Learn More about Your Twin Cities Lawn and Landscape Care with Wagner’s Frequently Asked Questions

Watering New Wagner Sod

Water sod lightly after each 200 square feet is installed to prevent wilting. After all the sod is down, turn your sprinklers on and let them run until the sod is good and soaked. To maintain this moisture level, do the following over the next few weeks:

Week One: water every few hours, i.e. at 6:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 5:00 p.m. until runoff begins

Week Two: water twice a day, i.e. at 6:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Week Three: water once a day, i.e. at 6:00 a.m.

  • Gradually taper watering back to once every other day.
  • Adjust according to weather and season
  • Water more frequently during warm, dry, or windy weather

Watering Established Wagner Sod

After your lawn has become established, water according to the following guidelines:

  • Two to three times per week in cooler months and four or five times per week in the warmer months
  • For as long as possible to get deep soil penetration (up to 30 minutes)
  • It may be necessary to cycle irrigate if runoff occurs after just a short time
  • Water as early as possible first thing in the morning, but do not water between 10:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m.
  • Do not water areas in the shade as frequently as the areas of your lawn that receive full sun

In addition, be sure to watch for a blue-gray tint or limp areas of your lawn. This is not a fungus. It is caused by dehydration, and is an indication that immediate water is needed. This will usually occur on tops of mounds, or areas where sprinkler coverage is not adequate. It is acceptable to water in full sun; it will not burn the blades.

Watering Both New and Established Wagner Sod with Irrigation or Sprinklers

After the installation of your new sod, you should water your sod twice a day for the first two weeks. Your watering times should be around 5:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. The zones with large rotating heads should run for 25 minutes. Zones with small rotating heads should run for 20 minutes. Zones with fixed spray heads should run for 15 minutes.

Once your sod has been in for two weeks or longer, you should change your watering times to even or odd days, whichever corresponds with the last digit of your house number. You also only need to run your system once a day beginning at this time, around either 5:00 a.m. or 5:00 p.m. Your zone station times should remain the same.

Troubleshooting for Your Established Lawn

An established lawn is one that has been down for at least six months. Brown areas in your lawn are most commonly caused by one of three types of problems: improper watering, burn, or disease. Check for watering and burn problems before treating for disease.

Improper Watering

To check for lack of water, use a screwdriver or knife to probe the brown areas of your lawn as well as the healthy green areas. If the brown areas are more difficult to penetrate, then a lack of water is likely. This is usually the result of poor sprinkler spacing or sprinkler malfunction.

Saturate the area with a hose as soon as possible and continue to provide supplemental water until the sprinklers are repaired.

Excess water can suffocate the plant’s roots or rot the crown, causing the turf to die. This generally occurs in low spots or shady areas. Check for muddy soil, algae crusts, or slimy rotting grass. If the problem area is in the shade, reduce irrigation time to that area or replace the sprinkler with lower-volume heads. If the problem is in a low spot, that area must be raised or drained.


Brown spots caused by a burn will be from pet urine (both male and female), over fertilization, gasoline spills, etc. Burn spots are distinguished from other types of damage by their “total kill” straw-yellow color. Urine burn spots that are over a week old will be surrounded by a dark green perimeter of taller grass.

If a burned area is thoroughly flushed with water in the early stage of damage, some recovery may occur. You can also try using gypsum and lime, which will even out the pH and acid levels. Spread the gypsum and lime like you would fertilizer over your entire yard. If these things do not work, reseeding or sodding will be necessary.


Diseases are usually related to heat and moisture. The most susceptible months of the year are June, July, and August. High humidity along with the heat creates an ideal disease environment. However, poor irrigation practices can also promote disease development.

The longer moisture stays in the turf foliage, the greater the disease risk, which is why you should not water at night (between 10:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m.) since the lawn will stay wet until morning. It is best to irrigate between 6:00 am and 8:00 am. Weather permitting, do not water established sod every day unless there is dry weather, or if the sod feels crunchy or looks dry.

When brown spots first appear, observe them for a few days. If more develop and you have ruled out the possibility of burns or improper watering, you probably have an active fungus. During periods of high humidity, small six-inch diameter spots may multiply, overlapping to become a large area. The grass may be collapsed to a point of lying matted, flat, and rotting. This is symptomatic of the fungus pythium. Reduce the frequency of watering so that the diseased areas will dry out.

Also, make sure that when water is reapplied it is between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. Lightly rake up collapsed matted areas to help them air out and to prevent recovering shoots from suffocating. Use a broad-spectrum fungicide such as Daconil or Fore as recommended by your nurseryman. Always apply the fungicides according to label directions. You can also call a lawn care service to solve the problem.

Spraying will usually stop the disease from spreading. Be patient with areas that have been damaged; often a high percentage of recovery will occur over time. If re-seeding or sodding is required, wait until the cooler times of the year.