With all the new construction in the Nashville area, we've been getting lots of questions on watering new sod. The worst thing a homeowner can do is to do nothing and hope the sod doesn't die out in this summer heat! The key to sod turning into beautiful grass is proper watering for the first month.
Follow our watering tips to ensure great green grass from the start!
The first two weeks
For the first two weeks, make sure you are watering multiple times a day. During this summer heat, that could mean 5-7 times per day. We know this is challenging, so do the best you can. If you have an irrigation system, you can time these waterings. If you're doing it the old-fashioned way, get out there and water as much as you can. You may have to lengthen the duration in order to lessen the frequency if only watering 2-3 times per day. The sod needs to stay moist to avoid contracting and turning brown. These first weeks of watering aren't going to be heavy deep waterings. Since the grass and soil will be very wet, try not to walk on it as it will leave footprints and could damage the grass. Towards the end of the first two weeks, lessen the amount of times per day to 1-2 depending on how the roots are growing.
Weeks three and four
When you decrease the frequency to 1-2 times per day, you also want to lengthen the duration, meaning let the sprinkler run for a bit to get water about 4-6 inches below the surface. This will encourage root growth and contribute to an overall healthy root system. At the end of week three, water twice a day but skip a day between waterings if the soil is NOT drying out. Lessening watering frequency will transition you into a normal watering pattern. This is also a good time to start watering in the mornings. Towards the end of week four, move to watering 1-2 every two or three days.
For the rest of the season
Your lawn will need more water during its first growing season and the first six months. After the first year, it will require less water as roots grow deep and soil stays healthy and disease free. Stay on a once a day or every other day pattern during the summer and back down as temperatures start dropping in the fall.
When to mow new sod?
Once grass reaches 3.5 inches, it's okay to mow. This may be at the end of week two or not until week four, depending on temperatures and other factors. But before you mow, let the grass dry out. Stop watering about 24 hours before mowing. You'll know it's dry enough when it feels dry and firm to the touch. Then, resume watering after mowing.
Feel confident? Do you have a tip or trick that has worked with new sod? Let us know!