We have gone to great lengths to provide the best sod available in good health. The care you give your new lawn in the first 30 days will determine the success of you lawn. During the first thirty days your lawn will require light frequent irrigation until the roots extend deep enough into your soil to retrieve deeper water reserves at which time irrigations should become deeper and less frequent. During the first thirty days the greatest threat to you lawn’s health is significant drying out in between irrigations. Following is a step by step program to help promote a healthy lawn.
The First 30 Days
Water your new sod immediately after installation. This first watering must be immediate and should be very deep. This irrigation should equal about 1” (this can be measured with a rain gauge or small cup). Water two more times this day to insure that the entire soil profile is thoroughly wet.
Water you new lawn frequently (2-3 times per day). Lift a section of sod periodically to check for soil moisture. Fertilize the new lawn with a balanced fertilizer i.e 20-20-10 at a rate of 5 pounds per 1000 square feet. Mow the grass as soon as it has grown enough to require mowing. Do not let the grass get to tall before the first mowing. Mowing grass before it has rooted will not hurt the grass. Waiting until the grass had grown tall and removing a lot if the leaf growth can damage or even kill your lawn. Never remove more than 1/3 of the leaf growth with any single mowing.
Cautiously begin to reduce watering frequency and increase watering depth (1-2 times per day). Continue to lift a section of sod to check moisture during the day especially when an irrigation schedule has changed.
Cautiously begin to reduce watering frequency and increase watering depth. Watering should now be 1 time per day or even once every other day. Continue to check soil moisture regularly. Sod should be rooting into the ground and should be more difficult to lift from soil. Watch the turf closely for signs of drought especially during heat or wind and particularly following a change in the irrigation schedule. Signs of drought are generally seen in subtle and sometimes not so subtle color change.
Grass Signs and Symptoms
Dark blue/silverfish color: This change develops in the early stages of wilt and can be reversible with very little consequence if water is applied immediately.
Silver or gray color: This progression of wilt is the plant begging for water and is a more serious level of wilt that, while reversible will turn brownish straw colored before new green growth begins. Water immediately and increase the watering schedule.
Brown or straw color: This is the color of dormancy. When the grass turns this color, in most cases it is still alive and will green up when sufficient water is added to the lawn. The green up period will take between one and three weeks. Avoid this stage with new sod because newly laid sod may die under sustained dormancy.
The watering recommendations listed above are meant to flexible based on the soil type and the time of year that the sod is installed. Excessive heat or wind as well as sandy soil may require more water than sod laid in a well prepared soil during the spring or fall. Always pay close attention to the signs that the grass is giving you and let those signs supersede the directions above.
Fertilization: Fertilize your grass 3-5 times per growing season with a balanced fertilizer. Never miss the fall fertilization. During drought or lower water use applications reduce fertilizations during the springs and summer.
Mowing: Mow regularly, never removing more than 1/3 of the leaf growth with any mowing. Mow at a height of between 3” and 4”. Maintain a shard blade on the mower. Do not mow when the grass is either too dry or too wet.
Aeration: Aeration is a good practice that helps reduce thatch and soil compaction and is best performed in either in the fall or the spring or both. Aeration in not important within the first year of installation.
Weed Control: Do not use herbicides or pesticides on your new lawn for the first 6 months are installation. After that we recommended using a selective herbicide like Ortho Weed-B-Gon by only spot spraying those weedy areas. Avoid using Weed and Feed fertilizers/pesticide combinations.
Traffic: Within the first few months of installation do not encourage excessive traffic on the new grass.