Have you gone through the expense and effort of buying and laying a new sod? Are you questioning yourself “how to care for new sod’? Are you worried about those unwanted pests goofing around in your surroundings? Here is a comprehensive guide for maintaining your new sod and becoming proud of that lush green turf skirting your house.
Firstly, you’ve got to keep in mind that sod is perishable; therefore it must be instantly installed. After rolling that new sod of yours, begin deep irrigation, almost 6 inches down into the soil till it’s quite swampy to walk on.
Lawn lovers often say that a new sod is like a newborn baby; requiring extremely delicate care, affection and observation for the first 2 weeks. For your ever-existing query “how to care for new sod?” it is strictly advised to stay off the new sod until after the first mowing. Moreover, you should try to keep as much traffic off of the turf as possible because it can damage the establishment process of the new sod. You can also check the dampness on the underside of the new sod if you’re uncertain about your irrigation levels. And remember ‘DO NOT mow the lawn at all during the first few days.’
For your new sod care, it is highly crucial to religiously keep in mind the most essentials requirements of your turf:
Proper watering of your newly laid out turf is indispensable for the root establishment to ensure efficient new sod care. If you happen to live in an area with a daily temperature above 65 degrees, it is recommended to water the turf twice a day.
On the day of the installation, you should apply enough water to penetrate the new sod. Make sure to water each section of your new sod and ascertain by walking on it; if you notice deep footprints, it means that the turf has sufficient water.
From the second day, make sure to keep your sod and soil thoroughly moist throughout the day. Except for the first day, the soil under the turf should never be soggy. For your new sod care, watering 4 to 6 times during the day, for approximately 5 to 6 minutes each time, is required until the roots have been established.
Too much water will make the roots lose their oxygen which possibly can lead to diseases during warm conditions. The duration of your watering cycles would depend on the type of soil and your irrigation system’s output.
Make sure that the soil is damp; neither dripping wet nor dusty dry. Look out for the colour of the sod; if it’s green, then everything is perfect; Bluish-green indicates insufficient water; yellow-tan signals that the turf is undergoing intense heat or moisture and would probably become dormant.
Root establishment will usually appear within the first 7 to 14 days depending on your installation period and environmental conditions.
Keep in mind that during the first 2 weeks the turf, its bottom should never be dry for ideal new sod care. Once you have mowed the lawn for the first time, then you can water every day early in the morning.
Your new sod will grow new roots best when you mow it regularly at a proper height.
Although, making deep footprints when the soil is soft won’t hurt the turf, but will result in an uneven lawn.
The first mowing should be about 14 days after installation of the sod. During winters, you may need to wait longer for the roots to establish before mowing. A thumb rule for mowing is to never use more than 1/3 of the blade during a mowing cycle.
After the first 14 days, your new sod should be deeply rooted in the ground, which you can check by lifting a corner of your new sod. If the area you lift does not pull up easily, it indicates that the roots are forming well.
After 14 days, you can gradually reduce the frequency of times you water your turf. Moreover, now the roots should be deep enough to tolerate a few more minutes of water per cycle. It is best to employ deeper but less frequent watering cycles to help roots reach down deeper and establish firmly into the soil. You will only have to water the turf enough to supply 1 inch worth of water per week for the rest of its life.
You may now lightly trim and mow the lawn now but only about 2.75 inches tall at all times. Make it a rule to never mow the new sod when it’s wet.
Always attach a sharp blade onto your mower. On one hand, it is suggested to collect the clippings and compost them while using a rotary mower, while on the other hand, it is recommended to leave the clippings provided for a reel mower so that does not leave any clumps.
Moreover, you should set a specific mowing height so that you don’t remove more than 1/3 of leave blade per mowing. Mowing the grass too short may lead to scalping which damages the new lawn especially during the initial period of its establishment. Experts suggest maintaining your new sod between 30-60 mm depending on the desired look. If the sod has become too long, try to gradually bring the height down to an appropriate height.
It is extremely pivotal that your turf receive sufficient nutrients to transform into for a beautiful and healthy lawn. After establishment, it is recommended to employ fertilizers on your new sod at 4-6 week intervals. To determine the amount and frequency of fertilizer required by your lawn, look at the degree of growth and general appearance of the turf.
You think you’ve done everything right, but still, the outcome isn’t desirable; you seem to doubt yourself “how to care for new sod?” Although it is often a smooth and successful process to transplant your sod, without the right amount of preparation, caution and care, your turf will not root. Some of the most common mistakes which are usually made while new sod care by many people are as follows:
The key to helping sod grow is ascertaining that the roots on the underside of the sod have made firm contact with the soil. If the sod isn’t fully attached to the soil, it may not be able to root ever. It is advised to use a gentle roller for applying pressure on the top of the sod patches to secure them.
Most of the sod professionals recommend using a slow-release fertilizer based on your grass and soil types. One must opt for a self-mulching mower that leaves behind grass clippings which act as a natural and free nitrogenous fertilizer. This efficient technique reduces the need for additional fertilization by1/4th.
Dull lawnmower blades can tear your grass blades which makes way for diseases. Moreover, it can also make your turf look unhealthy and unattractive as the grass tips become dry and brown. Make sure to sharpen your mower blades annually.
Using a lawn roller can help your sod generate roots. Using a lawn roller shortly after the sod installation to level the newly laid out turf ensures that each section is firmly placed close to the soil, thus allowing moisture to travel beneath the sod and minimizing the quantity of space between the new roots and the earth in which they’ll need to grow.
In many cases, most of the homeowners don’t turn their sprinklers on until after the entire new sod is installed. This stresses the roots of the sod patches that were installed first.
The fundamental piece of advice is to water the sod enough to settle the roots without drowning or watering them too often. Later on, you can slowly water watering periodically for longer durations instead of previously employed short-spurt watering.
It is highly critical that your new sod is watered every day for the first two weeks. Once you have installed and watered your turf the first time, using a sprinkler instead of the traditional method of hand watering makes all the difference in the world for your new sod care as a sprinkler slowly distributes the water over a period of 1 to 2 hours, allowing it to soak in. Hand watering dumps plenty of water on every area for only a couple minutes and most of this runs off soon. Sod experts recommend shooting to your new sod about an inch of water daily for the first two weeks.
The aforementioned techniques and guidelines will fulfill your desire to beautify the surroundings of your magnificent home if you follow them conscientiously.