HOW TO CARE
D. BREEN SOD FARMS
Watering your new sod is critical to its survival. If you understand that sod needs to get its moisture from its roots, you cannot expect that to happen until the root system has a chance to develop on your site. If your site was prepared properly, with the dirt aerated and loosened prior to sod installation, your new sod will stand a much better chance of putting down new roots to extract moisture from your soil. However, the new sod needs about 2 weeks before that process can even begin. In the interim, it is your responsibility to keep your new sod moist so it doesn't dry out. A lot depends on the weather which you should monitor. If it is very rainy, then your watering schedule should be cut back prudently. If it is very dry, you must be vigilant about checking on whether your sod is getting enough water.
GROUND PREPARATION AND INSTALLATION
Prior to the arrival of your new sod, it is important to prepare the area where you intend to plant the sod. If there is existing grass, weeds, rough terrain, etc., that should be removed and cleaned up in advance. If the ground is hard, it should be aerated by loosening the soil possibly down several inches and removing any rocks. This facilitates success of your new sod's rooting system once planted. If your soil pH is not adequate, you should have the soil tested to determine what adjustments need to be made.
An ideal pH for healthy grass is approximately 6.5-7. This translates to a neutral or slightly acidic level. If your soil is too acidic, adding lime will help to neutralize it. In addition, you should fertilize as well as water the soil before you are ready to plant the sod. It is not a good idea to fertilize the new sod once planted. It is better to allow the new roots to find its nutrients deep within your prepared soil. You should be aware that sod from D. Breen Sod Farms has been regularly fertilized during its development and is quite strong and vigorous so there is no need to fertilize your newly planted sod immediately.
WATERING: THE FIRST TWO WEEKS
As a general rule, your newly planted sod should receive at least one hour of water every day. It is also important that you check whether your irrigation system or manual watering method is reaching every square foot of new sod. Often, sod near buildings dry out faster because of ambient heat. Also, some sprinklers can miss property perimeters and out-of-reach edges. When in doubt, you can put out some containers to catch the water from your systems to see how much water is actually being distributed in all areas of your site. A properly functioning irrigation system is highly recommended for best results. At least an inch of water should be adequate to saturate the new sod but the ground below should get about 3-4 inches of water to encourage root growth. However, puddling should be prevented. If you over-water your sod, roots can begin to rot and sod will not survive.
WHAT TIME OF DAY IS BEST TO WATER?
It is commonly advised that watering your grass should occur early in the day and avoid watering in the evening. The reason for this is that water left on grass overnight can invite fungal disease.
CAN YOU WALK ON NEW SOD?
Since the sod is attempting to develop roots into your soil, heavy use of your new sod is discouraged for the first few weeks. Unrooted grass is also vulnerable to damage from dog urine which appears as yellowing. If you experience this problem, you can dissolve about a cup of baking soda in a gallon of water and apply to the yellow spot which will neutralize the excessive nitrogen the dog urine has added. As the sod matures, this will not continue to be such an obvious reaction.
SHOULD I FERTILIZE THE NEW SOD?
Wait until the new sod has rooted, usually within the first 3-4 weeks of installation. Since your prepared soil should have been fertilized prior to sod planting, there is no urgency to fertilize right away. It is best to utilize a nitrogen fertilizer which releases slowly once applied. Be sure to follow proper guidelines to prevent damaging your new lawn.
WHEN SHOULD THE NEW SOD BE MOWED?
You can mow the new sod if it has grown taller at the end of the first week. However, using a riding mower is probably too much stress on the immature rooting system. It is better to walk behind a push mower for less abuse. Keep blade height at about 3 inches and refrain from cutting more than a third of the grass blade. A sharp mower blade is encouraged to deter jagged cuts which can result in damaged grass blades. Also, do not mow wet grass. Grass clippings should remain on the newly cut grass as a natural way to judiciously fertilize provided they are modest in quantity. If you waited too long to mow and grass clippings are overabundant, they can block photosynthesis from the sunlight and your grass can suffer as a result. Also, grass clippings from diseased grass should be removed to prevent spread of the malady.