watering new sod

Your Guide to Watering New Sod

What is more inviting than a long stretch of fresh green lawn? But a flourishing lawn comes with a price – regular maintenance. This article will offer you expert advice for maintaining new sod so you can enjoy a beautiful green yard for years.

The first thing you must keep in mind is that watering new sod immediately after laying is crucial. Once installed you have about 4 to 6 hours to water it. However, you may need to do this more often, depending on sun exposure. 

If you are laying sod on a large area you must start watering the portions as you lay them to prevent drying. Don’t forget that new sod has about 1/10th of the root system compared to any established lawn.

New Sod Watering Schedule

When it comes to watering sod after installation you need to keep in mind that you must not spare any water. So water the sod heavily, for 2 weeks. Also make sure the ground is saturated, not waterlogged. Don’t tread on the sod surface for at least 4 weeks.

And if you’re wondering how to water new sod then we recommend using oscillating sprinklers or an irrigation system, instead of a hose for even coverage. 

Place an empty can. ¾ to 1 inch deep, on the sod surface and water till it is full. Underneath the surface, 3 to 4 inches of soil should be wet. Pull back a corner of the sod discretely to check the moisture.


To maintain moisture during summer you need to water daily at least 3 times, at 8, 11, and 2 o’clock (early morning, mid-morning, and afternoon). Always apply water in the morning or afternoon, not at night, to deter fungal diseases. 

Besides, remember to take rain into account: it does a great job of watering sod for you. If it’s mid or late fall or winter, you generally need to water only during the first few weeks. And of course, keep in mind that you don’t need to water as frequently in cooler weather.  

Day 1

Get your sprinkler ready as watering new sod must be done in the first 45 to 60 minutes. If you have popped up irrigation heads you should be done in 45 minutes and an hour with rotors. It is advisable to water new turf for 15 to 20 minutes thrice on the first day.

Day 2 and the Next Two Weeks

You might be wondering how long to water new sod the following couple of weeks. Well, you should water your turf twice a day for 15 to 20 minutes. We recommend you irrigate early morning and at noon (preferably 8:00 am and 1 pm).

2 weeks later stop watering completely, at least for a couple of days. It will allow your soil layer to dry out a little. That way you can comfortably walk on it without fear of slipping or sinking into the ground.

Week 3

You should water every 1 or 2 days. The soil would dry out enough to walk. You can even mow the lawn at this stage.

Week 4

Generally, roots are firmly established by week 4, so you can cut back on watering. What you need now is to irrigate every 4th day or reduce the number of times you water every other day.

Overall Suggestions

After the 4th week, you can water every 5 to 7 days. However, remember to increase the watering time if you witness any browning of the blade. Keep in mind that how much to water new sod depends on the weather and the season.

Summer timetable, for >90°F:

Days since plantingFrequency of wateringRecommended scheduleHow long to water
1-14 days4 times daily8 AM & 11 AM or 2 AM & 5 AM5-10 minutes
15 to 21 daysOnce-dailyEarly morning15-20 minutes
After 21 days2-3 times a weekEarly morningTill water penetrates 8 inches deep

Winter timetable (Dominant Bermuda sod with Winter Ryegrass, for <90°F):

Days since plantingFrequency of wateringRecommended ScheduleHow long to water
1-14 daysTwice daily9 AM and 2 PM10-15 minutes
14 to 21 daysOnce, every other dayEarly morning15-20 minutes
After 21 days3 to 10 days based on the weatherEarly morningTill water penetrates 4 to 6 inches deep

How to Water and Care for New Sod: Some Tips

Now that you know how often to water new sod here are some other handy tips for a lush green lawn.

  • Keep an eye on those wilting or dry grass. Excessive sun exposure in the afternoon is a big reason for those patches of dead grass. If you witness your lawn losing its shine it needs more water.
  • Weeds are inevitable. The best way to control weed growth is a yearly program that periodically utilizes pre and post emergents to stop germination or nip weed growth in the bud. Regular watering creates an ideal condition for weed growth. So the best is to pull out new weeds whenever possible.
  • Make sure every corner of your lawn receives water. Don’t forget the edges and corners as they dry out faster. Areas touching buildings also dry out rapidly due to reflected heat.
  • In sloped lawns and certain soils water may run off before the whole yard is soaked. To reduce water wastage and to adequately moisten the soil, water the lawn in 30 to 60-minute intervals.

How Soon Can You Mow New Sod?

Don’t mow your lawn before at least 5 weeks after laying new sod. Just don’t cut the sod to close to the root – that would be disastrous. Also, you might want to change the watering schedule for new sod to cut back on irrigation a few days before mowing, but keep your lawn moist to promote root growth.

When to Fertilize New Sod?

Wait for 30 days to let the sod grow a sturdy root system. After that, you can start fertilizing the soil. For a healthy turf fertilize your lawn 3 to 4 times in the growing season.  Slow-release Nitrogen-based fertilizer is optimum, especially in spring and autumn. Fertilize the ground on Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Halloween –that way you won’t miss an application. And don’t forget to completely “water-in” the fertilizer.

Final Word

Laying new turf is a long arduous process but not an endless one. When to stop watering new grass seed then? Don’t fret the whole process takes about a month after that your beautiful lawn would be ready for barbecues and picnics. So, if you want a greener shinier lawn there is no better time! 

So, is the process of watering new sod, became more clear to you now? Or perhaps you’ve tried it already? Let us know in the comments!

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