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Give Your New Sod a Head Start: A Day-by-Day Watering Guide

Person adjusting a lawn sprinkler with water spraying on green grass

Congratulations on your beautiful new sod! Like a newborn, your new lawn needs consistent care and attention during its first few weeks to thrive.

Watering plays a critical role in establishing a strong root system, promoting healthy growth, and preventing the sod from drying out. Following a consistent watering schedule during this crucial period is essential for success.

This guide provides a day-by-day breakdown to get you started. However, it’s important to remember that climate and soil type can influence your watering needs.

We recommend our previous article, “When does grass stop growing?” in which we explain some key factors that help your lawn be healthy.

We’ll offer tips for monitoring your lawn and making adjustments as needed to ensure your new sod flourishes.

Day-by-Day Breakdown (First Two Weeks)

Days 1-3:

Person wearing gloves giving a thumbs-up over newly planted sod

During the first few crucial days, your new sod needs frequent watering to establish a strong root system.

  • Frequent Watering for Root Development: Aim for 3-4 deep watering sessions daily.
  • Soak the Soil, Not Flood It: Each watering session should provide enough moisture to reach 2 inches deep into the soil. This ensures the roots can access the water without creating puddles or runoff.
  • Pay Attention to Edges and Sunny Spots: Newly laid sod dries out faster at the edges and in areas exposed to direct sunlight.

Days 4-7:

Close-up of a soil moisture meter in a grassy field

As the roots begin to establish, you can gradually reduce the frequency of watering

  • Watering Becomes Less Frequent: Aim for 2-3 watering sessions per day.
  • Maintain Moisture, Not Saturation: Continue providing 1-1.5 inches of water depth daily. The goal is to keep the soil moist, not saturated.
  • Introducing the Moisture Check: Here’s where a screwdriver or moisture meter comes in handy! After watering, push a screwdriver into the soil (6 inches deep). If it comes out easily with moist soil clinging to it, you’re good. If it feels dry, it’s time for another watering session.

Days 8-10:

  • Deeper Watering, Fewer Sessions: The roots should grow deeper by now. Reduce watering frequency to 2 deep watering sessions per day.
  • Aim for 1 Inch Depth: Each watering session should provide 1 inch
  • Monitor and Adjust: Regularly check the soil moisture using your screwdriver or meter.

Days 11-14:

Close-up of a cross-section of healthy green grass and soil
  • Once-a-Day Watering for Root Growth: Transition to one deep watering session daily. Deeper watering encourages roots to grow further, establishing a more robust root system.
  • Soil Moisture is Key: Monitoring soil moisture remains crucial. Adjust the watering frequency or duration based on the actual conditions in your yard.

Additional Tips:

● Beat the Heat:

To minimize water loss from evaporation, water your new sod during the cooler parts of the day.

Early mornings are ideal, as the sun hasn’t had a chance to scorch the moisture. Evenings can work too, but avoid watering too late to prevent fungal diseases that thrive in damp environments.

● Rain Gauge Rescue:

Mother Nature can sometimes lend a helping hand! Invest in a simple rain gauge to measure rainfall. After a good downpour, check the gauge and adjust your watering schedule accordingly.

You might be able to skip a watering session or reduce the duration to avoid overwatering.

We’re Here to Help! Even with this guide, you might have questions or concerns during watering. Don’t hesitate to contact our landscaping company.

Our experts are happy to offer personalized advice and ensure your new sod thrives!

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The Bottom Line on Watering Your New Sod

The first two weeks are critical for establishing a healthy root system in your new sod. As this guide outlines, following a consistent watering schedule will give your lawn the best chance to thrive.

These are general recommendations, and adjustments might be necessary based on location and weather conditions.

If you have any questions or concerns about watering your new sod, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our landscaping experts are here to help you achieve a lush, green lawn you’ll love!

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