You’ve done the prep work, selecting the perfect sod variety, and laid your gorgeous new green lawn. You sit patiently, waiting day after day for your sod to take root and start growing…but it doesn’t. What gives?
Newly Laid Sod
New sod is quite sensitive and requires a considerable amount of care, especially in the first 6-8 weeks after installation. If your newly laid sod doesn’t seem to be growing well, consider the fact that newly laid sod takes around six weeks to completely root itself to the underlying ground. During that six weeks or so, the grass is focused on root expansion, not blade height. As a result, you may not see a lot of vertical growth during this period, but that’s perfectly normal.
Encourage root growth by watering new sod every day for the first four weeks, then every other day for the next four weeks. This watering schedule will encourage the growth of your sod’s shallow and deep roots. Check the root development around week six by grabbing a patch of grass and pulling it straight up. If it holds firm, the roots have penetrated the underlying ground and are doing great.
After 6-8 weeks have passed, your sod should have a growth spurt and finally be ready for that first mow!
Now that your sod is well established, it should have no trouble growing up nice and tall in the hot Florida sun. However, there are some reasons why even established sod doesn’t want to grow well, including:
Mowing Too Low
This is probably the most common reason we see for people’s established sod not growing well. The idea that cutting your grass super short will reduce the number of times you need to mow every year is partially true…but only because you don’t need to mow dead grass, and that’s what mowing grass too low does. We could never understand why anyone would want to scalp their beautiful sod down almost to the ground, but this can cause permanent damage if the crowns of the grass blades are affected. Without an intact crown, the grass cannot perform photosynthesis and can therefore not grow. So set your mower blades to 2” or higher for the best growth possible.
Over or Underwatering
Both overwatering and underwatering take a toll on your sod and cause stunted growth. We recommend following the new sod watering schedule for the first 8 weeks after installation, then watering 1-2 times per week after that, depending on the season. Your lawn will obviously need more water in the summer months and less in the winter. During each watering session, cover your lawn with a uniform ¾” of water for the best results. Always refer back to your sod variety’s manufacturer or grower for specific watering recommendations for that variety.
Just like humans, grass needs the right nutrients to grow healthy and strong. With sod, it is especially important that the underlying ground contains the right mix of nutrients so that the sod adheres to the ground properly and root development occurs. We suggest preparing the soil before laying sod with any nutrients that it may be missing. A quick and easy soil test can tell you exactly what remediation your soil needs for optimal sod growth. Once the sod is laid, do not fertilize for the first 8 weeks, then fertilize three times per year with a fertilizer made specifically for your sod variety and location.
High-Quality Sod in Tampa Bay
For the highest-quality sod available in Tampa Bay, trust the sod experts at Council Growers Sod in Hillsborough County. We grow only the finest warm-weather sod varieties that are designed to thrive in central Florida’s hot, humid weather. Give us a call at (813) 633-8665 or contact us online to find out more about our sod varieties and get expert help choosing the perfect variety for your home or project.