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How to Easily Care for Newly Laid Sod And Ensure a Healthy Lawn

How to Care for Newly Laid Sod
Using sod is a good choice for creating a new lawn. However, the first few weeks after installation are critical for its survival. In this Gardenerdy article, we shall look at some new sod care instructions and tips to help your lawn become secure and thrive.
Anuj Mudaliar
Last Updated: Dec 10, 2017
Did You Know?
Planting grass in areas that suffer from soil erosion is a very popular solution to the problem. However, because grass seeds can be blown away by the wind or eaten by birds, sod has recently become a new favorite for this purpose.
Growing grass from seeds may sound like a good idea; however, if your patch of lawn is a large one, it may take many weeks before you actually get the results you are waiting for. Using sod to create a lawn is very easy, and one can get the green lawn they desire almost immediately. However, due to its shallow roots, one has to take special sod care after installation, till the lawn is well established.
Sod helps you save a lot of time, that would have been needed to grow the grass from seeds. Also, a sod lawn can be planted at anytime of the year, even in winter if the weather is mild. A few weeks is all it takes to have a great lawn that is weather, disease, pest, and weed resistant. Take care to ensure that your sod is well-watered, fertilized, and maintained. This will keep your lawn healthy and give it an extended lifespan.
Sod Care in the First Week

Congratulations! You have planted your sod and have a semblance of a beautiful green lawn. However, the first and second week after installation is the most critical time, which will decide whether the sod survives or not. To make sure that it does, follow the steps given below:
  • Watering after sod installation should be done thoroughly. The sod should be completely soaked, and the soil underneath should get wet too.
  • Watering should be done once everyday, for the first two weeks, making sure that the grass and soil is getting wet. If the weather is very warm, watering should be done twice each day.
  • The amount of water needed will reduce after the sod puts its roots well into the soil.
  • Organic fertilizers should be applied immediately after installation, followed by applications once in every following month.
  • Normally, the first mowing is done 2-3 weeks after installation, but cut the grass a little tall so that you don't damage the roots.
  • Try not to walk on the lawn till the lawn is mowed for the first time, and keep the traffic on the lawn low till the grass has grown its root deep into the soil. Stepping on an immature sod lawn can kill the grass.
Watering an Established Sod Lawn
  • After your sod lawn has set its root into the soil, it's time to gradually cut down on the watering a bit. Depending on the climate and temperature, start with watering 1-3 times a day, and eventually bring it down to once or twice a week for half an hour. However, excess watering is bad and can attract pests and diseases.
  • To make sure that the sod gets proper care in the summer, you may have to water a little extra.
  • If you notice any yellow or brown patches of grass, it could mean that the area is not getting enough water.
  • Watering should be done early in the morning or just before sundown to reduce evaporation of water. This will encourage the roots to grow.
Mowing a Sod Lawn
  • Mowing the lawn should be done with intervals of 1-2 weeks, and the height of the grass should not be reduced to lesser than 2½ inches.
  • Never cut the grass more than a third of its height at one time. It distresses the plants a lot.
  • Always keep the blades of the mower sharp. Blunt blades can damage the grass, making them lose moisture very quickly.
  • Mowing too deep and too often can invite pests and weeds, besides being harmful for the grass. Take appropriate measures to keep your lawn safe.
Using Fertilizers
  • Use more of organic or natural fertilizers, as chemical ones can cause grass burns and many other problems.
  • Fertilizers should be used once a month to keep a thin green lawn.
  • The grass needs nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to thrive. Make sure your fertilizer can provide these nutrients.
Dealing With Pests and Weeds
  • Sod lawns are resistant to weeds and pests; however, sometimes you may find that you will have to deal with these problems by yourself. Summer is the time when pests attack more frequently. If you do spot any, appropriate pesticides can help solve the problem.
  • In case you spot any weeds, pick them out by the roots. However, if there are too many of them to be pulled out by hand, use an appropriate herbicide to eliminate them.
  • Corn gluten meal is a good natural product which can prevent weeds from growing.
  • To avoid fungal diseases, do not over-water the lawn, and keep the amount of nitrogen in control.
Other Tips
  • Choose the correct kind of grass depending on your locality. Warm weather areas need grass types like Kentucky grass or blue grass, while colder regions are suitable for St. Augustine grass or fescue grass.
  • Some grass types need fertilizers only during certain times of the year. Consult your local garden center to obtain more information about this.
  • If you have already sown the wrong grass type or used the wrong fertilizers, and have a lawn in poor condition, it's easy to plant new sod patches in the balding areas and start all over again.
  • If your lawn is in a shady area, it will take considerably longer for the roots to penetrate deep into the soil. Water deep and infrequently to help the roots.
  • The borders of your lawn may start browning. This is because a sprinkler system is not always able to water all parts of the lawn. Watering these areas by hand can solve the issue.
  • Before you plant sod in your yard, make sure that it is free of any roots or any previous patches of grass. Tilling the soil and leveling it well will give your new sod a better chance at surviving the initial days.
  • The best way to check it you have watered the soil is by using a probe. The soil should be wet to a depth of around 3-4 inches.
  • Caring for sod in the winter is quite easy. All you need to do is apply fertilizer at the end of fall, and rake the lawn gently to remove any leaves and also to aerate the grass.
It is best to get new sod fixed in your yard by professionals. However, it is not too difficult to do it yourself, just remember that patience will give you the best results.