After sod installation, how often should the lawn be watered?
Download - Caring for your New Sod Lawn
To help understand the underlying concepts behind our guidelines for watering new lawns, consider the following analogy. Think of the roots of your newly installed sod lawn as straws through which the plant drinks water. The roots grow into the soil, which can be considered a glass of water for this analogy. Now imagine yourself drinking from a very tall glass with a straw that will only reach 1/2 inch deep. In order for you to get enough daily water, you will need to fill the glass with small amounts of water numerous times throughout the day. As time passes, your straw gets longer and you can access water from deeper in the glass. The longer your straw, the less often you need to fill the glass. Ultimately, your straw can reach the bottom and you are able to fill your glass with the full amount of water once every other day.

This is very close to what is going on with your new lawn. At first, the roots are very shallow and cannot access the deeper water. To keep the lawn hydrated you will need to water 3 times per day for short periods of time. In the second week, the roots have begun to penetrate deeper into the soil and you can water less often (2 times per day). In the third week the roots are even deeper and you can water once per day. Ultimately your lawn will be established and you should be able to water every other day if you increase the time appropriately.

Be careful not to over water your new sod lawn. Too much water can deprive the roots of oxygen and retard development or possibly even kill the lawn. During the warm humid summer months, too much water can increase the likelihood of disease. If you are concerned that you may be applying too much water, reduce the watering time until you begin to see lawn wilt, than increase your time by a small amount.

Because of the differences between irrigation systems, soil types, weather conditions, and site conditions, we cannot accurately estimate irrigation times for you. Follow our lawn watering guidelines and learn to recognize when your lawn is dry.
How should I water my established sod lawn?
After your lawn has become established (approximately 6 to 8 weeks), water according to the following guidelines:
Water as infrequently as possible (once or twice a week in the cooler months, three or more times per week in the warmer months).
Water for as long as possible to get deep soil penetration (up to 30 minutes). It may be necessary to cycle irrigate if runoff occurs after just a short time. To cycle irrigate, water until runoff occurs, then stop and wait for the water to penetrate (usually 1 to 2 hours), then repeat.
Water as early as possible - first thing in the morning. Do not water between 4 pm and 4 am.
Do not water areas in the shade as frequently as the areas of your lawn that receive full sun.
Be sure to watch for a blue-gray tint and limp areas in your lawn. This is not a fungus. It is caused by dehydration and is an indication that immediate watering is needed. This will usually occur on tops of mounds, or areas where sprinkler coverage is not adequate. (It is acceptable to water in full sun; it will not burn the blades.)
What should I know about mowing sod?
New Installation Mowing Tips:
Begin mowing weekly one week after installation. Using a rotary mower cut sod at a height of 2 to 3 inches, A sharp mower is essential - white or yellow grass blade tips are the result of a dull mower. Always remove the grass clippings or use a mulching mower.
Established Mowing Tips:
One of the keys to maintaining a beautiful lawn is in the mowing. Mower height, sharpness, cleanliness, and mowing schedule can make the difference between a lush green lawn and a brown weed infested one. The following are mowing tips that will help keep your sod lawn looking it best:
  Sharpness: Mower blades must be maintained in sharp condition to keep your lawn looking its best. Dull blades do not cut evenly, which results in damaged blades that will give the lawn a brown cast. A sharp mower will leave the grass blade with a straight tip and minimal damage or browning.
  Height: Mowing height can vary significantly depending on the lawn variety and your site and seasonal conditions. If you have shade, increase the mowing height somewhat. During the warm growing months, you may find that you have to increase your mowing height gradually as the season progresses. If so, you can gradually reduce the height again during the cooler months starting in December.
  Cleanliness: Make sure your mower is clean of weeds and other contaminants prior to cutting your lawn.
  Schedule: Most lawn varieties require weekly mowing during the growing season. Letting your lawn get too tall between mowings can cause damage. In general, it is not recommended to mow off more than 1/3 of the blade height. Be careful not to allow your lawn to get too tall between mowings!

Download Turfgrass Management Calendar