Care of New Sod


Sod is grass that has been removed from the soil it was grown in. The grass has roots that are 2 to 3 inches long and comes with 1 to 2 inches of soil attached. Sod is installed over prepared soil, giving the illusion of an instant lawn. Sod is an illusion, at least for the first 6 months after installation, as it will die quickly if not properly taken care of. Properly cared-for sod roots in 7 to 10 days. This means the grass roots have penetrated into the underlying soil. You can tell if your sod has rooted by gently pulling on the grass. If the grass/sod feels loose or "tents," it has not rooted.

Step 1

Wait 30 minutes after your sod is installed before watering. Give your sod 1 inch of water for the first watering. Water the sod every day for the first 14 days, giving it 1 to 2 inches of water. After 2 weeks only water your sod once or twice a week. Established sod needs 1 to 3 inches of water a week.

Step 2

Fertilize your sod with a liquid or granular lawn fertilizer 4 weeks after installation. Apply according to package instructions. Fertilize again as you would an established lawn: fall or spring for cool season and early to mid-summer for warm season.

Step 3

Mow your new sod 4 to 5 weeks after installation or when the grass reaches 4 inches high. Adjust your lawn mower to cut the grass to 2 inches high.

Step 4

Keep everyone, including pets, off the new sod for 4 weeks. If you must walk on newly installed sod, do so when the grass is dry.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not apply herbicides or pesticides to your sod for 2 months after installation. Doing so may damage or kill the grass. Do not allow your sod to dry out. If your sod does dry out try a deep watering (3 to 4 inches) to re-hydrate the grass. Do not mow your sod lower than 2 inches. Mown lower than 2 inches your sod may not have enough surface area to perform photosynthesis and will start to brown and die.

Things You'll Need

  • Watering hose or irrigation system
  • Lawn mower
  • Liquid or granular lawn fertilizer high in Nitrogen (N)


  • Landscape America; Post Planting Sod Care
  • Yardener; Caring for New Sod
  • The Garden Primer; Barbara Damrosch; 1988

Who Can Help

  • Joe Cooling & Sons Inc.; Installing and Maintaining Sod
Keywords: caring for sod, installing sod, caring for a new lawn, lawn care, sod