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After Installation: Caring for New Sod

Fresh SOD

The finishing touch to most landscape designs is the grass. Most home developments use sod to install grass. Seed is inexact and can sometimes make lawns more open to weeds and patchy growth patterns. 


However, simply laying your sod will not immediately give you the emerald lawn you've always wanted. New sod requires care, and if the grass is not carefully tended, it will not keep its beauty. The sod might grow better in some places than others, leaving you with a lawn that appears uneven in both health and coloring. 


This guide will help you care for your new sod properly. Read on to learn more. 


Water

Water is the most essential part of new sod care. Watering the incorrect amount is usually why new sod can fail, especially in hot temperatures. If your grass does dry out, then the sod pieces will start to shrink, leaving gaps between the sections. These gaps contribute to uneven lawn appearance and weed infiltration. 


As soon as your new sod is laid, begin watering. The sod should be spongy, and the water should pool around the grass after installation. You should thoroughly soak the sod so that the water seeps through it to the ground underneath, prompting the roots to penetrate below the cut turf. 


For the next few days, you should water in the early morning, and check the grass around noon to see if it is damp. If the grass is not damp, then water each section for 15 to 20 minutes to allow for full soaking. However, if water has puddled in areas, the grass is too wet and you should avoid watering for a little while.


After about a week, the roots of your sod will be more deeply established, so they won't need constant access to water. The key now is to space out the watering so that the roots will go deeper for water.


Try to continue watering in the early morning so the water can sink in without evaporating off in the heat of the day.


Finally, you can transition your grass to less frequent watering; this is best for long-term lawn health. Once or twice a week, depending on how hot the weather is and how well your soil drains, should be enough as long as you provide a long, deep drink for the grass. 


Foot Traffic

Your sod may look very inviting right after installation. It's new, fresh, and your grass has never been so green and lush. However, you must resist the urge to party on the grass for at least two or three weeks. 


If you walk on the sod before the root system is fully established, then the grass will be stress. The new sod will also be wet enough from your watering that your feet will cause pooling and depressions as you walk. These depressions can stick, making the grass look uneven later.


Until you've stopped daily watering, your grass needs to be left alone to fully integrate into the soil before you begin any backyard entertaining. 


Mowing

Another mistake that people can make is mowing their sod too early or too short. Your sod needs tall, uncut blades of grass to provide food for new root development. After your roots are fully developed and your grass is dry enough to cut and walk on without leaving depressions, you can start cutting the grass. This typically takes about a week, sometimes two weeks.


Walk slowly behind your mower, or use a slow speed if you are using a lawn tractor. You don't want to accidentally lift some sod pieces from forceful mowing and turning. You can turn up the acceleration later when your grass has really settled in. 


Never cut the grass shorter than two and a half inches, and wait until the blades are a little taller than three and a half inches before the first cut. If you cut the grass too short, then the grass will be stressed, and it will be easier for weeds to grow. For more information or professional help with your sod, contact us at Landscape Solutions.