How to Care for Your New Sod
You finally got that new lawn you have always wanted! Sod is by far the best way to establish a new lawn, especially when it comes to Bermuda or Zoysia. Many homeowners dream of the day they can get a fresh start with a newly sodded lawn. If this is you, take a breath and try not to overthink caring for your new lawn. Here is a simple checklist to ensure you have success with your new Bermuda or Zoysia lawn.
- Make Sure the Roots are White and the Sod is Green! Unless you are laying the sod in the fall or winter while the turf is dormant, your turf should arrive green. No matter what time of the year, the roots should be white and fleshy. Remember that even if your grass is dormant, the roots of the turf are alive and should look that way. Starting off with healthy sod is a game changer as you work to establish your new lawn.
- Water Daily at First This is the most important part of establishing a new lawn. If you are establishing a lawn during the spring and summer growing season, you should plan to water daily as the new sod is trying to root into your existing soil. Pay attention to the weather because a good rain shower can equal a daily watering. You may need to skip a day or two depending on how much rain you received from mother nature. Your new sod should dry out in between watering so that it never stays so wet that it feels like a mushy swamp. After the sod has rooted into the ground and you can no longer pull up the pieces of sod, we suggest moving to a 3 times per week watering schedule. You should apply a total of 1’’ of water per week. Learn more on how to water an established lawn by reading this blog post, Watering – Why It’s A Must.
- Don’t Mow This is pretty much the only time we will ever recommend NOT mowing your lawn, so enjoy this time! In all seriousness, a newly sodded lawn does not need to be mowed while it is rooting into the ground. Generally, we suggest waiting until the lawn has fully rooted into the ground before mowing. Once you start mowing the lawn, make sure to check out this blog post that goes into detail on how to mow your lawn, How Mowing Can Help Us Help You.
- Don’t Fertilize We often receive calls where clients want a starter fertilizer applied to their newly sodded lawns. Generally, we do not recommend treating a new lawn. Good sod has been fertilized at the farm. Since we cannot know exactly what was applied, the safe bet is to avoid fertilization until the sod is rooted into the ground.
- Stop Stressing About Weeds! Every new lawn gets weeds, so brace yourself. Make sure you follow good mowing practices to minimize the germination of weeds in your new sod. We generally like to wait 90 days after installation before applying preventative weed control treatments like a pre-emergent. Even with the pre-emergent, you are controlling the next season’s weeds, so you should anticipate some weeds as your new lawn is getting established. Some spot treating can be done before 90 days to help control the weeds. However, this should be minimal as the primary goal is to get the lawn established and not remove weeds. Always consult with a turf care professional before applying weed control products to your lawn.
Congratulations on your new lawn! Every landscape is a little different; make sure you consult with your local turf care professional to ensure everyone is on the same page. Have a plan, so that as soon as possible you can start feeding your lawn with fertilizer and preventing weeds through pre-emergent treatments. Best of luck and feel free to reach out to our team with any questions.