Q. I’ve recently renovated, including planting new sod. How long and how often should I irrigate this new sod until it is rooted? Also, when should I fertilize it?
A. When watering to establish a lawn, we normally call for two to three “mists” throughout the day for the first seven to ten days until roots become established. These are just ten minute bursts. Then back off to once a day for about ½ hour for seven to ten days. Then go to two to three times a week for about seven days. By then your lawn should be established. Of course, when we are getting adequate rainfall, the above is not necessary. Your goal during establishment is to keep the upper several inches of soil moist (not soggy wet and not allowed to dry out). Rain counts.
A good rule of thumb is to not fertilize until the new lawn grass has required being mowed twice. By then, there should be an adequate root system to take up the fertilizer. Applying fertilizer too soon can burn (injure) the new tender roots or can leach because of the lack of sufficient roots to take up the fertilizer.
Here is a UF/IFAS webpage with publications on establishing and renovating a Florida lawn. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/TOPIC_Lawn_Establishment
The Foundation for The Gator Nation, An Equal Opportunity Institution Larry Williams, UF/IFAS Extension Agent, Okaloosa County