WATERING NEW SOD/SEED
Watering is perhaps the most important part of the sod installation. Since sod needs time to develop its root system, watering must be frequent for the first two weeks
Water new sod immediately. Rule of thumb is everyday for the first week or so, then everyother day until the sod can not be pulled up. Water at least a a inch per day, use a plastic rain guage to make sure you are watering the correct amount, these can be found at any home center.
For the first two weeks after the 1st watering, the goal is to never allow the soil under the sod to dry out. In summer, this means watering up to 1.5" inches daily.
It is hard to over-water new sod, but if you have puddles forming you should cut back as this is too much water.
WHEN TO WATER
About one inch of water per week (including precipitation) is adequate for maintaining a healthy lawn. Use a can or rain gauge to help determine the amount of water applied by the sprinkling system and supplied by rainfall.
Don’t use a fixed schedule for lawn watering. Apply water only when it is needed. Over watering can promote diseases and affect the health of the lawn.
A simple test for determining if grass needs water is to walk on the lawn and if you leave footprints, it may be time to water the lawn.
Using a spade or gardening tool to check soil conditions 2 to 6 inches below the surface can provide information on soil moisture and the need to water.
A good soaking once or twice a week is better than watering every day. Allowing the soil to dry between watering will allow the roots to grow to greater depths and help make turf more drought tolerant.
BEST TIMES FOR LAWN WATERING
Water during the cool part of the day to minimize water lost to evaporation. Early morning hours (4 a.m. to 8 a.m.) are the best, and the peak water consumption hours (4 p.m. to 9 p.m.) should be avoided.
Avoid watering during midday hours when it is hot and sunny to prevent scalding the turf.
Watering at night is not recommended because the lawn stays wet for a long period of time which can promote diseases and affect the health of your lawn.
Avoid watering during rainy or windy weather conditions.
AUTOMATIC LAWN WATERING SYSTEMS
An automatic timer is part of most buried sprinkler systems, but can be added to any sprinkler system for a very low cost. Automatic timers make it easy to set sprinkling systems to apply specified amounts of water during the best times of the day.
Set systems to turn on between 4:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. in the morning.
Set the system to turn on for three 10 minute sessions with each session 2 hour apart toimprove water infiltration and reduce runoff.
Equip the system with moisture sensors so the system does not turn on when it is raining. Set the automatic timer to water every 3 or 4 days adjusting the time and frequency, asneeded, to accommodate changes in seasonal water demand.