Turf Installation and Maintenance Tips
When to Install Your Sod
Sod is a living perishable product, so it is extremely important that it is installed immediately and watered thoroughly. Our sod can be installed any time of the year as long as the area where the sod will be installed has been prepared properly.
Usually, spring is the most popular time to install sod for homeowners and landscapers, since sod installed in the spring months tend to need little irrigation during and after installation. If sod is installed during the summer, it will require more water than other times of the year. However, sod is often preferred during this time of the year, because of the small success rate of summer seeding. Having easy access to water is recommended for the first 3 weeks after installation. Fall is another popular time of year for sod installation because it requires only a fraction of the irrigation needed.
Many customers don't realize that sod can also be installed during winter months. When installed in the wintertime, the sod will have a dormant period. Then when the spring temperatures arrive, the sod will take root. Sod installed in the winter does not require any water during these months.
How to Properly Install Sod
Below are steps on how to install your sod properly and steps that should be taken to maintain it.
Install Sprinklers: A properly installed and maintained underground sprinkler system conserves water by directing it exactly where and when it is needed. Have your sprinklers installed and tested prior to ordering your turfgrass sod. A sprinkler system offers great advantages for your lawn, but is not necessary.
Soil Preparation: Kill weeds and grasses with a recommended herbicide (follow directions on bottle); remove rocks and debris, add organic soil amendment (consult your nurseryman) at a rate of 3 to 5 yards per 1000 sq. ft.; rototill to a depth of 6 to 8 inches.
Grading: Work the soil, then level and smooth with a rake. If soil seems loose, rolling may be done to firm soil before installing the sod. Final grade should be ½ inch below walkways and driveways. Water soil lightly, just before installing sod. Spread area with a starter fertilizer at rate recommended on the label (except during the summer months—it could create disease problems).
Sod Installation: Begin to install your sod immediately after delivery. Start laying your sod along a straight edge, such as a walkway or driveway. Place joints tightly together, do not overlap. Stagger joints similar to a row of bricks. Use a sharp knife to cut and shape around curves, trees, borders, etc.
Water is Critical: Start watering within 30 minutes even if not all the sod is installed yet. This will prevent the sod from wilting and drying. Don't ever let the sod dry out and kill the leader grass roots.
Keep New Sod Moist: This is extremely important! Keep your new lawn consistently moist, but not soggy during the first 20 days after installation. Don't let water pond. Until the roots establish, multiple watering times are needed each day during hot weather.
Lawn care and sod maintenance are very easy processes that allow you to grow a lush green lawn that you can enjoy for years to come. Below are some ways to ensure adequate care for your new sod.
Watering the Sod
It is imperative you douse your sod with water as soon as you lay it, within the first hour at the latest. Watering frequently keeps the delicate roots from drying out, especially if your sod is exposed to full sunlight, and it prevents the sod from shrinking in size. Make sure you water uniformly so it reaches all the way down and becomes soggy. Keep soaking it this way with water for the first two weeks.
If temperatures rise or you live in a hot area, you can put sprinklers on every two hours to make sure water penetrates the soil through each panel of sod, especially the edges and the seam. In the summer months, it is always best to water at either night or early morning (when chances of evaporation are minimum). Avoid watering in the evenings, since it may increase the chances of fungus growth.
If your sod starts paling in color, it means it is not receiving enough water. Continue watering it thoroughly so it receives moisture and resumes its previous color.
Once the sod is well-rooted (after a month has lapsed), you can cut back the heavy watering schedule to once every two weeks for a half an hour to ensure a slightly moist soil. However, on unusually hot days, you can water twice a day, once in the morning and then at night (for 15 minutes each).
Fertilizing the Sod
You should fertilize your sod with a high phosphorous fertilizer when you are laying it to help give it a healthy start. Fertilize once again on the 30th day of installation, and water it immediately to prevent the sod from getting burnt. Avoid fertilizers with high-nitrogen content since these can lead to disease. Remember to fertilize your sod every 50-to-60 days from March to October, resuming this pattern again next spring. Fertilizing in the winter can stress your sod. Use a weed control fertilizer to tackle weeds, if any.
Keeping Traffic Off the Sod
Wait at least 5 weeks before mowing your sod to ensure the roots have established themselves into the soil (and will not break due to the weight of the mower). Remember not to mow more than 1/3 of the leaf length the first time, taking it down from there with each successive mowing (until you reach the height you wish to maintain).