You've invested in a new Sod or Seed and you want to make make sure it stays dark green and lush without taking a lot of time and money.
How you establish new sod installation or seed is a critical time in making sure you have a naturally dark green, thick and luxurious low-maintenance lawn long-term.
Here are some best practices on what you can do for establishing your new lawn in the first four weeks after sod installation, including watering, mowing, feeding and use.
Watering the first day is the most important. Newly installed sod must be watered by hand within the first 15 minutes to prevent wilting. If it is hot and dry, wetting the soil first helps. Once a larger area is laid, use a sprinkler and be sure to get the edges. Because new sod has a very short root system and lacks the ability to pull moisture from the lower soil profile to stay cool and green, it is important to water every three hours. If you have a large area, move the sprinklers every hour so all the turf gets some water. Even if you haven't soaked the ground you can come back later and water sufficiently. Water areas near buildings, driveways and walkways more often because reflected heat dries the lawn faster.
The first week is critical that your new sod receives about a 1/4 of water each day. Initially, the best time to water is during the heat of the day between 9 AM and 4 PM. Lawns lose the most moisture during the heat of the day. Because there are many variables e.g.: water pressure, hose size, type of sprinkler, ect... It is important to measure the amount of water your system applies. Use a rain gauge or a flat bottom can a few feet from your sprinkler head and time how long it takes to catch a 1/4 inch of water.
The second week we recommend that your lawn gets a 1/4 inch of water every other day. During the third and fourth week you should make sure the new lawn gets a 1/4 inch at least 2 days each week.
Once the soil under the sod has been completely soaked you should switch to early mornings. Watering in the morning leaves the moisture where the sod can utilize it during the day and is better for water conservation. Once established, your lawn requires minimal maintenance to retain its beautiful appearance. Established lawns need about 3/4 inch of moisture weekly depending on soil type. Rainfall and your turf's appearance will dictate when moisture is required. Indications that your lawn needs moisture are: 1) You can see footprints after walking across the lawn 2) The grass blades are folded or rolled 3) The grass is turning a bluish / grey color and wilting. You can easily plan an economical watering schedule. It will take several months for the roots to grow to their full depth. Remember, use common sense and adjust your watering to the weather conditions because, like it or not, mother nature is in charge.
Mow your new lawn within two weeks after installation. Mowing controls leaf growth and encourages root development. Make sure your lawn is dry enough so tracks won't be made. Mow your lawn often, never removing more than 1/3 of the grass blade. It is recommended to mow bluegrass to a height of 2 to 2.5 inches. Vary the direction you mow to improve your turf's grain. Keep your mower blades sharp so to cut the grass cleanly and to reduce stress on the plant and keep moisture in your lawn. Leave grass clippings on the lawn as they add moisture and nutrients back into the soil as they decompose.
Apply a starter fertilizer the first week to speed root development and save time and water. We recommend triple 13 fertilizer (13-13-13) at the rate of 1 pound per hundred square feet (check with your contractor to see if this has already been done). After 4 weeks reapply 13-13-13 fertilizer at the same rate and continue every 4 weeks until you are satisfied with look of your new lawn
During the first two weeks, avoid heavy or concentrated use of your new lawn. This will give the roots an opportunity to firmly knit with the soil.