There are two methods of checking the moisture content in your soil. Also check out What We Recommend for your New Sod and your New Seed.
The first is to remove a soil sample using either a spade, a trowel or an apple coring-like device. The sample should be deep enough to be representative of more than just the top layer of soil. Depending on the size of the plant, try to get at least 2” to 6” sample of soil. If the soil sample is hard and crumbles, it is too dry. If it is muddy or sopping, it is too wet. If the soil is firm and moist enough to hold a ball when it is squeezed, it is about right.
The second method for checking soil moisture is to use a probe. A root feeder, curtain rod or even a long kitchen knife make sufficient probes. Try to push the probe as deep as possible into the soil. If the probe is muddy or wet when withdrawn, the soil is too wet. If the probe enters easily and is reasonably clean when withdrawn, conditions are about right. If the probe will not enter easily, the soil is too dry.
Visual inspection of the plant will also provide clues as to its water requirements. Dry, wilted leaves signify too little water. Wet, wilted leaves are a sign of too much water. There may also be a moldy, rotten smell emanating from the soil when there is too much water present.
When watering, apply sufficient water so that the soil containing the roots is thoroughly moist. Between waterings, allow the soil to dry enough so that it is only slightly moist but not so much that it is bone dry. The larger the plant, the more water is required and the longer it will take to dry sufficiently. The amount applied will also vary depending on the weather and soil conditions. Hot, dry days mean more frequent waterings. Cool and moderately wet periods, less watering. It is always a good idea to check the soil before and after watering, until you have a better idea of how much water your plant requires.
As a general rule, newly planted trees, shrubs and evergreens should be watered twice or three times a week, depending on the weather, as described above. This schedule should continue for about one month. After the first month, use the method described above to determine if the plants need water.
Note: In a very hot and dry season, any plants planted that spring or previous winter should be checked regularly for water requirements. Even though they have established new root systems, drought generally affects the most recently planted material first.
Proper watering during the first growing season is the single most important factor in successful transplanting. If you are uncertain, concerned or have any questions, do not hesitate to call us immediately.
What We Recommend for your new sod.
Watering. It is critical to keep new sod constantly moist. In hot, dry weather, water each area several hours a day. After the first cutting, the new sod should receive at least 1 inch of water over the course of a week, either from rain or sprinkling.
Cutting. New sod should not be cut until it is established. This is approximately 2 weeks. To test, tug gently on a corner of sod. If there is resistance, the sod is established. Allow grass to dry for a day or so before mowing. Mow and maintain at a height of 2-1/2” to 2-3/4”.
Fertilizing. The new lawn should not be fertilized for the first three months. After that, it should be fertilized three to four times per year. Contact our company for a price on a complete fertilizer and weed control program.
What We Recommend for your new seed.
There are many factors that can affect the germination of your newly spread grass seed. Lack of moisture and cool weather tends to delay sprouting, and overwatering and high temperatures tend to create a potential for disease. Rember to avoid walking on the lawn during this period and for several weeks after.
Watering. For the first three weeks: water lightly twice a day to keep the seed moist. If excess water begins to run off or erosion occurs, turn off the sprinkler immediately. After three weeks, the turf should receive one inch of water during the course of a week, either from rain or sprinkling.
Cutting. Your new lawn should not be mowed until it is at least 3 inches high. At that time, mow with the mower on the highest setting. Allow grass to dry for a day or so before mowing. Subsequent mowing should maintain lawn at a height of 2-1/2” to 3”.
Fertilizing. After the third cutting, broadleaf weeds can be sprayed. Fertilize on a regular basis.