Many homeowners who build their home must also care for newly laid sod. This newly laid grass needs special care for the first several months. Sod should be laid in late spring or early summer if possible to take advantage of cooler, wetter weather. It is also important to lay sod as soon as possible after it is delivered and on the same day. This will prevent damage to roots from heat or dryness.
Depending on the type of soil naturally present it may be necessary to add a layer of topsoil. Dirt that is primarily clay will hold moisture, but be difficult for grass roots to penetrate. Ground that has a lot of sand will not hold moisture well and may not have enough nutrients to feed the new grass. A layer of topsoil that is at least three inches deep will help provide proper nutrients and water retention for the new sod.
The most important aspect of caring for new sod is to keep the roots moist until they have established themselves in the new environment. This requires frequent watering, perhaps daily in a dry environment. This watering does not need to be a deep watering and should be continued until the root system has established itself, six to eight weeks. Water only enough to keep the roots moist. Check with local experts for specific recommendations for the area and type of grass being grown.
About six weeks after laying the sod apply a nitrogen fertilizer to help promote additional growth. To help keep the sod from coming loose at corners it is important to limit foot traffic until the root systems have established. Another problem in some areas can be animals such as raccoons. They may actually pull up the corners of the new sod to get at the grubs that will soon appear underneath. If this occurs stake down the edges of the sod until the roots have grown into the ground underneath.
Don’t mow the new sod until the grass is double the height you would normally allow. Set the mower height so only the top third of the grass is cut off. If there are not any problems with grass pulling up during this first mowing it is okay to mow again several days later and set the mower to the desired final height for the type of grass being grown.
Providing proper care for new sod will help ensure a healthy and beautiful lawn for years to come.