Tips on a New Sod Lawn

People in need of an instant lawn often turn to sod to get the job done. Although it is more expensive than grass seed, the results are quick. After spending a few hours installing the sod, your yard will look like new. However, if you don't properly care for and maintain your new sod it won't look like new for long. Without proper attention, your new sod can begin to yellow and die quickly.

Installation

Lay sod as soon as possible after it is purchased. If you cannot install it immediately, store it in a cool, dry place that is out of the sun. When laying sod, start along a straight edge such as a sidewalk or driveway. The ends of the pieces should abut each other as closely as possible. The sod should be laid in a staggered pattern, similar to how you would lay bricks, according to the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension. Once the sod is laid, fill in any gaps between pieces with potting soil or dirt to help the pieces fuse together more easily. Roll over the sod with a lawn roller half-filled with water to push it into the soil and take root more easily.

Watering

Water new sod within 20 minutes of being installed, according to the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension. For the next two weeks, the sod will need to get at least 1 inch of water daily. If temperatures are high, it may need to be watered more than once a day to prevent the soil underneath from drying out, according to the Purdue University Turfgrass Science Program. You can measure how much water your sod is getting by placing a coffee can or similar container in a corner where the sprinklers are working. When 1 inch of water has collected in the can, the sod has also received 1 inch of water.

Mowing

Mow the new sod about one week after it is installed, according to the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension. Before mowing it, check to see that is has properly rooted to the soil by pulling up on a corner of sod. If it comes up easily, it is not yet attached enough to tolerate mowing. When mowing sod for the first time, set your lawn mower on its highest setting. No more than one-third of the blade height should be removed.

Fertilizing

New sod should not be fertilized for at least four weeks after installation, according to the Purdue University Turfgrass Science Program. When your new lawn is ready to be fertilized, apply 1 lb. of nitrogen fertilizer for every 1,000 square feet or yard space. Once sod is established, it should be fertilized at least twice a year: in the spring and again in the fall, according to the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension.

Keywords: sod care tips, sod installation tips, caring for sod

About this Author

Meghan McMahon lives in the Chicago suburbs, where she spent six years as a newspaper journalist before becoming a part-time freelance writer and editor and full-time mother. She received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University in 2000 and has written for "The Daily Southtown" and "The Naperville Sun" in suburban Chicago.