The perfect house has a beautiful lawn, right? If you don’t have that lawn yet, you can get it. Laying sod is a traditional and reliable way to transform your yard into something amazing. If you want luscious grass, it’s the way to go, but you probably have some questions before you get started. Let’s go over the basics of caring for new sod.
When it comes to new sod, watering is the top priority. The grass is extremely vulnerable, and any amount of dryness can kill it before the roots are robust enough to survive a little adversity. In the first two weeks, the sod should remain moist and damp throughout the day. This means it needs sprinkling anywhere from two to six times a day. They don’t have to be long, deep sessions, but the sod should remain spongy. Obviously, maintaining this will depend on humidity and the weather, but as long as you don’t have persistent, standing puddles, you don’t have to worry about over watering.
Once you get past the first two weeks, you’ll start transitioning to more normal watering. Realistically, the sod is going to be thirstier in the entire first growing season than after, but you don’t have to keep it perpetually wet after two weeks. You can drop to watering once or twice a day. These sessions should be longer (on average about 20 minutes), and can be lessened after a good rain. You’re mostly looking for any sign of browning. If you see any at all, increase your watering.
After the first month, the roots should be pretty healthy, and you won’t have to water as often. You can play around with skipping a day to see how the grass responds. Eventually, you should only need to water two to three times a week, depending on the weather.
New sod will be hungry for nutrition. There should be plenty to get it started when it is laid, but as those roots develop, you’ll burn through initial fertilizer pretty fast. At the end of the first month, you’ll want to fertilize again. After that first month, you can follow the schedule recommended for your grass. You might need one more session before the end of the first season, but from there, your standard one to two times a year will suffice.
For that initial fertilizing, some recommend liquid products. They’re easier for underdeveloped roots to access and process. This helps to establish healthy roots early after planting. That said, traditional fertilizer isn’t bad for your sod. It will work; it just might not be as efficient.
When it comes to new sod, mowing questions are some of the most common. Everyone is afraid of the first mow, and there’s a good reason for that. If you don’t know a few tips, it’s easy to damage the sod on the first mow. Fortunately, these few trade secrets will eliminate that risk and leave you in good shape.
You’re not going to mow in the first two weeks. Unless you have explosive growth and you’re afraid of getting lost in the lawn (and you shouldn’t be walking on it at this point anyway), you want to wait at least two weeks before the first mow. The grass should be longer than you might normally like it. This is important because mowing while the roots are shallow is when you’re at the highest risk of causing damage.
For your first mow, set the blades as high as they can go. You shouldn’t be removing more than a third of the grass height. Pay close attention when you start. Chunks of sod should not be coming up, but they will if the roots are too shallow. If you see any sign of that, go ahead and put off the first mow. You can also double check that you raised the blades to their maximum.
After your lawn has survived the mower, you’re in much better shape. You should be able to walk on the lawn (when it isn’t soggy). You can also start mowing it more normally. You still want to let the grass stay longer than you might like throughout the first season, but you don’t need to worry about chunks coming up if it does fine on the first cut.
Once you make it through the first season, you can treat your new lawn like normal grass. It should have a strong root system and be able to endure normal treatment. Now that you know the secrets, you’re ready to lay sod. If you want professional help getting the job done right, Zoysia Sod is here for you.