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  • Writer's pictureSouth Central Landscapes

Best practices for new sod establishment

Sod is the perfect shortcut to a beautiful lawn, but still requires a level of attention similar to seed during the establishment period.

New sod should be heavily watered immediately after installation. Soak the sod so that it is thoroughly wet down to the soil beneath.

For future care, keeping the sod moist for the first 10-14 days is important. Heavy watering during this period is recommended. If sod dries out during the initial establishment, the sod strips will shrink and leave gaps between the individual pieces, and it is unlikely to return to its original size. Sod placed on the edges of the lawn, or alongside surfaces that retain and radiate heat (concrete sidewalks, asphalt driveways, decorative stone, etc.) are most susceptible to drying out. These areas may require more attention.

When possible, avoid watering late at night or setting irrigation watering during the overnight hours. Turf that is wet during cool or humid evenings is more susceptible to foliar disease. Watering during daylight hours will allow the blade surface to dry, inhibiting the germination and development of fungal spores.

Refrain from walking on new sod until root establishment begins to occur. Light traffic can begin in a week, but please limit lawn traffic for at least a month to give your sod an opportunity to grow and thrive before resuming regular use of the grass.

Mowing should be avoided until sod has developed sufficient roots, which generally occurs within 2-3 weeks. New sod may have a soft or saturated base, and mowing should be avoided until the base becomes firmer. The mower height should be set to around 3" for the first few mowings. Lower settings risk scalping the grass, which could hurt the sod during the establishment process. Continue ensuring the soil stays consistently moist up until the first 4-5 mowings, after which the sod can be treated like a regularly established lawn.

At South Central Landscapes, we use a premium sod blend, consisting of a 3-4 variety blend of 100% Kentucky Bluegrass. We offer temporary watering systems as a worry-free option to compliment new lawn installations.

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