Lawn Care Tips: How To Care For New Sod

How to keep sod looking good, including making the roots stick.

Since you have just spent much time, energy, and money on laying sod on your front lawn you should know how to maintain it properly. The most important element in keeping your sod looking good is watering it. Fertilizers do help if used in the proper dose and at the proper time, however, the single most important part of maintaining sod lies in a water-can.

You must water the sod on a regular basis for the roots to establish themselves. This rooting process typically takes three months of summer weather, but sometimes when the soil is very compact or has a high clay content it can take up to two summers to complete.

The amount and frequency of watering will depend on when you lay your sod. If you lay the sod in the heat of the summer (temperatures eighty degrees or higher) then you must plan for consistent watering. During the first week after you have planted the sod you should water twice a day for the first three days and once a day for the remaining four days. The following week will require watering only once a day. Week three will be less intense, as the sod will need one watering roughly every other day. It is during this week that your sod should get its first mowing. In the fourth week the water schedule consists of every other day treatments as well.



If you laid your sod in during a cooler period (seventy degrees or below) then the schedule will be less rigorous. The first week will require two consecutive days of watering twice a day, three days of once a day watering, and finally a day of rest. The second and third weeks go into the every other day routine with the first moving in the middle of the third week. The fourth week consists of two non-consecutive waterings only.

Now that you have the watering schedule down you need to know how much liquid to use so that you don't leave your sod thirsty or drown your new covering. One-half inch of water is the desired amount for the initial week of watering. This will be enough to soak the sod adequately for root growth. As the watering frequency decreases you should increase the amount of water to no more than one inch.

While it is recommended to mow the sod during the third week you should let it grow roughly three to four inches before you cut it. Never mow the sod if it is less than three inches. To foster growth you may wish to fertilize your new sod. It is not recommended to fertilize until two months after the sod has been laid. September is the best month to apply fertilizer for sod laid in the summer because it gives the product the boost it needs to combat colder weather. If you have laid your sod in the fall you should plan on going to the store for fertilizer sometime in mid-May.

If you are careful and stick to the watering schedule you will grow a nice, green layer of sod. If the temperatures are unusually high for the season you may have to adjust the amount of water you feed the sod to compensate for the increased evaporation rate and scorching factor. Use your judgment when it comes to mowing and remember to tell people to "keep off the sod" during the first several weeks after you've laid it.

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