How to care for new sod
Laying sod in your yard is instantly gratifying. You can turn barren areas into an area with a perfect grass in a day. First things first, you will need to have the ground prepared to help the sod take root quickly. The soil needs to be loosened to a depth range between four and six inches. If you need to bring in additional soil to fill in low spots, we recommend either top soil with a sandy loam or river-silt. Fertilize the soil with a slow release, complete fertilizer. Follow the directions on the bag but do not water it in. This is not recommended from September 1st through April 15th.
It is important to remember sod comes in its own environment. It is very important to avoid leaving the sod moisture deprived for very long. Apply a lot of water to the sod within thirty minutes of laying the first piece. Leave your sprinkler in one place for two hours and then move it until the entire newly laid sod has been equally soaked.
Initially you will need to keep the sod wet for the first five to fourteen days depending on temperature. Do not let the sod dry out until the union between the sod and soil surface is firmly established. This means the roots have grown into the soil and the grass cannot easily be lifted. During the cool months, these instructions are not as crucial as sod will not require as much water.
For the first week water thoroughly every day. For the second week, water every other day. If it rains, it should be at least one inch before skipping a watering. After two weeks, water as needed. When the grass looks healthy and rooted, you may let it dry out some to promote root development.
The best time to water is in the morning, so less water is lost by evaporation. The worst time to water is in the evening, because the lawn stays wet all night and this encourages disease development. Also, lawns watered too frequently tend to develop shallow root systems, which may make the sod more susceptible to grub damage.
When the grass is 50% higher than you desired mowing height, it should be mowed. Mow often enough that you do not remove more than 1/3 of the blade at one time. Clippings are beneficial in that they return nutrients and organic matter to the soil. If grass is mowed on a timely schedule, clippings do not contribute to thatch.