New roll on Saint Augustine sod will arrive at its new home freshly harvested from the turf farm, and will arrive without one very important item necessary for its very survival, a root system! Yes, the new Saint Augustine turf will arrive with very little soil and only the tiniest amount of roots. Instead this turf will be comprised almost entirely of its upper thatch layer of stolons, sward and leaf. This turf layer is then rolled onto the prepared lawn soil surface and will then grow a new root system in its new home.
All lawn types need to be kept moist at all times during their establishment phase in their new homes, this is to ensure there is always an ample amount of moisture in the new turf, between the turf and the soil, and in the soil itself. This ensures the greatest, and only chance of survival and establishment of the new lawn at its new location.
Saint Augustine grass needs a little more attention than most other roll on lawns do, and this is for two reasons, the first as already mentioned is that the new St Augustine sod will have no root system, which puts it at a disadvantage over other roll on lawn types. And second is the thick matted layer of coarse St Augustine grass stolons are actually spaced very wide apart, which makes evaporation from new Saint Augustine sod greater than that of a grass types such as Bermudagrass or Zoysiagrass.
For these reasons, new Saint Augustine grass does need to be carefully monitored and watered accordingly during its establishment phase, and may need slightly more water at this time than other grass types.
Watering New Saint Augustine Lawns Depending On The Season
There is one single important point in watering a new Saint Augustine lawn…
The new lawn must never dry out during establishment.
This is true with all lawn types but more so with St Augustine grass for the reasons already mentioned. So with this one point in mind, we must simply water the new Saint Augustine lawn as often as is required until it becomes established with its own root system. At which time it can be watered normally just the same as every other lawn can.
So lets translate this new lawn watering with the seasons:
Summer Lawn Care
New Saint Augustine lawns planted in Summer will require watering several times throughout the day for the first couple of weeks after planting. The cooler the days - the less watering is required, the hotter the days - the more waterings are required each and every day.
After the first couple of weeks these waterings can be reduced down to perhaps once a day. A couple of weeks after that we can generally go to twice a week watering.
The homeowner should monitor the lawn each day during this most crucial time. If at any time the lawn looks like its suffering poor health or drying out, then the lawn will need to have increased watering times as required.
Fall Lawn Care
Once again we must keep the new Saint Augustine lawn moist during establishment.
In the cooler weather of Fall we can probably get away with watering the new turf a couple of times a day for the first week or two, perhaps less depending on specific weather conditions, and then once every few days after that, and then slowly weening the lawn down to regular watering patterns shortly thereafter.
And again, the homeowner should monitor the new Saint Augustine lawn health at all times, and increase watering if at any time the new turf looks like its browning off or suffering dehydration in any way.
Winter Lawn Care
I've seen new Saint Augustine lawns planted in the last half of winter and which had zero extra water applied other than rainfall, and the new lawn still established very well, and without suffering any ill health whatsoever.
While such a scenario may indeed work in some warmer areas with enough natural rainfall, it cannot be recommended as a standard course of action for planting a new Saint Augustine lawn sod.
Even in winter, even in warmer climates, the new lawn must always be monitored for signs of poor health, and watered as is necessary, because even in winter - new Saint Augustine lawns can still dry out and become damaged very quickly and very easily during establishment if the climate is warm enough and if there isn’t sufficient rainfall.
Always monitor lawn health, and water whenever is necessary.
Spring Lawn Care
Watering new Saint Augustine lawns in Spring is like watering new lawns in Fall, only in reverse… If the lawn was planted in the beginning of Spring then very little extra watering is required. Twice a day to begin if necessary, working down to once a day very quickly, and then decreasing more and more over the following couple of months until a regular watering pattern is established.
If the weather is still mild and there is still adequate rainfall, then very little or perhaps no extra watering will be needed. As always, it is the homeowner themselves who should monitor and adjust these things accordingly to their own specific needs in their location and climate.
If planting the new Saint Augustine lawn in later Spring, then of course the weather will be warmer and more water will be required. Twice to three times a day to begin. or less in some regions and dependent on weather, quickly working down to twice a day, then once a day, and then more slowly adjusting to regular watering patterns over the following couple of months.
Remember, the weather is getting warmer and warmer as the months of Spring roll by, with this in mind, our extra watering for our new turf may last longer than if the sod was planted in Fall and the weather was getting cooler and wetter as the weeks passed by.
Just be aware that as Spring progresses we can experience some occasional hotter days, and these must be watched out for, and extra watering given to the new lawn during the day when temperatures rise.
The Final Return To Rule Number One
When establishing a new Saint Augustine lawn, no matter what time of year it is, we must always follow rule number one.
Always monitor the new lawn health every day, and during the day if possible for the first week or two at least, and always be ready to apply an extra watering as is required, and at any time the new Saint Augustine sod shows any sign of stress or wilting or other poor lawn health developing.
If any of these signs appear, then we should not only give the new lawn another drink of water straight away, but we should also adjust our overall watering schedule for the new turf by watering more often until the new Saint Augustine lawn is fully established.