Now that your new sod has been installed, your job is to make sure that it gets the fresh start it needs to stay healthy. The first three weeks are the most important, as this time sets up the lawn for future success or inevitable failure. With the following tips, the money you spent on a brand new lawn won’t be wasted.
• The First 10 Days
Newly laid sod is very much like a newborn baby, it requires delicate care and observation within the first few days. While it may be necessary to walk over your sod to water it, you should keep as much traffic off of the area as possible. In its current state, too much traffic will damage the establishment process. At this stage, the sod must be watered at least once per day, for roughly 15 minutes. If your sprinklers give off a lighter water spray, extend that time to 20 minutes. If you live in a region where the daily temperature is reaching above 65 degrees, water twice per day. If you are watering regularly, but not sure that you are giving the sod enough hydration, simply lift a corner of the sod and check the dampness on the underside. Do not mow the lawn at all during this time.
• Days 11 Through 21
At this time, the root system should really start to establish itself. You can check to see if this is happening by trying to lift a corner of the sod. The area you lift should not pull up easily, which tells you that the roots are forming well. If you can easily lift the corner, increase your watering schedule. Roots that are growing correctly will now only need to be watered every other day for 30-35 minutes, depending upon your temperatures. You may mow the lawn, but it needs to stay at least 2.75 inches tall at all times, so a light trim is all that is needed. Never mow the new sod when it is wet.
• After Day 21
By now, your new lawn should be rooted into the ground deeply. You will only need to water thelawn enough to supply one inch worth of water per week. This water level will continue for the life of the lawn. You may begin regular mowing schedules, still keeping a minimum height of 2.75 inches. It is now safe to fertilize the lawn with a slow releasing formula, following the brands label and directions.
By using this timeline, your new sod lawn will grow successfully with little maintenance on your part. Do not forget that it is a good idea to aerate the lawn after six months of establishment.