can actually cause more issues than underwatering, so careful monitoring is essential.
You should begin watering within a half hour of the sod being laid. Water at least one inch deep so the soil beneath the turf can get wet. Ideally, the soil should be moist 3 to 4 inches below the surface.
You can test for this by carefully peeling back a corner of the sod and sticking a screwdriver down into the soil. It should give easily and be damp 3 to 4 inches up the shaft of the screwdriver.
This method only works the first few weeks before roots take hold. Afterwards, you can just stick the screwdriver directly into the grass. You can also use a rain gauge to monitor how much irrigation your watering schedule is providing.
First Two Weeks
For the first two weeks after your sod has been laid, water the grass daily to keep the surface moist.
If conditions are hot, dry, or windy, watering will have to be increased to compensate. If the temperatures soar to 100 degrees or high winds are sustained for more than half a day, you can help the surface temperature by lightly sprinkling the lawn in addition to regular watering.
Using this method to cool the surface temperature will help support the lawn during extreme weather conditions. Our friends at the Texas Almanac have some great information on watering during drought conditions.
After the first two weeks, allow the lawn to dry out a day or two. When it is dry enough to walk on, you can mow it for the first time. Going forward, water the grass once daily for the first week after mowing.
Looking for some expert assistance with your next outdoor project? Check our DFW Residential Landscaping service page to find out if JC’s serves your area.
After the First Mow
After the first four weeks of mowing, or after the third time the yard has been mowed, you can slow watering to every other day or 3-4 times a week.
Most lawns thrive on 1-1.5 inches of water per week in the summer months. Research the variety of turfgrass you’ve chosen for more exact measurements. If you selected a lawn care expert such as JC’s Landscaping, you will already be equipped with helpful information about Basic Lawn Care for Common North Texas Grasses.
As with all lawn care and gardening tasks, adjustments should be made for weather and temperature fluctuations. For instance, if your area gets a lot of rain, you would cut back on watering. An increase in extended high temperatures would require more watering.
Rain gauges and soil moisture sensors can help take some of the guesswork out of when to water. Setting Your Water Sprinklers: When and How Long offers some solid advice about optimizing your watering schedule.
It is best to water early in the morning to take advantage of the grass’s natural growth cycle. Wind is also usually lower in the morning and evaporation is reduced. All of these factors contribute to the topsoil’s ability to soke in as much water as possible.
After the root system of your turfgrass is established, watering deeply and less frequently can help lead to even deeper root development. This builds your lawn’s resiliency against dry spells and harsh winters- a great example of how effective lawn care involves staying one step ahead of hazards!
To avoid runoff, water your yard in cycles. When runoff begins, shut off the water for thirty minutes or an hour to let the water soak in and start it up again until the desired moisture level is achieved.
Whether you’re watering by hand, with a hose attachment, or via inground sprinkler system, be sure the water reaches the whole area of the yard, especially the edges and corners. They can sometimes be missed and are more vulnerable to drying out than the center of the lawn.
Learn more about Heat Stress and How to Treat It.
Conversely, smaller nooks can also be more prone to pooling, which can invite insects and fungal diseases, especially in shady areas. Either way, make sure you don’t neglect the perimeters of your lawn.
If you have an inground sprinkler system, check it regularly for clog, leaks, or misaligned heads. Maintaining an effective sprinkler system is one of the most involved components of lawn care. For this reason, JC’s happily offers Irrigation Maintenance.
The main thing to remember when watering your fresh bed of sod grass is to be flexible and diligently check moisture levels.
Watering needs decrease in the spring, fall and winter. During the winter months, watering needs can be as little as once or twice a month, depending on snow and rainfall.
By paying close attention to weather and temperature changes, you can easily decipher the water needs of your lawn and keep it healthy and verdant for years to come.