Summer is when homeowners spend more time planning and thinking about their lawns and landscapes, after all, it is the active growing season! But hot, dry summer temperatures present many challenges when maintaining those spaces. Even more of a challenge is establishing new plants in those weather conditions.
With the right knowledge and diligent care, it is possible to install sod during this time period and have it thrive. Here are some things to remember when you are caring for new or recently installed sod during the high heat and low rainfall periods of July and August.
General Tips for Watering New Sod
Newly installed turfgrass sod has crucial watering needs. Proper watering immediately after installation will ensure that the turf gets established, and it will also have an impact on how well the lawn continues to flourish for years to come.
Begin watering new sod within a half hour after it is laid on the soil. Apply at least 1” of water so that the soil beneath the turf is wet. Ideally, the soil 3” to 4” below the surface should be moist.
For the next two weeks, keep the below-turf soil surface moist with daily (or more frequent) watering. Pull back a corner of the turf and push a screwdriver or other sharp tool into the soil. It should push in easily and have moisture along the first 3” or 4”; otherwise, you need to apply more water. Especially hot, dry or windy periods will necessitate increased watering amounts and frequency.
|New Sod Daily Water Schedule|
|Week 1||7:00 AM||11:00 AM||2:00 PM|
|Week 2||7:00 AM||2:00 PM|
|Week 3||7:00 AM|
As the turf starts to knit its new roots into the soil, it will be difficult, impossible and/or harmful to pull back a corner to check beneath the turf. You can still use a sharp tool, however, to check moisture depth by pushing it through the turf and into the soil.
Don’t forget these watering basics:
- Make absolutely certain that water gets to all areas of your new lawn.
- Avoid sprinkling the lawn by hand because doing so cannot provide the necessary uniformity.
- Water early in the morning, from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m., to take advantage of the daily start of the grass’s normal growing cycle.
- Infrequent and deep watering is preferred to frequent and shallow watering.
- If the temperature approaches 100°F, or high winds are constant for more than half of the day, reduce the temperature of the turf surface by lightly sprinkling the area. This sprinkling does not replace the need for longer, deeper watering, which is even more critical to continue during adverse weather conditions.
- During the rest of the growing season, most lawns will grow very well with a maximum total of 1” of water a week, coming either from rain or applied irrigation.
For more information, visit our Watering Guidelines Page.