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Monday, July 3, 2017

Water Bermuda Grass Sod Once Daily but Thoroughly

Q. When laying hybrid Bermudagrass sod, does it make sense to water two or three times on hot days?
A. Freshly laid bermudagrass sod should be watered once a day. Make sure the soil beneath the sod is wet and not just the sod itself. Bermudagrass is a very fast grower and loves the heat when it's roots are in wet soil and there is plenty of nitrogen fertilizer.. Avoid sprinkling the sod just enough to wet it. It needs more water than that.

This was tall fescue sod laid in the middle of summer on very hot, dry soil. The hot dry soil burned the roots of the sod causing dead patches like a disease. Fescue sod is hard to establish during the heat. Bermudagrass and other warm season grasses like St. Augustine or zoysia should be laid during the early heat of summer..
            Water and nitrogen. Bermudagrass sod needs water and nitrogen fertilizer so that its roots can “knit” into the soil beneath it. When watering, make sure enough is applied to wet the soil several inches beneath it. As you begin mowing, increase the amount of water applied and try to water every other day during the heat. This forces its roots to grow deeper and the grass will become more drought tolerant.
            Hopefully a phosphorus fertilizer was applied to the soil before laying the sod. If not, then apply one now. Use a single application of 16-20-0 at a rate of 2 to 3 lbs of fertilizer per 1000 square feet and water it in immediately after application. 

            Applying nitrogen fertilizer frequently. Apply nitrogen fertilizers once a month during establishment. Apply 21-0-0 at 3 lbs per 1000 square feet. Once the lawn is established in about 3 months, reduce fertilizer applications to three or four times per growing season.

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