How to Care for a Sod Lawn


Installing sod can greatly improve the appearance of your yard. With just a few hours of work, your lawn will look like new. However, new sod needs to be properly cared for and maintained for weeks after it is installed so it can take root and become well-established. If you don't take the time to maintain your new sod, you may soon find that lush green color fading to a dingy brown or yellow.

Step 1

Water your sod immediately after it is installed. Watering is the most critical component of establishing a lawn from sod. The University of New Hampshire Extension recommends watering new sod within 20 minutes of laying it. For the next two weeks, make sure the sod is watered regularly and is never allowed the dry out.

Step 2

Roll over the sod in two directions with a lawn roller half filled with water. This will allow the sod to make good contact with the soil underneath, helping it take root and become established.

Step 3

Keep off your new lawn for two to three weeks after installing sod. The lawn can tolerate some use, but heavy play and usage can prevent it from becoming established.

Step 4

Mow your lawn about one week after installing the new sod. Before mowing, check to see that the sod has rooted to the soil underneath, according to the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension. When mowing for the first time, don't remove more than 1/3 of the blade height.

Step 5

Fertilize your new sod four weeks after it is installed. Apply 1 lb. of nitrogen fertilizer for every 1,000 square feet of yard space.

Step 6

Water your lawn regularly during dry spells. Grass generally needs between 1 and 1 1/2 inches of rain each week to keep it green and vibrant, according to the University of Illinois Extension.

Step 7

Fertilize your lawn twice a year--in the spring and fall--to maintain quality, according to the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension. Fertilizing it in the summer can also add to its appearance, helping it stay green and lush. Use the same fertilizer application as when it was first established: 1 lb. of nitrogen fertilizer for every 1,000 square feet of yard space.

Things You'll Need

  • Lawn roller
  • Lawn mower
  • Nitrogen fertilizer


  • University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension: Installing and Maintaining a Sod Lawn
  • University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension: Establishing a Lawn from Sod
  • All About Lawns: Planting with Sod
  • University of Illinois Extension: Watering, Mowing and Fertilizing
Keywords: caring for sod, new sod care, sod maintenance

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.