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Watering new lawn sod

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

Watering your sod begins before you lay down the strips of grass. The soil you'll be laying the sod on should be lightly moistened. If there's any delay in laying the sod, you should keep the rolls of grass moist as well. But what about after your sod is down? Watering your new sod properly is critical to the success of your lawn. So how much water does that mean? Here's the low down.

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Watering sod before it roots

Once you unroll the sod, more intensive watering begins. The University of Minnesota Extension recommends keeping your new lawn sod "moist but not saturated" until it takes root. But that's rather unspecific, isn't it? The Purdue Turfgrass Science Program gets a little more detailed: for the first two weeks after you lay sod, you need to water your sod daily. It should begin to take root somewhere between ten and fourteen days, at which point you can cut back to watering every few days, but deliver the same amount of water overall. (A deep watering helps roots push deep into the soil). How do you know for sure that your sod is finally rooted? The University of Illinois Extension offers this advice: just lift a corner of the sod. When the lawn sod resists lifting, it's rooted.

Weeds: control starts early

A final note on weeds: If you've got weeds, control them before you lay the lawn sod. Otherwise, they'll enjoy all that water. But be cautious when eliminating weeds. Control methods using chemicals can linger in the soil and damage your new sod. But once you make that initial effort to eradicate weeds, control becomes easier with sod. That thick layer of grass will block many of them from growing again.

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