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  • The Right Way to Water Sod

    Learn the how-tos and the how-much with these H2O tips for your Scotts® ProVista™ lawn.

The most important thing to do after laying new sod is to water it—that’s easy. But, knowing how much H2O to give it, and how often to water after the first day, is critical to success. If you’ve just installed a Scotts® ProVista™ St. Augustine lawn, get it off to a great start with these tips for watering new sod as well as some handy tools that make it easy to stay on task.

Take the guesswork out of sod care so it always looks strong and lush by enrolling in the Scotts® Program. Just answer a few questions to get set up with a plan that’s tailored specifically to your lawn type and location. Scotts will then take care of delivering the products you need at the exact time that you need them. And, if you like to set a schedule and let your phone do the reminding, you’ll love the Scotts® My Lawn app. It helps keep track of your to-do list—including when to water.

How to Water New Sod

When you first get your Scotts® ProVista™ sod, plan to lay it ASAP so it can develop a good root system. Once it’s down, keep it consistently moist for 2 solid weeks. Here’s how to water your sod correctly to avoid problems:

1. Once installed, water it immediately for 45 minutes. When we say “immediately,” we’re not being dramatic. This step is crucial for connecting your sod and soil so they begin knitting together.

2. Water at least twice a day, for 15-20 minutes each time, for 2 weeks. Plan to water once in the morning and then again in the late afternoon for the first 2 weeks. Do not let your new sod dry out during this time!

3. Pay attention to the edges of the sodded area. The corners of your yard, as well as any sodded areas right up against your house, are typically more vulnerable to under-watering. When sod doesn’t get enough water, it can fail to develop roots or, worse, die. Adjust your irrigation heads accordingly, or water by hand in hard-to-reach spots.

4. At the same time, avoid overwatering. You’ll be watering quite a bit, no question. But if you see pooling water, there’s significant run-off, or your sod appears seriously soggy, you’ve overdone it. It’s okay, though—just back off by half for the next couple waterings to let the sod dry out a bit. Keep an eye on things to make sure you’re not going too far with reducing the H2O, but typically after a few rounds like this it’ll bounce back and be ready for regular watering again.

6. Avoid activity on your sod as it’s establishing. You want to give your new Scotts® ProVista™ sod adequate time to settle into its new digs with as little stress as possible. Keep the kids, the dog, and perhaps your eager self, off your yard during this time.

6. Don’t mow your sod during this time. You need to wait at least a few weeks. If you’re not sure when to start mowing, read our article on mowing new sod to walk through the steps of what to do for your first few mows.

Tips For Watering Established Sod

While the first 2 weeks are all about getting those sod roots to take hold, the next couple months are vital to ensuring your sod truly becomes one with your yard. A watering plan will help you achieve this and keep it looking its best. Here are some tips:

  • Water earlier in the morning. Those cooler morning temps are the best for watering because your sod is able to absorb more moisture before it evaporates.
  • Water deeply and evenly. It’s better to water less frequently and more deeply than it is to sprinkle your yard with a little bit of water every day. Why? Because deep watering encourages sod to grow deep roots, which then leads to stronger, more drought-tolerant grass.
  • Aim to water 1½ inches per week. While your sod is actively growing you can either water ¾ of an inch twice a week, or the full 1½ inches once a week. If you receive that much in rainfall one week, plan to turn off your automatic sprinkler system during that time. Of course, always follow any guidelines for watering responsibly if your area is in a drought cycle.
  • Avoid overwatering. Watering too much can lead to run-off and disease issues. “More is better” is not always true! If you forgot to turn off the automatic sprinkler during a rainy week, cut back on watering for a few days and see how your sod responds—it could take up to a full week before it’s ready for another drink.
  • Look for signs that your yard needs watering. Does the sod look a little dull and gray? If so, your sod needs water. Another way to tell if sod is thirsty is to pay attention to the grass blades as you walk across your yard. Do they spring back relatively quickly, or do they remain flattened? If your sod stays somewhat flattened when you walk on it, it needs more water.

Watering new sod isn’t tricky—it simply requires following a thoughtful plan and noting any changes in weather or its picture-perfect looks. If keeping tabs on things isn’t your strong point (no judgement here!), just let the Scotts® Lawn Program and My Lawn App help. Then you can kick back, and let the good times grow.

Photo by Shutterstock/Guntsoophack Yuktahnon

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