Question: I just put down new sod on my lawn, how should I maintain it? What do I need to watch out for to make sure it grows well?
- Samuel H. (Mobile, AL)
Answer: When installing new sod, proper and frequent watering is crucial. Immediately after laying down the sod, saturate the sod with at least an inch of water. Water the turf three times a day for the first 10 days to keep it moist. During this time, keep foot traffic off the new turf.
After the 10 days, water the turf 2-4 times a week depending on weather conditions. If it’s rainy and wet, water less; if it’s hot and dry, water more. The idea is to keep the new turf moist. And for the next four weeks or so, keep foot traffic at a minimum and your pets off the turf.
Within 1-2 weeks, the sod will begin to root. Once firmly rooted (where you cannot pick the sod off the ground), you can mow for the first time. Just remember to stop watering 24-36 hours before your first mow allowing the turf to dry to avoid making permanent imprints on a ground that’s too wet. After mowing, immediately water. Continue to water daily for a week or so then you can cut the watering down to every other day. Remember, to stimulate deep root growth for stronger and healthier turf, you need to water deeply (8″-12″). Watering frequently but lightly only promotes shallow roots which will make your grass susceptible to heat stress and disease.
If it’s necessary to apply insecticides, you may do so at least four weeks after the sod installation. And you should plan out your regular fertilization schedule (about 3-6 times a year depending on the type of turf you have).