9 Tips for a Newly Sodded Lawn

Almost all of our landscape design or drainage projects ends with either new sod or new grass seed. When these projects are completed, many clients ask how to best care for the new sod. Instead of repeating the same thing to each client, we wanted to create a resource that anyone can access. So here’s our 9 tips for a newly sodded lawn. 

tips for new sod

  1. Water, Water, Water – Watering the lawn is crucial to a successful new sod or seed. Water 3 to 5 times a day the first week or two. This sounds insane but water is just so important to successful root growth especially in the first two weeks. Rain counts as a watering so if it rains a lot each day, you don’t have to water as often. Also, if the new sod is on a hill, water even more frequently because a lot of the water will slide down the hill and not penetrate the soil. 
  2. Stay Off – Don’t walk on the sod until at least the first mow. Walking on the new sod can stress it out, leave foot prints, upset the grading, or move the sod pieces before they’ve had time to root. It’s not fun to get something new and then not enjoy it right away but it’s very important to not disturb the sod until it’s ready. 
  3. Moist Soil – Keeping the ground wet and moist (almost swampy) is a good sign. All that water will get into the roots of the sod and get it to grip into the soil faster. 
  4. Mow After 14 Days – Wait about 14 days to mow. Keep the mower on a high setting so you don’t mow off more than 1/3 of the blades. Back off the watering a bit a day or two before you mow so the ground is firmer and you don’t sink in when mowing.
  5. Be Careful for Shade – Shade makes the sod take longer to root because it doesn’t get as much sunshine. You can also water less when the sod is in the shade because you’ll lose less water to evaporation.
  6. Reduce Waterings but Increase Time – After 2-3 weeks, reduce the number of waterings per day but increase the amount of time watering. So instead of watering 3-5 times a day, water only 1-2 times a day but water for a longer amount of time. Deep penetration of water promotes better, deeper roots. The deeper and better the roots, the stronger the grass. After 3-4 weeks, you can reduce the number of waterings to every other day or so but keep the high amount of water. 
  7. Blue spots, foot prints, shrinkage, or browning corners? – Water more. As discussed earlier, the most important, #1 thing to do for new sod is to water regularly and often. All of these symptoms are signs of stress or drought which can be removed or mitigated by more water.
  8. Sprinkler System Maintenance – If you can’t tell, water is a big deal with new sod. Having a functioning sprinkler system at your home makes the watering much, much easier. You can automate all of the watering times and lengths and adjust on the fly as needed. Just make sure all of the heads are watering the correct areas and you do a start up and blow out each year. 
  9. Fertilizer – Doing a yearly fertilizer/weed control program will encourage grass growth and prevent invasive lawn species. After about 4-6 weeks, the new sod can be fertilized like normal. If you’re not doing your own fertilizer program, consider signing up for one with KG Landscape. 

New Sod Watering Times

new sod tips

For new sod and sprinkler maintenance, we strongly suggest you consult with a trusted, experienced landscape designer who can help you get the most value for your money now and in the future.