How to Care for New Sod: A Beginner’s Guide

Sod is perishable, so make sure to lay it down immediately. Follow it up with deep watering since heat can build up within a roll, causing damage to turf. After rolling, start irrigation deeply, six inches down into the soil until it’s soft to walk on.

While it’s tempting to use your lawn right after installation, you have to ensure that the sod has taken root. In other words, your lawn cannot have heavy foot traffic and activities until the root system establishes properly.

2 Weeks After Installation

On the first few days, your newly installed sod is like a baby that needs delicate care and observation. In addition to this guide, it’s always best to understand your sod’s variety so that you can take care of your lawn better, even in the years to come. For instance, if you prefer Zoysia, research the benefits of Zeon Zoysiagrass

Here are some measures on taking care of your newly installed sod to ensure success:

1. Water your sod at least once per day for about 15 minutes. If your sprinkler gives off lighter water spray, increase it to 20 minutes. Water your sod twice daily if you live in an area with an average temperature of over 65 degrees.

If you’re not sure if you’re giving enough hydration to your sod, lift a corner of the sod and inspect the dampness on the underside. 

2. Never mow your lawn for the first two weeks. Your new sod should root 10-14 days after installation. This is when you should mow your lawn for the first time, except for winter, which takes longer (20-30 days). Set your mower’s setting to the highest you can to avoid cutting it too close to the root.

When mowing, be extra careful not to walk or run heavily on your new sod so you don’t prevent the fragile young roots from developing properly. If you have pets, prevent them from having so much contact with the newly installed sod.

3-4 Weeks After Installation

1. Reduce the frequency of watering. After each mowing, gradually decrease your watering frequency to every other day while increasing the minute per watering to 30-35 minutes. Less frequent soakings help roots grow deeper and establish more quickly into the soil. Lift a corner of the sod to check if the root has been established. If it doesn’t pull up easily, the roots are forming well.

2. Start fertilizer application after a month of installation. You can now apply fertilizer with a slow-releasing formula, following the brand’s instructions and label. For the following months, taking care of your lawn is also dependent on the variety of your sod. As you know, some varieties require more fertilizers than others.

As an example, centipede grass doesn’t require too much fertilizer. Click here to know more about the advantages of this variety.

Finding the Right Sod Variety

All homeowners dream of a lush green lawn, and choosing the right sod is vital to achieving it. In fact, laying down your sod is easier than deciding which type survives in your garden. Generally, you have to consider the climate, soil condition, sunlight exposure, water requirements, and foot traffic. 

If you have pets or small children, go for a sod not easily damaged by heavy foot traffic, such as Zoysia or Bermuda grass. For instance, TifGrand® Bermuda is one of the most popular options for athletic lawn owners. It thrives well in either shade or full sunlight. It’s also more disease-resistant and green up in early spring.

In addition, take note that pet urines contain nitrogen that destroys your lawn. Fescue grass may be the perfect fit since it’s very absorbent and can handle dogs’ pee, even the big breeds’. On top of these, identify if your garden has acidic soil since no other types of grass can withstand it, except for centipede grass.