Thank you for the opportunity to provide new sod for your lawn. Proper care of the new sod is a critical element to establishing the healthy lawn you are looking for. With this in mind, we are providing the following tips to help you achieve these results.
Your lawn needs the most water during the first two (2) weeks after being newly installed. Begin watering newly laid sod within 30 minutes of installation. Apply at least 1” of water so that the soil beneath the turf is wet. Ideally 3”-4” of soil beneath the surface should be moist but not puddling. Turf is a living plant that requires ground contact and moisture to survive. “Typically,” this requires watering twice a day for about 20 minutes per watering. This should be enough so that your lawn gets a solid 1-2 inches of water per cycle. The morning and midafternoon (between 12PM-2:00 PM to allow time for lawn to dry before evening) are the best times to water your lawn but remember to adjust your watering schedule to account for rainfall. Water early in the morning, 6-8am. Wind speeds are lower, and less water is lost to evaporation. Watering in the evening is discouraged, water remaining on the grass can promote disease and fungus.
After two (2) weeks you can reduce your watering schedule to once per day. This can be further reduced to once every other day after three (3) weeks. After four (4) weeks you should be able to reduce the watering to one (1-3) days a week (about 1 inch of watering a week). Best watering times once established is between 9 PM (to mimic evening dew) to 9 AM for best absorption. I recommend to schedule watering for established sod 3 days a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (or Saturday) for 20 minutes in the growing season. I also recommend one of these cycles to run when you are able to observe the system to make sure everything is working properly and there are no leaks, etc.
The above recommendations are guidelines. Things like air temperature, rainfall, sunlight and even wind can require adjustments. As noted below: there are ways your new sod can let you know if it is getting the proper level of water.
While grass loves water, new sod is different. It is possible to over water new sod, and it can even happen easier than you expect. New sod has very short roots which makes it harder for it to retain a lot of moisture. As outlined above, it is better to water new sod in a short burst with less, as opposed to large amounts of water at once. One way to tell if your sod is being overwatered is to check the bottom of the soil a few minutes after watering. If the soil under the sod is still soggy five minutes after your watering session has ended, chances are you are overwatering your new sod.
Always monitor your new lawn for signs of dryness by checking the edges of each piece as well as the overall perimeter of your lawn as these are the most susceptible to drying out. You can use a hose with a spray nozzle to “spot water” any areas that your sprinklers might not be reaching or providing enough water for.
Another critical area of care is to limit traffic on your new sod, especially during the first two (2) weeks and preferably before the first mowing. This should include pets whenever possible. This will help the roots to establish themselves, and until they are firmly entrenched, your sod is vulnerable.
You should mow as soon as the roots have been properly established and grass blades have grown a couple inches or so. A good way to identify this is to try and lift the sod with a slight steady pull. You should have some difficulty pulling up individual pieces of sod. Typically, this should be about 2-3 weeks after the sod has been laid.
When you mow, be sure to set your mower to the highest setting so that you are only removing the tops of the leaf blades (no more than 1/3 of the length of the blades of grass at a time). If you start mowing and pieces of your new lawn start coming up, you either have your mower set too low, or your sod has not put down sufficient roots. Stop immediately and wait a few more days.
At any given time, including once the sod is established, it is important to always use sharp mower blades and to never cut off more than 1/3 of the blade of grass at a time. This helps reduce stress on the grass and provides the healthy look you are looking to achieve.
The key to having a beautiful lawn to enjoy for years to come is ongoing maintenance. This includes proper mowing and fertilization. Please keep in mind that the Greer Gardens team is here to assist you with these needs. Our team of professionals customize our programs to meet the unique needs of each of our customers. This includes utilizing the latest technologies and resources to drive the desired results. Please let us know if you would be interested in getting a proposal on our services in these areas.