Tips for Properly Caring for Sod
When you spend thousands of dollars on a gorgeous new sod lawn, you want to do everything you can to take extra special care of that new sod. Here are our top tips for properly caring for sod during installation, and after it has been laid, during the time when its roots are establishing and growing down into your soil.
Proper watering is hands down the most important part of caring for newly laid sod. It is crucial that you water the new sod sufficiently in the first 8 weeks to encourage adequate root growth. Without enough water, your new sod will never root down into the soil below and will eventually die, leaving you with an expensive lawn of brown grass.
For optimal new sod establishment, water it every single day for the first four weeks, then every other day for the next four weeks. During each watering, make sure to cover the entire lawn in a uniform ½” to ¾” of water. We highly recommend using a professionally installed sprinkler or irrigation system to ensure total coverage. Be sure to adjust your watering schedule if it rains…overwatering is just as bad as under watering for new sod.
While it may be tempting to hit your new sod with a nutrient boost if it isn’t growing very fast…DON’T DO IT! New sod does not need fertilizer, and it can actually be very harmful. Do not fertilize your new sod for at least the first 3-8 weeks, or until the roots have fully penetrated and adhered to the soil below. To test for root adherence, simply try to lift up a corner of one of the sod pieces. Does it come up easily? Then the roots are not yet established. Established sod will hold firmly to the ground below.
When you are ready to fertilize, be sure to choose a fertilizer made for your sod variety and climate. Different sod varieties have different nutrient needs, and their manufacturers will usually recommend a specific mix based on your location. Some manufacturers even produce their own fertilizer specifically designed to be the best for that sod variety. If you need recommendations, just ask while placing your order.
Mowing is another big NO-NO for new sod. Sometimes new sod growth takes off, giving you a shaggy, unkempt looking yard. It’s hard for proud homeowners to just let their lawns grow untamed (what will the neighbors think?), but for your new sod to establish itself well, you must resist the urge to mow, for two reasons:
- Running a lawnmower over the new sod compresses it down to the underlying ground, restricting the root’s ability to penetrate and adhere; and
- If you cut the grass too low, you can damage the crown. In order to survive, the grass will focus all its energy on repairing that crown damage instead of root establishment, meaning your new sod will take much longer to properly adhere, if it ever does at all.
So only mow after the initial 3-8 week establishment period or once the roots have fully established to the soil below. See the fertilizer section above for how to check for root establishment.
You may run into a few problems while your new sod is trying to grow into the ground below, namely:
Now, if you prepared your soil properly before laying your new sod and had it professionally installed, chances are, you won’t run into any of these issues. However, there are some cases where no matter how well-prepared you were, issues still arise. This is because newly laid sod, which has just been cut from its growing location and transported to your home, is super stressed and more vulnerable to these problems. Improper watering, fertilizing too soon, or mowing too soon can also leave the sod at risk of problems. Furthermore, inferior, discount sod has a much higher chance of having weeds in it. If you purchase sod from Council Growers Sod in central Florida, you’ll get fresh, healthy, locally-grown sod delivered right to your door on the day of harvest. This reduces the chances of weed infiltration, disease or fungus growth, and pest invasions.
The best way to handle these issues is to hire a professional lawn care company with experience in new sod care. However, if you need or want to do it yourself, feel free to contact us for recommendations and suggestions.
Tampa Bay’s Premier Sod Supplier
Are you ready to lay the highest-quality sod available in Tampa Bay? Then contact Council Growers Sod at (813) 633-8665, and we’ll handle the rest. From our farm in southern Hillsborough County right to your door, it doesn’t get any fresher or healthier than Council Growers. You can also check out the varieties we offer proven to thrive in Florida’s climate, get info on sod care, and even order online right on our website.