Water Star is a trademark of Pennington Seed given to qualified seed that has been tested by the Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance (TWCA) and proven to use significantly less water. This independent and external testing by the TWCA offers results that are objectively based on computer analysis, which includes the analysis of digital images, density and green turf cover. These results are highly reputable, permanently recorded and calculate the overall quality of the turf.

The TWCA is a non-profit organization that was developed to test and give the stamp of approval to drought-resistant turfgrass varieties. The TWCA works side by side with various universities to rigorously test and conduct trials on different types of turfgrass and their drought resistance. The trials consist of data collected twice a week over the course of two years. The turfgrass is contained in structures where natural rainfall is constricted, and digital images capture and aid in the analysis of the percentage of green turf cover for each section of grass. After all the data is collected and analyzed, it is submitted to the independent research board of TWCA, who then notifies Pennington Seed of the qualified Water Star varieties.

More specifically, trials are conducted to evaluate exactly how much water different varieties of turfgrass require. The turfgrass is placed under chronic drought stress conditions where water is available in limited amounts necessary to uphold the acceptable level of green in the turf. Plots of turfgrass are given a 1/2 inch of water when each plot falls below 40% green cover. After 90 days, the total amounts of water for each turfgrass section are compared and provided to Pennington Seed, where only top-quality, water-efficient turfgrass seed is offered. For example, one type of turfgrass required 16,613 gallons of water to maintain a 5,000 square foot lawn over a 90 day period, compared to a Water Star qualified, drought tolerant seed that required only 7,788 gallons of water to maintain the same square footage over the same 90 day period. This proves the Water Star claim of requiring up to 50% less water year after year.

With the current drought in California (2014), the results of these trials are significant as we are continuously faced with water shortage and restrictions. Water Star qualified seed can not only survive limited water availability, but can also maintain overall plant health, essential qualities for anyone looking to maintain turfgrass in drought conditions.

What is Water Star Rated Seed?

Water Star is a trademark of Pennington Seed given to qualified seed that has been tested by the Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance (TWCA) and proven to use significantly less water. This independent and external testing by the TWCA offers results that are objectively based on computer analysis, which includes the analysis of digital images, density and green turf cover. These results are highly reputable, permanently recorded and calculate the overall quality of the turf.

The TWCA is a non-profit organization that was developed to test and give the stamp of approval to drought-resistant turfgrass varieties. The TWCA works side by side with various universities to rigorously test and conduct trials on different types of turfgrass and their drought resistance. The trials consist of data collected twice a week over the course of two years. The turfgrass is contained in structures where natural rainfall is constricted, and digital images capture and aid in the analysis of the percentage of green turf cover for each section of grass. After all the data is collected and analyzed, it is submitted to the independent research board of TWCA, who then notifies Pennington Seed of the qualified Water Star varieties.

More specifically, trials are conducted to evaluate exactly how much water different varieties of turfgrass require. The turfgrass is placed under chronic drought stress conditions where water is available in limited amounts necessary to uphold the acceptable level of green in the turf. Plots of turfgrass are given a 1/2 inch of water when each plot falls below 40% green cover. After 90 days, the total amounts of water for each turfgrass section are compared and provided to Pennington Seed, where only top-quality, water-efficient turfgrass seed is offered. For example, one type of turfgrass required 16,613 gallons of water to maintain a 5,000 square foot lawn over a 90 day period, compared to a Water Star qualified, drought tolerant seed that required only 7,788 gallons of water to maintain the same square footage over the same 90 day period. This proves the Water Star claim of requiring up to 50% less water year after year.

With the current drought in California (2014), the results of these trials are significant as we are continuously faced with water shortage and restrictions. Water Star qualified seed can not only survive limited water availability, but can also maintain overall plant health, essential qualities for anyone looking to maintain turfgrass in drought conditions.

Prepping and Installing Your Own Sod

Anyone can lay their own sod lawn with the right tools and few pointers.

Preparing For Sod Installation

You want to make sure you clear the area where you will be laying your sod of any weeds and debris (rocks, cement, bricks, etc.).

Next, you will roughly grade the area with a hand rake, sloping the grade away from any foundations in order to aid in proper drainage. This usually uncovers more debris that needs to be cleared. You can then till 3-4 inches deep, adding additional topsoil as needed blending native and new soil. This is important as it can help control weeds, help alleviate compacted soil, assist in root penetration and help air and water movement.

End the preparation step by grading the entire area again, using a heavy duty rake, and rolling the area with a partially water filled lawn roller.

Choosing The Best Sod

Choosing the best sod depends on several factors.

Your location is a major determining factor, such as whether or not you need a drought or heat tolerant sod, or would a cool-season or warm-season grass be best.

Keeping in mind the specific location of where your sod will be is also important. Is there a lot of shaded areas, slopes, full sun, or possibly heavy traffic.

Lastly, personal preference should also be considered. The look and feel of the blade will vary, along with the shade of green and if the sod stays green all year or goes dormant.

Knowing your options and speaking with a professional can lead you to choose a sod that will suit your needs best.

Installing The Sod

Usually, sod should be installed on dry soil, but in cases of high temperatures, moistening the soil for about two or three minutes can be necessary.

Whenever possible, install your sod on the day you receive it. If you must wait, the best thing to do is shade the uninstalled sod. Install your sod against a straight edge, like a sidewalk or driveway. Trying as much as possible to avoid gaps between pieces, as well as not overlapping or stretching, butt each piece against each other tightly.

Lay the pieces in a brick pattern, staggering the joints in each row.

When laying sod on a slope, lay the pieces across the slope rather than down. This will aid in minimizing water runoff and help retain even moisture. Last, you will want to roll over your new sod to help get rid of any air pockets.

Sod Maintenance

For the first two weeks, it is best to avoid walking on your sod, this includes animals.

Often, watering, or the lack of, is the cause of many sod problems. As soon as you lay your new sod you will need to soak the grass and soil, providing about 1 inch of water. It should be very wet, but only for this first watering.

For the first two weeks, until the sod has established and is firmly rooted, you should water your lawn daily. Watering twice a day is typical, but sometimes a third time is needed depending on weather conditions such as high temperatures or high winds. Your lawn should be left feeling moist after each watering. Finding the correct duration and frequency of watering specific to your lawn is critical in its establishment and long term health.

Besides figuring out a good watering schedule, it is also helpful to test your soil’s pH levels. Additionally, appropriate mowing and fertilizer application will aid in the establishment and care of your new sod lawn.