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Top Tips for Caring for Your New Sod

Your lawn is important.

Whether it’s a play area for the kids, the showcase of the front garden, or just something nice to look at when you’re looking out of the window, you want it to be as green and lush as possible.

This doesn’t come without hard work and graft, however, you need to know when to cut, when to water, and even when to start all over with a new lawn. 

How often to water new sod

There are two ways to start a lawn.

The first way is to use grass seeds and scatter them evenly across your lawn either using your hands or a seeder. The second and easier way is to use sod.

Sod is grass that has already begun growing in a section of soil. You simply place this grass on top of your soil and use a roller to make sure that the roots are implanted from the sod into your soil.

This article is your guide when caring for new sod, exploring the problems you may face and how to solve them. If all is done right, you’ll have your perfect lawn in no time.

How Do I Keep New Sod From Drying Out?

One of the most common problems that come with new sod is moisture and water, as sod is prone to becoming dehydrated especially when new.

One of the biggest culprits that leads to dry sod is the soil it is planted on.

If the soil that you install the sod on is dry, the sod will lose moisture very quickly as dry soil will suck out any moisture that the sod has, leaving the sod under-watered.

The way to prevent this is to water and till the soil right before installing the sod.

It can also help by installing the sod when the ground is cool, this is either early morning or in the evening.

The lower temperatures will not only help the sod retain its moisture but will also prevent new roots from going into shock.

When your sod is installed, you must keep a consistent watering schedule to ensure that the sod doesn’t dry out.

If you’ve installed your sod in the warmer summer months, it should be watered often during the day, this will prevent root shrinkage, if you’ve installed your sod in the cooler winter months then watering should be more measured.

The first month of your new sod installation is crucial when it comes to watering, and you should water well for this time to ensure it stays moist.

Having a sprinkler system or hiring a professional for this first month may be a good idea, if this isn’t possible, we have a few tips to help you water your new sod.

Tips For Watering New Sod

Once you’ve installed the sod onto moist soil, your watering schedule will rely on a few things, the climate in your area, your soil type, and your lawn’s irrigation system.

If your sod is being installed over soil that is mostly sandy loam, then it will need to be watered at least seven times each day for the first month. If your new sod is being installed over clay soil then this number reduces to four times daily.

If you are unsure about which your soil is, take a sample of the soil to your nearest garden store, and they can tell you.

As well as how often you water it is important to know exactly how much water should be used in your new sod.

New sod will not be able to soak up too much water in one go, this is why you need to only wet the roots when watering new sod.

Too much water can make the soil soggy underneath the sod and cause root rot.

Start watering just after sunrise each day and space out your sessions throughout the day to give ample time for your roots to absorb the moisture they need.

Stop watering your sod around sundown or in the late evening.

When it is night or after the sun is down, roots soak up water much slower than when the sun is up, so if you water in the night it will make it very easy to overwater your sod. 

Overwatering Sod

The roots of new sod are very short and cannot retain as much moisture as fully grown grass.

This is why you should water new sod with less water in very short frequent bursts instead of large amounts of water more infrequently.

If you overwater new sod, the roots will not get the oxygen they need to thrive and eventually die out.

If you live in a warmer climate and have installed your sod in warm weather, then overwatering can also lead to diseases that will be difficult to get rid of. 

There is a way to tell if you are overwatering your new sod.

After you finish watering your new sod, check the bottom of the soil.

If the bottom of the soil is still soggy after five minutes have passed then you are likely to be overwatering your new sod. Then simply cut back on the amount of water you are using when watering your sod.

Watering new sod

How Long Does It Take New Sod To Take Root?

New sod’s roots will usually start establishing themselves in the soil after a week of being installed, this is if the sod is properly watered and cared for during this time.

However, this can vary, sometimes the climate of the area, the soil quality, and the season that you are planting your sod in can have an effect on the time it takes for new sod to take root.

In some cases, new sod can take as long as two weeks to establish its roots in the soil.

During this time it is important not to overwater the new sod as water can stop the roots from establishing themselves in the soil. 

As you get closer to the first mowing period for your new sod, it is important to reduce the amount of water you use when watering the sod. Less water allows the roots to firmly take hold in the soil as they search for extra moisture.

The deeper the roots are, the firmer the sod is in the ground, this lessens the risk of pulling up any of the grass during your first mow.

If the soil is too soft from watering too much coming up to your first mow, it is likely that you will end up pulling the sod up from the soil with its roots.

This will mean having to start the process of installing sod all over again.

If you have installed your sod in the summer and warmer seasons, then the first mow should be scheduled for around two to three weeks after the sod is installed.

However, in the cooler winter months, the sod will need at least one month to fully establish itself in the soil before its first mow. 

Avoiding Foot Traffic On New Sod

It is very important to avoid walking on sod too early after it has been installed.

You should keep any foot traffic away from new sod until at least its first mowing, this is easier said than done when dealing with pets and children.

Until the roots have grown deep enough through regular watering, the roots will be too loose to have any stress put upon them.

Anyone walking on new roots can cause the roots to either become loose or not root properly.

This means that the grass won’t get the nutrients or water it needs, or it could cause roots to fail to grow resulting in the same.

Fertilizing New Sod

You should fertilize your new sod approximately five weeks after its installation.

The type of fertilizer needed for new sod depends on the sod you have installed and the type of soil that you have installed the sod on.

To find out which fertilizer is recommended for the soil that you have, you can take a sample of your soil to the nearest Extension or some garden stores.

They will tell you the type of soil you have and recommend fertilizers to use on your sod.

It is important to fertilize new sod as sometimes the roots will not be able to get the right amount of nutrition from the soil and water themselves.

Fertilizer is proven to help new roots establish themselves in the soil as well as grow and thrive at a healthier rate.

You should fertilize a lawn around four times a year after it has been established. 

We recommend that you use liquid fertilizer on new and established sod.

Liquid fertilizers can soak down through the surface of the sod and into the soil beneath them. This allows the roots to take hold in the soil instead of getting its fertilizer closer to the surface as it would have to do with solid fertilizer.

You should also aerate your lawn around half a year after installing your new sod, and then once a year afterward to maintain a healthy lawn.

New sod fertilizer

Should New Sod Turn Brown?

The point of having sod instead of seeds is that sod is cultivated carefully by professionals before it is handed over to you to use on your lawn.

It would’ve been cultivated within all of the right conditions to allow the sod to have the right amount of sunlight, water, and nutrients to survive. This means that the new sod is very healthy and is unlikely to turn brown.

When the grass turns brown it usually means that it has died from not getting enough sunlight, water, or nutrients.

However, once the new sod is installed it is crucial that it is looked after well. If it is not looked after within the right parameters then it can turn brown and die.

If you wait too long to install your sod after purchasing it, it won’t get enough of the things it needs to survive and will eventually die.

There are other ways that your sod can turn brown after you have installed it.

If your sod is not hitting the adequate moisture and water levels needed then the roots will become dormant, during this dormant stage, the sod will become brown.

However, this does not mean the sod is dead, and it can be easily revived with continued watering, if you do not give the sod enough water to get it out of its dormant stage it will die. 

Final Thoughts

Caring for new sod is crucial if you want your lawn to thrive.

It is important to give the sod the right amount of water and no not overwater it, overwatering is a common mistake, you should be using small amounts of water frequently on new sod.

It is also important to avoid foot traffic and give your sod the right amount of fertilization in order for it to grow.

If you follow these steps you are sure to have a healthy, lush lawn in no time.

Ian richardson

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