You’ve made an investment in a beautiful, lush, green lawn by installing new sod. Now, your responsibility is to ensure its survival and healthy growth. Good news! Your newly installed sod can transform into a well-established, thriving lawn with the right care and attention. This blog is your detailed guide on how to take care of your new sod, from the moment it’s installed until it becomes a robust carpet of green.
Right After Installation
Water, Water, Water!
Your new sod is thirsty and needs immediate watering. As a rule of thumb, you should thoroughly soak the sod within 30 minutes of installation. The goal is to penetrate the soil beneath the sod, so about an inch of water is recommended. This hydration will help the grassroots establish themselves into the soil.
For the first two weeks, water the new sod daily and even twice a day if the weather is hot. The amount of water will depend on your soil type and local weather conditions, but usually, a half-inch of water will suffice. Be careful not to overwater; standing water could mean you’ve gone overboard.
The First Few Weeks
Watch Your Steps
During the initial weeks, keeping foot traffic to a minimum is crucial. Your new sod needs time to establish roots in the soil, and excessive traffic can cause compaction and disrupt this critical growth process. Also, avoid mowing your lawn during this time.
After the first two weeks, gently test the sod by lightly tugging it. If it has rooted well and doesn’t lift, it’s ready for its first mowing. Be sure to use a sharp mower blade to ensure clean cuts. Don’t cut more than one-third of the grass blade at once, as this may stress the grass.
Regular Watering Schedule
Post the first few weeks, you should move from daily watering to about two to three times per week, depending on the weather conditions. Gradually, encourage deeper root growth by watering less frequently but more deeply.
Most new sod has some slow-release fertilizer already added, but it’s typically time for its first feeding around four to six weeks after installation. Use a balanced lawn fertilizer but avoid those with high nitrogen levels initially, which may burn the new roots. Always follow the product instructions to avoid over-fertilizing.
It’s not uncommon for weeds to pop up in your new sod. However, resist the urge to use weed control products until your sod is well-established, typically around two months after installation. In the early days, hand-pulling any weeds is the safest method to keep them at bay.
Establish a regular mowing schedule, typically once a week. Regular mowing encourages the grass to grow thicker and establish a strong root system. You’ll do better cutting to 4″ rather than the 3″ that most recommend. The canopy keeps sunlight from allowing weeds to grow.
Keep at It!
The first few weeks following sod installation are critical in establishing a vibrant, healthy lawn. Patience and diligence in watering, mowing, fertilizing, and weed control are essential elements of new sod care. With proper attention and care, you can transform your new sod into a lush, green carpet that complements your landscape and becomes a point of pride. Happy gardening!