From Seedlings to Sod: How to Water New Lawns

Newly seeded or sodded lawns require special irrigation and attention. There is a delicate equilibrium that must be maintained so the new sod can take root or the new seeds can grow strong.

You want your lawn to grow healthy and green, which requires you to be a helicopter parent for a while until its roots are strong and deep. You might want to use an app to keep track of the watering schedule or keep a very structured calendar so you don’t miss a watering.

An irrigation system will help you use only the appropriate amount of water necessary to make your lawn flourish and grow as quickly as possible. Irrigation systems are cost-effective because they help you conserve water. If you just stood outside with a hose in hand, you’d end up using more water in a less efficient manner.

Watering New Grass Seed

A newly seeded lawn should be watered daily and may need as many as four light waterings in a single day. To keep the seedbed moist, but not saturated, make sure to water to a dept of one to two inches until germination occurs. You’ll know germination has happened when there is a green cast to the lawn and seedlings are ¼ to ½ inch tall.

You need to make sure not to stress the seedlings of a new lawn to the point of wilting. Light applications of water to a depth of ⅛ to ¼ inch one to four times day.

Apply one bail of straw per 1,000 square feet at time of seeding to help shade the ground and prevent rapid drying of the soil surface. Straw will also reduce seedling damage from the force of larger sprinkler drips. It’s best to water with a light mist when you’re trying to establish a new lawn.

As seedlings reach two inches in height, gradually reduce the frequency of watering and water more deeply. After your new lawn has been mowed a few times, deep and infrequent waterings are the best to maintain a healthy and lush lawn.

How to Water New Sod

A newly sodded lawn requires watering one or two times a day. You should begin irrigation immediately after laying the sod. In fact, you should plan your sodding process so that a section of laid sod can be watered while other areas are being sodded.

Water your new sod so that both the sod strip and the top inch of soil below the sod are wet. The initial irrigation will take about an inch of water to completely wet the sod.

After watering, lift up pieces of sod at a few locations to determine whether it has been adequately watered. Continue watering one to two times a day with light irrigations to prevent wilting and to ensure the soil is moist just below the sod layer.

As the sod becomes established and roots penetrate the soil below, gradually reduce the watering frequency. Just like newly seeded lawns, once the sod has been mowed two or three times, irrigate your new lawn deeply but infrequently.

Do not overwater or saturate your new sod because that will inhibit the sod roots from growing into the soil below.

A free consultation is the first step to having a lush lawn

We are St. Louis’ and Saint Charles’ irrigation company leader for residential and commercial customers, and we’re expanding rapidly throughout the Midwest for one simple reason: we only use the best parts and hire and train professionals who can live up to our name.

You’ll see the difference in everything we do – from understanding every challenge as you see it, to leaving no questions unanswered about how we can help your lawn stay green and healthy.

We are Professional Irrigation Systems. And if you believe like us that quality, service, and value still matter, then you’re ready to grow with the pros. Contact us today for a free consultation.

What is Drip Irrigation

One of the most frequently asked questions about installing a new irrigation system is “will it help me save water?”

Irrigation systems are one of the most cost-effective ways to efficiently give your yard and landscaping the hydration it needs to survive – especially in this hot St. Louis summer. Water efficiency and growing lush landscaping is what drip irrigation systems are all about.

Drip irrigation is the process of delivering water in a slow and steady manner directly to the base of the plants. From the dripped lines, water is absorbed slowly into the soil and distributed evenly for optimal growth and health.

It ensures you avoid wasting water and money due to over spraying and evaporation. Drip irrigation makes sure the plants get the precise amount of water they need to remain healthy and beautiful.

When to use drip irrigation

Drip irrigation can be used in a variety of areas. You can efficiently water trees, large shrubs, flower beds, vegetable gardens, flower gardens, and even plants on patios. It’s extremely effective in high wind areas since the water is delivered directly to the roots and won’t blow around your yard in the wind.

While sprinkler systems are typically about 75-85% efficient, drip systems are about 90% or higher. For this reason, drip irrigation is the most popular method in desert regions, where water is scarce, but it is useful anywhere else as well.

The benefits of installing a drip irrigation system
You can use a drip irrigation system in all kinds of landscaping – from your lawn to your garden. A drip irrigation is more efficient than any other form of watering, and you won’t accidentally water the sidewalk or miss patches of your grass.

You’ll get the balance and consistency your yard needs and that moveable sprinklers and hoses can’t give you. Automated irrigation systems take out most of the possibility for human error.

Water efficiency
The water is distributed slowly and exactly where it’s needed at the root.

Save money
Drip irrigation has less evaporation on the surface level of your landscape, which saves on your water bill.

Deter weed growth
The soil surface between plants remains drier, which discourages weed growth.

Environmentally friendly
Drip irrigation systems use between 30-50% less water than conventional watering methods.

A free consultation is the first step to having a lush lawn
We are St. Louis’ and Saint Charles’ irrigation company leader for residential and commercial customers, and we’re expanding rapidly throughout the Midwest for one simple reason: we only use the best parts and hire and train professionals who can live up to our name.

You’ll see the difference in everything we do – from understanding every challenge as you see it, to leaving no questions unanswered about how we can help your lawn stay green and healthy.

We are Professional Irrigation Systems. And if you believe like us that quality, service, and value still matter, then you’re ready to grow with the pros. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Why is Backflow Preventer Testing So Important?

If you just had a new sprinkler system installed you’re probably wondering, “what is a backflow preventer anyway?”

Simply put, it’s a device installed on your home’s water system that prevents your drinking water from being contaminated due to backflow. It allows water to flow in one direction, but never back in the opposite direction.

Think of it as a really important one-way gate that keeps your water safe, which means that making sure your backflow preventer is functioning properly is really important for your health, your family, and your community.

A properly maintained backflow preventer does the following:

  • Reduces the risk of contaminated water in your potable water supply
  • Ensures water is suitable for drinking and other uses
  • Maintains even water pressure to prevent backpressure in the irrigation system

What happens if the backflow preventer doesn’t work?

Backflow becomes a problem when there are cross connections within the water distribution system and you don’t have a backflow preventer installed.

Contaminants can enter an irrigation system from fertilizer or pesticides that are sprayed onto lawns. The backflow preventer prevents potentially contaminated backflow from entering the water supply.

In the event of a water-main break or a major power outage, a backflow condition can occur. Pressure is lost during such events, and water is no longer being pushed forward into your home and will flow backwards into the city water lines.

That means the impure water from your irrigation system and elsewhere in your home like sinks, showers, and dishwashers will be pulled into the potable side of your water supply and contaminate it. A backflow preventer is the key to keeping your family, community, and water supply safe.

Annual backflow testing is required in Missouri

To make sure the device is functioning properly, a certified backflow tester must test all backflow prevention devices annually.

State-certified backflow prevention assembly testers must perform the specific testing procedures required to verify the proper function of reduced pressure principle assemblies and double check valve assemblies.

The team at Professional Irrigation Systems is certified for the entire state of Missouri for backflow preventer testing.

If you don’t have your backflow prevention device tested annually, the water supplier will disconnect the public water system from the customer service line, so you really do need to have it tested every year.

What is involved in a backflow preventer test?

The backflow preventer inspection is to make sure it provides protection against a contaminated water supply and the health hazards that go along with it. Professional Irrigation System’s backflow test service includes:

  • All paperwork and tagging
  • Test information filed with appropriate water purveyor or county
  • Testing the backflow preventer
  • An estimate for repairs if necessary

Glossary

Backflow: The undesirable reversal of flow of a liquid, gas, or suspended solid in the potable water supply

Backflow Preventer: A device installed into your plumbing system to protect your drinking water and water supply from contaminants

Cross Connection: A physical link between a source of contamination or pollution with a potable water supply

Your backflow preventer is an extremely important device designed to keep you and your family safe. Call the experienced team at Professional Irrigation Systems for your annual test, so you can have peace of mind.

How to Spot Over-Watered Grass in Your Lawn

Your lawn needs water to thrive, right? So that means you should water it every day, right?

Actually, no. You shouldn’t be watering it every day.

Too much of a good thing and all that.

Grass plants don’t need and can’t use that much water. When it rains, the porous spaces in the soil underneath your grass is filled with water, which doesn’t leave any space for the oxygen your plants need to survive.

Without oxygen, the roots will suffocate, leaving you with a lawn that has a very shallow root system.

Shallowly rooted plants are easily stressed and susceptible to disease and damage from insects. A minor disease could become a major lawn disaster if your lawn is shallowly rooted, so you need to be careful you’re watering the right amount.

Signs of Overwatering Your Lawn

A healthy lawn should be a little thirsty, always sending its roots deeper into the soil. If you’re overwatering your lawn, the root system will be shallow. The grass doesn’t have to work for its water, but it will be a host of many more problems. The deeper the root system, the healthier and more resilient your lawn will be. 

Thatch

Thatch is a layer of partially decomposed plant material and shallow roots that form a dense mat on the soil surface. Too much watering prevents the thatch from breaking down naturally, and the shallow roots leads to thatch buildup.

Thatch that is more than ¾ inch thick prevents oxygen from reaching the grass roots and creates a habitat for fungal and insect pests.

Fungus

Too frequent watering keeps the grass wet and promotes fungal growth. If you’re seeing mushrooms in your yard, you might be overwatering. Irregular brown patches on your lawn might not mean it’s thirsty but that it is infected with anthracnose, which is another fungus that infects wet grass.

Weeds

Some weeds like smooth crabgrass and yellow nutsedge thrive in areas too wet for healthy grass growth. Pull up the weeds and water less frequently with enough water to moisten the soil 5-8 inches deep.

Insect pests

In a waterlogged lawn, heavy thatch protects insects from insecticides, and they’ll attack your stressed-out lawn. They can create bare patches as they eat the grass blades and cause your grass to die.

Standing water or spongy feel

If the ground feels spongy when you walk on it, it probably has too much water in it. Standing water is also a clear visual sign because the grass isn’t absorbing all of the water you’re giving it.

How to Water Your Lawn Properly

The proper way to water your lawn is very simple: thoroughly but infrequently. Watering deep and infrequently, rather than shallow and often, mimics natural rainfall. One of the most important aspects of watering your lawn is knowing when to water it and how much.

The general rule of thumb is that your grass needs one inch of water a week.

But how do you know if you’re watering it that much?

1. Take the time to get acquainted with your new sprinkler system or lawn. How much water does the sprinkler apply in 30 minutes and how deep in the soil will the water go down?

2. Before turning on the sprinkler, see if the soil is dry to a depth of five inches. You can use a screwdriver or a garden trowel for this. Check several areas of your yard because there are usually differences in the amount of water each zone needs.

3. Then, turn on the sprinkler for 30 minutes.

4. Twelve hours after the watering is long enough to see how deep in the soil the water traveled. Check the areas you looked at earlier and see how deep the soil was watered.

If you want to set your sprinkler system on a schedule so you don’t have to worry about it, a rain sensor will help make sure you aren’t overwatering on rainy days.

You won’t need to water your entire lawn every day, especially if it rains regularly. You can water it any time of day, but it’s best to water it in the early morning so the ground has time to absorb it before the heat of the day evaporates the water.

Once you have your lawn and sprinkler system figured out, you’ll probably end up saving water if you have been overwatering your lawn. It’s a win for your lawn and a win for your wallet.

A brand-new sprinkler system will make it easy for you to maintain your lawn and make sure it’s being watered the right amount. The Professional Irrigation Systems team will help you create zones in your yard so that each area gets the appropriate amount of water. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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