Sod Installation Care
Whether you live here in Central Florida or in another county/state, all newly installed sod requires special attention and care, especially within the first four weeks after installation. Whether you’ve installed the grass or hired a company to perform the task, it is very important to follow these steps and tips to protect the investment. We will cover chemical treatment and frequency, water scheduling and when to mow.
Skipping one of these steps or rushing any of them can prove fatal for the sod, you’ll want to pay close attention. Caring for new grass can require a lot of water, please be respectful to rivers and aquifers by limiting the amount of water used. Use the following as a guide for new sod care instructions.
New Sod Installations Care Steps
The first step after the sod installation has been completed – set up an initial chemical treatment for the grass. You’ll want to have this performed within the first five days after installation; we recommend treatment within three days for best results. Most homeowners will want to try and attempt this on their own, we highly recommend using a professional fertilization service for the first treatment and for those sod companies who issue a 30-day guarantee, this is a must.
This initial treatment will include a double shot of micro-nutrients to ensure root development and a fungicide to protect the sod from becoming susceptible to any fungus that may occur. For the first 4 weeks we’ll be watering frequently which increases the risk of funguses. Funguses are more likely to occur in the summer months when moisture and temperatures are at their peak, so keep a watchful eye during the summer season.
General practice is wait 15 to 30 days after liquid treatment and then apply a granular fertilizer. If you wish to fertilize on your own, under no conditions should you over apply fertilizers, this could potentially burn the root system and cause the grass to die. We recommend a liquid treatment bi monthly and a granular treatment 2-3 times a year from this point on as well. For weed treatments and other applications, check with you local do it yourself supply center.
How Much To Water New Sod
The second step, once the sod has been installed, set up a watering schedule. The goal is to keep the soil underneath the sod pieces wet at all times within the first 3-5 weeks. Follow the schedules below and adjust according to any signs of drought or over watering. Signs of drought will include the grass blades to be folded in, graying grass coloring or the soil underneath the sod is dry. Signs of over-watering, which can lead to a fungus, include puddling, stepping on the grass and soil appearing on top or footprints remaining after stepping in the area.
Check underneath the pieces daily for the first week to adjust watering schedule if needed. Set each pop up zone(these are the ones that have a continual spray in the same areas) on for 30-35 minutes and 45-60 minutes for the rotors(these are the ones that are jet stream and rotate from side to side). Make the proper adjustments if there’s too much or too little water hitting the ground. Each zone should produce 3/4″ – 1″ of water every watering cycle. Shut off the irrigation system in the presence of moderate to heavy rainfall.
Watering Time Week by Week for New Sod
- For the first 7-14 days water 5-6 days a week, once a day in late spring, early fall and summer months (between 3 am and 7 am). Water every day if the soil is dry in the early evening time or rainfall has not been present in a while. Try to start with 5 days a week to prevent over-watering.
- For the first 7-14 days 4-5 days a week, once a day during late fall, early spring and winter months (between 3am and 7am). This could be increased to every day if the soil is dry in the evening time or rainfall has not been present in a while. Watering at nights below 45 could stun root development and shock the grass potentially resulting in permanent damage. Be sure to shut the system off these nights.
- For days 14-28, cut the watering down to once a day for 2-4 days a week starting at 3 am. Increase the days as needed. After the 28 day period, check you local watering laws and abide with their watering limits and resume normal watering scheduling.
Mowing Instructions for New Sod
When is the best time to start mowing? You can begin mowing once the root system is established. To determine when the root system is established simply tug a piece of sod, don’t yank on it, just enough to see if the piece will lift up at all. If it does not, you are ready to start mowing.This usually takes 7-14 days.
If the lines are still visible don’t worry, this is normal and you are in the clear. The goal here is not to remove more than a third of the grass during each mow. For the first time, you’ll need to set the mower height at the highest possible setting. After the first mow, gradually bring the mowing height lower each mow until you reach a desired height. Example, the grass is at 7”, you’ll need to set the mower to 5” then wait till the second mowing to bring it down lower.
The type of grass you have will determine the mowing height. Check out your grass specific guideline.
If you ever have any issues during the establishment period call your Orlando and Central Florida local sod care specialist to assist you – 407-501-2107.