May 8, 2008

Just a quick update here about watering your new sod!

Watering new sod is extremely important and deserves a quick update here. When sod is harvested, placed on a pallet, delivered to a new site, and then transplanted, it becomes stressed out as you can imagine. One of the best things you can do is to plant it as soon as possible because when the grass is stacked on a pallet it generates heat in all those layers. If left on the pallet too long (more than a day in the Summer) that heat will start to cook the grass and it will start turning brown. So step number one is to plant it as soon as possible!

Sod about to be installed

The next step is to water it properly. By the time the grass gets to your site it will be thirsty and be starting to dry out. You don’t want the dirt on the block of grass to get dry and hard. Dry dirt is hard on the roots. So put a sprinkler out as soon as you finish laying the sod down. If you are doing a very large area then put a sprinkler down as soon as you have an area down big enough for the sprinkler and it won’t be in your way of the other areas you are still planting. The sprinkler needs to stay in place long enough for the grass to get 1.5 to 2 inches of water which is hard to measure with a sprinkler so we just tell people to leave the sprinkler in place for a minimum of 1 hour, maybe 2 depending on how much water your sprinkler puts out. Then move the sprinkler to another area. Be sure to overlap the watered areas otherwise you will have dry spots and the grass will turn yellow.

Keep moving the sprinkler around the yard until you have watered the entire yard. Then it will be time to start over again. The first 2 weeks are extremely critical for newly planted sod. You don’t want the grass to dry out at all during these 2 weeks. After the first 2 weeks you can cut way back on watering to once a week or once every two weeks really but the first couple weeks are critical to keeping the grass alive. Without water, newly planted grass will start to wilt and turn yellow/brown within a matter of hours. We have pictures of yards where grass was planted and a sprinkler was placed on it and the grass looks good and green and the area right next to it that has not been watered yet is already starting to lose some of its green color.

As an example of how fast newly planted grass can start wilting here is a picture of newly planted Celebration bermuda grass.  The installation has just been completed and the irrigation system has been turned on but they can’t turn on all the sprinklers at one time so some of the grass has been sitting in the hot sun for an hour or so.  You can already see a difference between the grass that has gotten water and the grass that is waiting for its turn!

Watered vs. not

Hope this helps someone out there. Please call us if you have any questions! We cannot stress enough that you need to water your sod immediately after planting it!


Scott Murff