Choosing to lay sod provides a yard full of grass fairly quickly. If you want that lawn to stay green, then you need to care for it properly. The first few weeks are critical for new sod, because it is getting established. If you don't water and care for it correctly, you could end up having to repeat the process again.
Start watering your sod immediately after it is laid. Water your sod daily or twice daily for the first two weeks until the grass is firmly rooted. How much and how often you water depends upon the weather conditions. Watch the sod carefully and give it enough water to keep it from drying out. You may need to water some areas more frequently than others, depending on how much heat and sunlight the grass receives.
After two weeks, you can reduce the frequency of your waterings, but do not allow your lawn to wilt. Provide about an inch of water every seven to 10 days. Heavy, weekly waterings are better than light daily waterings.
Stay off your sod for the first two to three weeks. Heavy use of the sod during this time could cause the sod to become uneven, causing indentations or air pockets. Especially avoid walking on the sod right after it has been watered.
Mow the sod when it reaches a height of 2 1/2 to 3 inches tall after the first two weeks. Use a sharp blade to avoid ripping and damaging the grass. Cut no more than one-third of the total height of the grass for the first few mowings and wait until the grass reaches a height of 2 1/2 to 3 inches to mow again.
You do not need to apply fertilizer before laying sod or during the first month. Fertilizers applied during this time will be washed away before they can be absorbed. Instead, amend the soil with organic matter before laying the sod. After a month, you can fertilize with a general 10-10-10 fertilizer if necessary.
Avoid using herbicides the first year because they can damage the new sod. Only use them as spot treatments in extreme situations.
Test for root development about 10 days after your sod is laid. Grasp the grass blades with both hands and lift straight up. If the sod resists, the roots have started to develop. At this point, you can reduce your waterings and start mowing.