Aerating is done to loosen/soften ground to allow grass roots to penetrate deeper and for soil to accept new grass seed easily. An aerating machine has a spindle that spins has it propels itself and poke ¾-1” holes into the ground about 4-5” inches deep. Loosening the soil allows air to circulate, nutrients and water to reach deeper. The root system will go deeper following water and nutrients. Deep roots is not only beneficial but a money saver. If roots remain close to surface, it will require more water. The sun dries out surface dirt very quickly and easily, an aerated turf allows water to push deeper easier where it remains cool, and where water has pushed nutrients, the grass roots will follow which then become thicker and more resilient to pest and diseases.
A newly laid sod lawn can burn when ground temperate is over 80 degrees. Start to water no more than ½ hour after sod is placed. The first week of watering is critical. Water thoroughly the first week. The new sod lawn should not be allowed to dry up. Usually 2 to 4 hours of sprinkling to accumulate 1” of actual water every two or three days is sufficient. Use several empty tuna, or cat food cans to test areas to measure the actual time and amount of water out of sprinkler; place cans randomly to see how long sprinklers take to fill can to ½” inch of water. Check the moisture conditions from time to time by lifting a few corners of sod pieces randomly. If sod seems excessively wet by the second day then delay watering until third day. Use a screw driver to push into soil, it should go into soil easily, the first six inches of screwdriver should be moist or apply more water.
Ensure that entire lawn is getting adequate water, avoid hand hose watering. Corners, edges, and parts of sod near walkways, driveways and building which reflect heat will require additional watering. Again using random placed tuna, cat food cans or other flat bottomed containers to measure water, is a great idea, each sprinkler head has different output.
Thereafter maintain a moist but unsaturated soil condition with only as frequent watering as necessary. After sod roots into soil, usually 1 to 3 weeks, change to an infrequent but complete watering program. A thorough wetting of the soil to a depth of 2-4” inches (which is 1” of water) once every 4 to 7 days is generally adequate for most soils. Make allowances for natural rainfall and cool or hot weather. Continued over saturation is harmful and can kill the sod. It will prevent the sod from re-rooting and causes root rot. As the sod roots you won’t be able to lift corners of sod anymore, but you should be able to push a screwdriver into the soil to check for moisture level.
Water in early mornings as early as possible, morning is ideal for the lower wind speeds and less water is lost to evaporation. Avoid watering at night because water remaining on the grass can promote disease and fungus. You made the investment don’t allow yourself to set it and forget, sprinklers systems may need adjusting to account for rainfall, heat, cool temperatures, and soil types.