Now that your new sod has been installed, your job is to ensure 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, your money 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 walking over your sod to water may be necessary; you should keep as much traffic off 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 daily for roughly 15 minutes. If your sprinklers give off a light water spray, extend that time to 20 minutes. If you live in a region where the daily temperature is above 65 degrees, water twice daily. If you are watering regularly but are 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 growing correctly will now only need to be watered every other day for 30-35 minutes, depending on your temperatures. You may mow the lawn, but it must stay at least 2.75 inches tall at all times, so a light trim is all 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 the yard enough to supply one inch of water per week. This water level will continue for the life of the lawn. You may begin regular mowing schedules, keeping a minimum height of 2.75 inches. It is now safe to fertilize the lawn with a slow-releasing formula, following the brand’s 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.