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How to Care for New Sod

Grass sod provides a quick way to establish a green lawn. Although often more expensive than grass seed, sod is easy to care for once established. Damage to lawns grown from sod normally occurs during installation or the initial phase of establishment. Knowing how to care for new sod from the time of delivery ensures your best chances for a healthy lawn for years to come.

Unroll your new sod as soon as possible and moisten with a fine spray from a garden hose. Begin planting on your prepared site as soon after delivery as possible. Install according to the supplier’s instruction. Store sections of your sod in a shady location as you install other sections.

Water your new sod immediately after installing. Keep the soil moist during the first couple of weeks by watering every day. Check for root development by pulling up a section of the sod. Once the sod resists lifting from the soil beneath, it is time to reduce the frequency of watering. This normally takes 10 to 14 days to occur. Gradually cut back on watering to allow soil surface to dry slightly between sessions.

Mow your new sod after the sod shows signs of firm establishment and the majority of the grass blades reach a height of 3 inches or more. This normally occurs two to three weeks after installation of your new sod. Set the height on your lawn mower blade to cut one third off the top of the blades. Avoid cutting more than one third of the grass height at a time.

Aerify your sod lawn to increase air and water availability to the roots. Rent a commercial aerifier or hire a lawn company or landscaping business to perform this process for you. Do not aerify your new sod in the heat of the summer. Wait until fall or spring when the grass is established and the temperatures are cooler.

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