Sod – Proper Watering

Q: Three weeks ago I had bermuda sod installed. The landscaper set up the irrigation timers so each zone came on twice a day for five minutes. I noticed a brown patch in one corner of the yard after four days. I was at a big box nursery and mentioned this to the associate. He suggested increasing watering to fifteen minutes, with the last watering at 7 p.m. Some of the lawn is still brown. What should I do?

A: I’m sure both of them are nice people, but neither of your advisers gave you good advice. Five minutes of irrigation is useless, except maybe daily in the first week when the sod is not yet rooted. After that you should be slowly adjusting the schedule back to one deep watering (1″) per week. You have to physically measure your system’s delivery rate to find out how long it takes to put out that much water. A 7:00 p.m. watering is a sure way to promote fungal disease. The grass stays too wet for too long. Water after 7:00 a.m. to allow drying time. I have notes on how to water new sod properly at http://www.walterreeves.com/lawn-care/sod-watering-new/.