Home > Connect > New Sod Installation And After Care, How much should I water my new sod?
Sod landscaping
New Sod Installation And After Care

Cultivation and Grading - The entire property should be cultivated (mechanically loosen up the soil) and graded (raked smooth) so that the water will flow into the appropriate spaces. Do not cut corners on this step as the loose dirt is what your new sod will attach itself to. There are a wide variety of tools you could use to cultivate your soil. As a landscape contractor with a full service landscape company I am a bit spoiled with the tools I have at my disposal. If I were a homeowner and I had to rent a tool I would use one of two tools:
For large areas a bobcat with a harley rake attachment works well.
For small areas a dethatcher does the trick.
If you live in Homer Glen, Orland Park, Mokena, Frankfort the best place to rent tools is BI Equiptment Rental

Soil Amendments - It is important to till in no less than 2 inches of black dirt. You could use which ever tool you rented in the last step to mix the topsoil into your existing soil. We add 4 inches of premium black compost to every new sod job installation our landscape company executes.

Sod Fertilizer - Once the soil is ready for sod you should apply 75 - 100lbs per acre of starter fertilizer on top of the soil before you start laying sod.

Sod Installation - When installing new sod it is important to stagger the joints (see landscape installation picture above) and make sure all sod rolls are touching but not overlapping.
How much should I water my new sod?

This is a difficult question to answer because not all sprinklers are made equal. Most people want to know:
how much time should new sod be watered for
how many times per day should new sod be watered?

The most common answer that is given in the industry is as follows:
20-30 minutes per zone 2 times per day for the first week (and stay off the freshly installed sod)
20-30 minutes per zone 1 time per day for the second week (and limit the traffic on your new sod)
20-30 minutes per zone every other day for the third week (roll your established lawn)
60-90 minutes per zone every other week for the rest of the life of your lawn ( more often in a drought)

The common answer should work for most new sod installations.

If you want to make sure you are doing I have a few extra steps for watering your lawn I suggest.

Rules of thumb for watering sod and watering lawns

You want to new sod to glue itself to the loose soil so lift up the corner of a few rolls of sod and see how much water has been absorbed. If the loose soil under your sod is still dry you watered enough to keep the sod alive but not enough for it to start establishing a good connection. If the loose soil has absorbed more than 2 inches of water you are watering new sod too much.

Once the new rolls of sod no longer pull up easily they are starting to attach to the top soil. Continue to water you sod for the same length of time (you determined how much time to run each zone in the last step), just cut back from 2 times per day to 1 time per day. Do this for one week and then your sod should be treated the same way you treat the rest of your lawn.

Again, not all sprinklers are created equaly. The amount of time you rune each zone when watering an established lawn may vary from location to location. I recommend that homeowners saturate their soil and then let it completely dry out before watering a second time (see also: Watering guidelines for a healthy lawn - Proper Lawn Care Part 1 and Quality Lawn Maintenance = Quality Roots - Proper Lawn Care Part 2). A nice and easy way to test your soil saturation is to push an 8 inch screwdriver into your lawn if you can push all 8 inches into the soil you have done your job. Then wait until your soil is so dry you cannot push the screw drive more than 2 inches into your lawn and it is time to water again.
You can not water your new sod too much but you can water it too little. If you water your sod too little it will shrink, leaving you with un attractive gaps that can become problematic (see illustration below)
Sod landscaping


Article and Illustrations provided by Scott Flanagan


If you are looking for new sod installation give scott flanagan landacape a call today 708-460-5884
Scott Flanagan Landscape    708.460.5884    sfl@scottflanaganlandscape.com