Fresh sod requires regular watering to take root, but overwatering is possible. Unfortunately, excess irrigation makes the turf susceptible to fungus, pests, and diseases. New sod is delicate and requires the proper care, but like many plants it will let you know if something has gone awry. So, how can you tell if you’ve been a little heavy handed with the watering hose?
Below, you’ll discover the four common signs of overwatering new sod. After, you’ll receive some pointers when it comes to reviving overwatered sod, as well as how you can avoid the issue in the first place.
Soggy Soil or Sod
Many of the common symptoms of overwatering are also potentially the result of under-watering. This is because the sod can dry out and die. Soggy soil or sod, on the other hand, points directly to overwatering.
If you notice mushy, spongy sod or muddy areas, there’s a good chance overwatering is the issue. You should water your sod deeply and thoroughly twice a day. You might need to adjust this if you live in a hotter climate or during the summer season.
With proper care, the sod should feel moist and the soil should be damp. If the sod is completely dry, it needs watering.
Failure to Knit in Soil
If your sod is failing to knit properly, there’s a good chance that improper irrigation is the issue, whether it is overwatering or under-watering. You can determine if your sod is taking to the soil by gently lifting the corners–if it lifts easily, the roots are not established. Remember that sod roots should hold to the ground after about two weeks.
Other reasons for sod failing to establish include improperly prepared soil. You need to test the soil pH, fertilize the area, and till the soil to ensure the sod has optimal conditions for growth.
If you are growing grass on a slope, the sod may also struggle to take because of slippage. As a simple solution, use wooden stakes on each corner of the sod to help it stay in place while roots establish.
Yellow Grass Blades
Yellow grass blades, just like yellow leaves on plants, are a sign that something isn’t right. Issues include everything from root rot to pests, so it’s important to fully inspect your sod. Yellow grass alongside soggy grass and muddy soil, as well as the failure to knit, usually points to overwatering.
Yellow grass is also commonly the result of lawn diseases, such as brown patch, which are often the result of excessive irrigation. Fortunately, the solution to this type of disease is generally simple: stop overwatering your lawn, properly clean your mower, and dispose of cuttings to avoid spreading the fungus.
If the roots haven’t knit into the soil, the sod is wet, and the grass is turning yellow, it’s time to check for root rot. Root rot is generally easy to identify: brown, mushy roots, alongside the smell of decay. Unfortunately, root rot isn’t an easy fix with sod and it will need replacing. White, thick roots mean that root rot hasn’t set in yet and the turf is fixable.
How to Fix and Prevent Overwatered Sod
As soon as you notice waterlogged sod, it’s time to stop watering. If you don’t notice any soggy soil but suspect your lawn is suffering from excess irrigation, check for other signs. Remember that there may be other factors at play.
After you’ve allowed the sod to dry out, you need to change your watering schedule. The grass type, weather conditions, and the sod’s moisture levels will all impact how often you need to water. As a general rule of thumb, sod requires a deep watering when it is first installed, twice a day for 15 minutes until roots establish.
After the sod establishes, you should water in the morning to allow the grassroots time to absorb the water during the hottest parts of the day. You will need to water less during rainy seasons and more during hot seasons. You can also install a sprinkler to ensure proper coverage and avoid overwatering or under-watering. In general, most lawns require watering once per week.
To fix and prevent overwatering, you can aerate the lawn using an aerator or pitchfork to improve drainage. This will create pockets in the soil, allowing water to drain through and bring oxygen to the roots. Thatch buildup, which is dead leaves, stems, and roots, can also impact drainage and airflow. Regularly dethatch your lawn using a dethatcher or power rake to prevent overwatering.
You may need to install fresh sod if the grass is brown and dead and doesn’t return after a few weeks of proper care.
Overwatered Sod Isn’t Soiled Sod!
If you think your sod is suffering from overwatering, keep an eye out for failure to knit, rotting roots, yellow grass, and soggy soil. Remember that these signs can all point to other issues, but overwatering is likely the culprit if you notice them in conjunction with one another.
Successfully transplanting sod requires time and patience, as well as the proper watering techniques. Fortunately, it’s easy to bring sod back to life (if it hasn’t experienced root rot) and implement a new watering routine that will help it thrive and help you to avoid overwatering.
Do you have any tips for handling this issue? Share in the comments below!