Lawn Care for New Sod

Overview

Installing sod will give you an instant lawn, but don't let its good looks fool you into thinking you won't have to take care of it. Mostly, you'll have to water, water, water your new sod to get it off to a good start.

Day of Installation

Step 1

Insist that the installers start laying the sod the minute it arrives at the job site. Sod starts to dry as soon as it's cut, so you need to get it installed as quickly as you can.

Step 2

Start watering the sod as soon as the installers finish laying each section. Don't wait to water until they've finished with the entire lawn.

Step 3

Keep watering until the soil 6 inches beneath the sod is soggy. You'll know when you reach that point because the sod will be mushy when you walk on it.

For Two Weeks After Installation

Step 1

Keep watering! According to Wegman's Nursery, it's nearly impossible to overwater new sod. You may have to water two to six times a day to keep the sod and the soil beneath it moist.

Step 2

During this period, don't walk on the sod until after you mow it for the first time.

Step 3

If you've installed sod in the spring, summer or fall, mow the first time about two weeks after installation. If you installed it in the winter, don't mow for at least three weeks. You may have to slow the irrigation for a day or so before you mow. Mow high - don't cut off more than 1/3 of the height of the grass.

For Three to Four Weeks After Installation

Step 1

Water less frequently, but for longer periods each time.

Step 2

From time to time, pull up tiny plugs of sod to check on rooting progress.

Step 3

Fertilize the sod at least once a month.

Tips and Warnings

  • If your sod isn't developing roots within two weeks after installation, water it less frequently but more deeply. If you see footprints or bluish-green spots on the sod, parts of it aren't getting enough water. Water it longer and make sure your sprinklers are covering all of the lawn evenly. If you see gaps between the rolls of sod, or the edges of the rolls are turning brown, it's shrinking because it's not getting enough water. Increase the frequency of waterings and the length. Also, try watering by hand. After you've watered, press the edges of the rolls back into place with your foot.

Things You'll Need

  • Lawn sprinklers or a lawn irrigation system
  • Lawn mower
  • Fertilizer

References

  • New Sod Care; Wegman's Nursery
Keywords: lawn care, new sod, watering

About this Author

Cheyenne Cartwright has worked in publishing for more than 25 years. She has served as an editor for several large nonprofit institutions, and her writing has appeared in a variety of publications, including "Professional Bull Rider Magazine." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Oklahoma Christian University and a Master of Arts in English from the University of Tulsa.