Week 1 - Keep Sod Wet
It is essential to keep newly installed sod wet the first week. Water heavy the first irrigation cycle to wet the new sod and the soil profile to a depth of four to six inches. Once the lawn and soil are thoroughly wet, water 3 to 5 times a day, so the sod never dries out. Lift a corner of the sod to determine the depth of moisture. The new sod should feel spongy wet the first week. Walking on the sod will not harm it, but if you are sinking in, stay off, so you do not leave depressions.
Week 2 - Continue to Water
The second week is similar to the first-week watering three to five times a day but reducing the watering duration if you are experiencing excess runoff or puddling. Keep the new lawn moist during this time as it knits together. If allowed to dry out, new sod will shrink up, turn brown and die. If adequately watered, the roots of your new sod will penetrate the wet soil faster and root down quicker. At the end of week two, dry up the yard and mow it.
End of Week 2 - First Mowing
Your new lawn will need mowing at the end of week two. Exercise caution the first time you mow so you do not pull up the sod. Set your mower at two to three inches and mow off one-third of the height. Mow at or above two inches for the first few times. If your new lawn reaches over three and a half inches tall, mow off a third of the length even if it has not been two weeks and collect the clippings. Step down the height of cut by mowing every two to three days, lowering the cutting height each time.
Week 3 & 4 - Reduce Water
Week three and week four is a transition period to reduce daily watering cycles and extend the days between watering. During week three, start reducing watering to 1-3 times per day and skip a day between watering if the lawn is not drying out. By week four, water 1-2 times every other day. After week four, your new yard should be ready to go 2-3 days between watering unless it is a time of extreme heat and wind.
Watering the First Season
Your new lawn will use more water in the first growing season. As roots grow deeper over time, less water will be required. Deep watering cycles, less frequently, help sod develop a deep root system. It is ok to decrease the watering of your lawn after two months to see if you are overwatering. Dry it out slowly to the point you start to see some brown spots. This allows you to fine-tune the watering schedule. Increase the watering time to find the right amount. You will see stress first in areas that are receiving less water.
Read More About Deep Watering
The Best Time to Water Your Lawn
Water your lawn in the late evening, night, and early morning when less evaporation occurs, and there is less wind. To reduce runoff on slopes and allow water to penetrate soils, cut watering times in half and run two irrigation cycles an hour apart. The soak and spray method allows the water to soak into your lawn, promoting deeper rooting and a healthier lawn.
Read More About Established Lawn Care