Before laying sod, make sure that you have an irrigation system that is working properly, whether it’s a sprinkler attached to a hose or a true in-ground irrigation system. The sod and the soil below it will need to remain moist in order for the roots to grow and the sod to take. After your sod has been laid, it’s time to water.
Day of Installation
After installation is complete, it is critical to begin watering. The water needs to penetrate the sod and go close to 4 inches into the soil. This will require watering more than once in the same day. Check the moisture in the soil by lifting the corner of the sod and sticking a screwdriver into the ground under the recently rolled sod, it should come out damp. Water as many times as needed to keep the soil deeply penetrated.
Continue to water during the first week two to three times a day, and periodically check the soil moisture below the sod. Once the roots begin to knit, continue to water the sod regularly. After two weeks, cut back watering to once or twice a day, but continue to monitor the soil moisture and add an additional watering if necessary.
Infrequent deep watering is better than short, shallow waterings. After about 4 weeks, water on a regular schedule. According to the Turf Grass Producers International, most turf requires approximately 1 inch of water per week, but it varies depending on the type of sod, your location and the season.
Mother Nature…Helping and Hurting
After a soaking rain, make sure it provided adequate moisture. Run the sprinklers if necessary.
If it is a windy day, you may need to water more to compensate for the drying effects of the wind. Do it in the early morning or evening when the winds are the calmest.
If the temperatures rise above 80 degrees in the first few weeks after installation, water the sod an extra time to minimize stress and be sure the soil stays full of moisture.
After the roots begin to knit, don’t pull up a corner of the turf to check the soil, as it will damage the turf. Use a screwdriver to check it through the sod. Also, watch water run-off on sloped areas. There are no roots to capture the water, and the soil may not be adequately moist. If run-off is occurring, turn off the water, wait 30 minutes and then water again. Repeat if necessary. Keep an eye on the corners and edge--they may be missed by your sprinkler system.
Notice your footprints. If they are still there after a half-hour, the lawn needs water. If they disappear in a few minutes, there is enough water.
Too much water can kill the sod as much as too little water. Keep a careful eye on it for a few weeks after installation.