It goes without saying that maintaining a lush lawn requires regular care. However, there is a prevalent misconception about just how much water your grass needs to remain healthy and green. You may be surprised to find that your lawn requires less water than you might think. Watering requirements for newly planted sod are very different than more established sod watering. To ensure the healthiest lawn, follow a sod watering schedule determined by your location, season and time since sod installation.

Newly Planted Sod Watering Schedules

Laying fresh sod is the quickest way to a lush, green lawn. Immediate watering is necessary to help the turf become established. However, a specific sod watering schedule will help establish deep roots to create a heartier lawn. Within a half hour of installation, new sod needs ½ inch of water, and then during the first 10 days, your new sod should be watered at least three times per day during sunlight. After that you can water less frequently, and your sod watering will depend on the season and temperature where you live. If you laid sod during a cooler time of the year you can water just two times per week. If the weather is more hot and dry, you should be watering four times per week. Allowing these breaks between watering not only saves water and money, but it encourages the roots to grow more deeply, which ultimately creates a more drought tolerant lawn. Check with your water district-some do allow extra sod watering for 30 days to establish your lawn.

Established Sod Watering Schedules

Established grass can be watered much less often that newly laid sod. In fact, grass needs only enough watering to keep it from wilting between irrigations. One inch per week is the standard or be sure to soak the sod to six inches deep when you water. You can use a screwdriver as a probe to check the depth; if it goes in easily the soil is probably moist, but if it is difficult you may need additional irrigation. You can also determine watering needs by the color of the grass. Well-watered grass will be blue-green or dark green, but grass in need of watering will have a more grey-blue hue. Keep all of this in mind as you calculate your established sod watering schedule.

Additional Sod Watering Tips

  1. Uniform Sod Watering – Corners and other areas can be missed by sprinklers, and it’s important, yet easy to ensure that all parts of your lawn are getting the same amount of water. Place small, same size containers such as tuna or cat food cans around different areas of your lawn. Run the sprinklers for a specific amount of time and compare the amount of water in different cans. If there is a significant difference, you’ll need to adjust the sprinklers accordingly.
  2. Sod Watering Times – You can also use food cans to determine how long to water your lawn. Space cans around your lawn and time the watering until the cans are filled to one inch. However long this takes is how long you should let your sprinklers run in total for the week for established grass.
  3. Sod Watering by Soil Type – Different soil types require more or less watering. Sandy soil may drain easily and need more water while soil with a lot of clay may retain water better. If you aren’t sure about your soil needs, contact our professionals at West Coast Turf for advice.

One of the most important ways to manage sod watering, is to ensure that you choose the best sod for your climate and season. Some sod does better in cooler seasons and some are developed to be heartier in warmer weather. West Coast Turf offers more than 30 different varieties of turfgrass sod and stolons, and our professionals will help you determine the right natural turfgrass sod for your lawn. Contact West Coast Turf at 888-893-TURF (8873) or visit our online shop at