Monitor and Care of Newly Installed Sod
Watering practice for your new sod will depend on the time of year. Maintain moist to wet soil under sod for the ﬁrst month.
It takes at least six gallons of water per 10 square foot roll to produce 1” inch of water for that roll. This amount is what you’ll need for the water to seep through to the bottom of the roll and make the ground damp/wet. This is especially imperative at time of install.
When you pull back sod look for new, white roots going into the ground. You may even feel some resistance as you pull the roots free. This is a positive sign of good watering.
Your best indicator for your sod’s water needs is wilt or lack of wilt. Wilted sod will have a dry, dusty, greyish/green appearance. This can appear the day of installation until fully rooted if not getting enough water. Properly watered sod will always look full, lush, and green.
- Keeping the soil moist continuously usually means water light and frequent 2-3 times a day for the ﬁrst 4 weeks.
- Water early in the morning and late afternoon/early evening. Never water in the middle of the day or late evening.
- Make sure your new lawn (the ﬁrst month) has enough water to survive hot, dry, windy days.
- Do not ‘drown’ your lawn. If you do, you will have a lawn with a shallow root system that is susceptible to grubs and heat/drought stress.
- Check the edges/perimeter areas and make sure they are getting enough water (i.e. curbs. driveways, sidewalks). We cannot stress this enough! These areas are the ﬁrst to struggle due to lack of water.
- If you do not have an irrigation system, we urge you to use an impact or pulse sprinkler.
- To make sure all areas get watered properly, you may have to move your sprinkler(s) around your yard several times to get every inch.
- Mow as soon as it is tall enough to mow. After that you can mow at 2 to 3 inches high.
- Do not mow if ground is saturated and doing so will leave tracks or footprints.
- Make sure your mower has sharp blades.
- Don’t mow oﬀ more than 1/3 of the total height of the grass.
- Use Starter fertilizer at time of installation – preferably before the sod is installed, but you can apply afterwards if necessary. This will last 6 weeks.
- Apply the Starter fertilizer again after the ﬁrst 6 weeks have passed since the new sod was installed.
- You will have Starter fertilizer on your new lawn for the ﬁrst 12 weeks. After that, depending where you fall on the calendar year, follow the Maintenance Fertilizer Program.