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How to Maintain New Sod Lawn

By Jennifer Loucks ; Updated September 21, 2017

A sod lawn is created by laying down a fully established living grass carpet over bare soil. The lower layer of the sod is top soil, which adheres to the prepared soil area in your lawn once the root structure advances. Sod lawns do not require an aggressive maintenance plan; you simply need to water them to stimulate root growth into the existing soil bed. Install the sod immediately after purchasing it to prevent drying and damage to the grass. If the installation of your new sod lawn is inevitably delayed after you have already purchased the sod, store it in a cool, shaded location and keep it moist.

Water your newly laid sod three times per week if you planted it in the cool spring and fall months. Water it daily if you planted it in the hot summer months. For the first 7 to 10 days, apply 1 inch of water to the sod lawn every time you water it, to make sure the water reaches down to the root structure.

Let the sod dry slightly approximately two weeks after installation so you can mow it.

Mow the sod lawn down to a height of 3 inches once it reaches 4 to 5 inches in height. Mow the sod on weekly, as it will grow quickly from the aggressive watering. Make sure your mower has a sharp blade and is set to the highest setting to prevent sod damage.

Rake grass clippings after mowing or use a grass bagger attachment on the lawn mower. This will prevent thatch buildup in the sod.

Fertilize the newly laid sod six weeks after laying it down. Use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer at a ratio of 16-16-16. If you install the sod lawn in fall, fertilize it the following spring.


Things You Will Need

  • Sod
  • Hose or sprinkler system
  • Mower
  • Rake
  • Nitrogen-rich fertilizer


  • If you use a sprinkler system, place a small can in the path of the sprinkler to collect water and measure the amount being applied.
  • To help prevent disease, do not mow off more than 1/3 of the grass height.
  • Do not use weed or crabgrass chemicals on the sod for the first year.

About the Author


Jennifer Loucks has been writing since 1998. She previously worked as a technical writer for a software development company, creating software documentation, help documents and training curriculum. She now writes hobby-based articles on cooking, gardening, sewing and running. Loucks also trains for full marathons, half-marathons and shorter distance running. She holds a Bachelor of Science in animal science and business from University of Wisconsin-River Falls.