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Care Guide – Sod

Below is a list of general rules to be aware of. Please keep in mind that these are general rules and each yard needs individual attention.

  • The newer your lawn is the more attention it will need. For example your grass is at greater risk right after it was installed than it will be in two weeks.
  • Clay soils are going to require less water than sandy soils.
  • Shady areas are going to require less water than sunny areas.
  • Grass will need more water in June, July, and August than it will in the spring and fall.
  • Windy days will dry out your grass much quicker than calm days.
  • Once a lawn is established, longer watering periods less frequently are better than shorter watering periods more frequently. It encourages roots to grow deeper.

The following schedule is based on a sandy soil sub base, clay soils will require about half as much water.

  • For the first two weeks after the sod is laid, you will want to water for 15 minutes, three times a day.
  • For the next four weeks, you will want to water for 15-20 minutes, twice a day.
  • For the remainder of the summer, water once a day for 20-30 minutes.
  • During the fall water once a day every 2-3 days.
  • In Minnesota, grass typically requires approximately one inch of precipitation per week. If you have a shady site, that requirement may be slightly lower.
  • Take note of your city’s watering bans during the summer, you will want to check with your city to see what they are. Generally, they are odd/even according to your address.

You will want to wait to cut your grass until your grass has taken root. This will usually occur between 7 and 14 days from the time it is laid. Before your first mowing, be sure to take a tour of your lawn and test the sod to make sure it has taken root. To test it, go to various areas and gently tug on the sod. If it comes up easily, you will want to avoid mowing that area a little longer. If it feels like it is rooted but it does come up slightly, you should be able to mow.

You will want to avoid cutting your grass too short for the first few times that you mow. Generally, set your mower so that it will cut approximately 1/3 to ½ of its length. If the grass is extremely long when you are able to mow, you will want to avoid leaving your clippings in the yard. The clippings suffocate your lawn by not allowing sufficient oxygen to the roots. The clippings will also build the thatch layer much faster.

Usually new sod will have slow release fertilizers and weed preventers in it, so be sure to wait 3 to 4 months before starting any fertilization/weed control program.Two or three good feedings a year will keep your lawn in perfect health. Your local garden store will advise you on the best application for your soil and conditions.

It looks inviting, but dogs and children should be kept away from a new lawn for about two weeks. When the turf had knitted down, you may then enjoy your new living carpet.

Do not be alarmed if weeds should appear in your new lawn as this is perfectly normal. These weeds have come from seeds found in your soil or have been blown in.