How to Care for a New Patch of Sod

Overview

If your lawn is in need of a complete or partial overhaul, installing sod can provide a quick makeover. Although it costs more than using seed to establish a lawn, sod is easy to install and simple to care for as long as a strict watering schedule is followed. For best results, sod should be laid immediately after purchase, otherwise it can begin to dry out and die. Sod can be installed whenever the ground is not frozen, but for best results avoid installing it at the peak of summer, when the heat increases watering demands, according to the Purdue University Turfgrass Science Program.

Step 1

Water your sod immediately after it is installed. Watering the sod within 20 minutes of it being laid is best, according to the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension. Proper watering for several weeks is critical in establishing a lawn from sod. For the first two weeks, water the sod daily, according to the Purdue University Turfgrass Science Program. During especially hot periods, it may have to be watered several times a day to keep the soil moist. After two weeks, reduce the frequency of waterings, but increase their duration.

Step 2

Check to see if your sod has rooted to the soil seven to 10 days after it is installed, according to the Purdue University Turfgrass Science Program. To check, pull up on a corner of sod. If it easily lifts from the soil, it is not yet fully rooted.

Step 3

Stay off the new sod until after it is mowed for the first time, according to Wegman's Nursery. Light use is OK to move sprinklers, etc., but avoid heavy use or play on the sod.

Step 4

Mow the sod about one to two weeks after it is laid. For the first mowing, set your mower to its highest setting. Don't remove more than one-third of the blade height in a single mowing, according to the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension.

Step 5

Fertilize the new sod at least four weeks after it is installed. Apply 1 lb. of nitrogen fertilizer for every 1,000 square feet of yard space, according to the Purdue University Turfgrass Science Program.

Things You'll Need

  • Lawn mower
  • Nitrogen fertilizer

References

  • University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension: Installing and Maintaining a Sod Lawn
  • Purdue University Turfgrass Science Program: Establishing a Lawn from Sod
  • Wegman's Nursery: New Sod Care
Keywords: caring for sod, new sod care, watering 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.