How to care for new sod?
Congratulations on your new lawn! If you are reading this material it most likely that your new sod is already installed.
To establish your new sod it’s extremely important to take proper care of it for the next 6-8 weeks.
The following steps will help you maintain a thick lawn after the sod is installed. These recommendations are for Cool Season turfgrasses such as KentuckyBluegrass, which Green Warriors Landscaping team is using during the sodding process.
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Keep pet and foot traffic on the new lawn to a minimum until it has completely rooted (usually 4 weeks), this can be checked by pulling on the end of a piece of sod to check for resistance, indicating the roots have taken to the soil.
When stepping on the sod in the first week is necessary for proper watering, start at the farthest corner and back your way off the lawn to prevent stepping on wet sod, which causes greater soil compaction.
How to water new sod?
Proper watering is the single most important step for maintaining a new sod lawn. Without sufficient watering, the grass wilts, roots dry, grass turns brown and the sod strips shrink from moisture loss.
Water the sod twice a day for the first 2 weeks after laying the sod; Water the lawn for 20 to 30 minutes at a time in each area, or however long is needed to ensure the water penetrates a few inches into the soil beneath the sod. Liftback a corner of the sod in several places throughout the lawn to check for water penetration.
During the first 2-3 weeks, the bottom of the sod should never be dry! It’s nearly impossible to over water new sod withing first 2 days!
Be careful to prevent over-watering by paying attention to standing water on flat areas.
Don't forget to monitor your new sod for the signs of dryness and use a hose to water the areas that your sprinklers don't reach. Edges and sod seams are the most susceptible to drying out. Please give them more water!
If you start to see large gaps between the rolls of sod and edges become yellow it means the sod started to shrink! You need to water it more! The edges of the turf that touch concrete need more frequent watering as the concrete sucks the moisture out of sod.
Once the roots are established and you have mowed the lawn for the first time, then you can likely go to daily watering early in the morning.
Be careful about watering grass late evening or at night, especially with high humidity. This creates a problem with the lawn staying damp for too long. Most diseases need prolonged moisture as a necessary ingredient for the disease to begin. When watering a new lawn or mature lawn, irrigate early to late morning. Try not to allow the soil to go into the evening in a very wet condition.
When to mow new sod (grass).
The sod can be mowed when it is rooted. Wait until the grass reaches a height of at least 3 inches before mowing (about in 2-3 weeks after planting). Be sure not to remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade. Most grasses should be cut at a height of 2.5-3.5 inches. The longer the better. Think of the grass blades as solar panels for the plant. The longer the blades the more energy the plant can store. Energy is stored in the roots as carbohydrates. Longer grass on the top = Deeper roots. Deeper roots allow the grass to find more water and nutrients and be healthier in general.
Expect to mow the sod once weekly through summer and into fall. Sharpen the mower blades frequently to ensure a clean cut without tearing the blades -- torn blades are more susceptible to disease.
Do not mow the grass when it is wet. Remove all clippings.
How to fertilize newly installed sod.
A slow-release high nitrogen granular fertilizer should be applied no sooner than 4 weeks after the sod has been installed. Fertilizing before the recommended 30-day window could cause yellow patches in your lawn, due to the shallow root system.
You should hold off on aerating your new lawn until the roots are fully established. This could be the fall in some cases, or the following spring in others.