The First Year
During the months following establishment of a newly sodded lawn proper watering and fertilizing will be very important. At each watering, water sod thoroughly with a penetration of about 6”. Keep this level of moisture until sod has thoroughly rooted.
The roots will be shallow and sod can dry out quickly. Daily watering is not necessary but two to three times per week may be needed during the hottest, driest part of the summer.
Approximately 30 days after installation the sod should be treated with organic based, slow release nitrogen fertilizers. It should be fertilized again in six to eight weeks. At this point the fertilization schedule can conform to a four step program of spring, early summer, late summer, and fall applications.
Mowing: Mow your lawn leaving it at a height of 2.5”-3” tall. A taller lawn will have better color, a more extensive root system, tolerate periods of heat and drought, and will have fewer weeds.
Do not remove more than 1/3 of the total leaf blade with each mowing. Cutting grass is stressful for the plant. Removing a little growth each time will help keep the plants healthy. Smaller clippings decompose faster too if you are not bagging your clippings!
Leave clippings on the lawn. Small clippings are mostly water and will decompose quickly. The remaining tissue decomposes and returns nutrients and organic matter to the soil. If clippings form clumps and are unsightly-use a rake or blower to spread them throughout the lawn.
Keep mower blades sharp. Ideally your mower blade should be sharpened after every 8 to 10 hours of use. Dull blades can rip the leaves causing the grass to lose excessive amounts of water resulting in a dry, dull, yellow/tan look.
Alternate mowing directions to avoid patterns and ruts in the lawn.
Fertilization: It is recommended to fertilize two to four applications per year-ideally putting down up to one pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per application. Organic-based, slow release nitrogen is best for gradual feeding throughout the growing season. Some organic based fertilizers can also help to rebuild the soil that is often damaged during the construction process or after years of chemical pesticide treatments. Spring fertilizer should include a weed preventer that will inhibit weeds from growing.