The Q&A Archives: Lawn watering

Question: We recently installed a new lawn with sod complete with an inground sprinler system. For how long should we run the sprinkler now, as the sod is new, and eventually after it has matured some.

We receive full sun in the front and a mxture in the back.

We live in the east Bay of California which is a relatively hot climate and receives no rain from about May through October.


Answer: Here's how to get your new sod off to a good start:

Proper watering is essential to establishment (rooting) of your new sod. It?s nearly impossible to over water new sod! As a general rule, keep sod and soil moist all throughout the day. As much as 2 to 6 sprinklings during the day (morning and afternoon) are required until sod begins to root. Adjust for location, sprinklers, and temperature.

Stay off new sod until after the first mowing. Try cutting back frequency of irrigations just before the first mow to firm up the soil.

First mow is approximately 14 days after installation except in winter which will require a longer time before the first mow.

Mowing high is least stressful to the new sod. Never mow off more than one-third of the grass blade.


Re-adjust your watering clock or timer. Reduce frequency of waterings gradually after each mowing, while increasing minutes per watering.

Deeper, less frequent soakings will help roots grow down deeper and establish more quickly into the soil. Pull or tug on turf to check rooting.

How long to run your sprinklers really depends upon your water pressure. The goal is to apply one inch of water per week to sod once it has rooted well. You can get a reasonable idea of how much water your sprinklers put out by placing several empty tuna fish or cat food cans in various places on your lawn and running the sprinklers for 15 minutes. Go out and check the amount of water the cans have collected. If they have an inch, then running your sprinklers for 15 mintues should do it once or twice a week (in hot weather). If there's less than an inch of water in the cans, turn the water on for another 15 minutes. Keep checking the water level and eventually you'll be able to determine how long to keep the sprinklers on.


? Sod not rooting? ? Most sod varieties will begin to root within 10 to 14 days. Check watering schedule and adjust to deeper, less frequent soaking. Excessive shade will slow down rooting.

? Bluish-grey spots on lawn or footprints show after being walked on ? Drought stressed spots in the lawn. Try increasing minutes per watering and check or adjust sprinkler coverage.

? Mushrooms? ? Temporary nuisance, usually growing in compost mixed into the soil at preparation. As waterings get deeper and less often, mushrooms usually dry up and wither away.

? Edges turning brown and/or gaps between rolls? ? Sod is shrinking or has pulled up at the corners. Due to lack of water! Increase minutes per watering and frequency to minimize gaps.

Hope this information helps!

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