If you’re considering installing new sod, you’re making a smart choice to achieve a lush and healthy lawn quickly. However, it’s essential to know how to care for your new sod properly to ensure its success. In this article, we’ll guide you through the essential steps to take care of your new sod in Southwest Missouri.
What Time of Year to Install Sod?
New sod care starts with timing the installation. Caring for sod in the scorching heat of July is a lot different than in November. The best time to install sod in Southwest Missouri is in the fall or winter, from September until the ground freezes in the winter. During this time, the soil is still warm enough to promote root growth, but the cooler temperatures and fall rains help the sod to establish. When it does get cold, the sod’s metabolism slows down and it starts growing again in the early spring. Spring can be a good time to install new sod, but the frequent rainfall makes it difficult to schedule an install. Spring installations don’t usually leave much time for the sod to establish before summer either, so we prefer to put it down later in the year.
How to Fertilize Your New Sod?
After installation, the sod should be fertilized with a starter fertilizer, which contains high levels of phosphorus to promote root growth. Apply the fertilizer according to the manufacturer’s instructions and water the sod immediately after application.
How to Water Your New Sod?
Water is crucial for the success of your new sod. After installation, water the sod thoroughly to ensure that the soil beneath the sod is moist. Water the sod deeply every day for the first week, then gradually reduce the frequency to once or twice a week over the next 4 weeks. It’s important to monitor the soil moisture levels regularly and adjust the watering schedule as needed. Be careful not to overwater the sod, as this can lead to fungal diseases and root rot.
When To Mow Sod for the First Time?
It’s important to wait until your new sod has established a strong root system before mowing it for the first time. Typically, this takes about three weeks. Before mowing, make sure the soil is firm and dry, as mowing wet soil can damage the new sod. When mowing for the first time, set the blade high to remove 1/3 of the height of the grass or cut the grass to 4″ in length, whichever is longer. This avoids cutting the grass too short, which can stress the grass and damage the roots.
New Sod Care in the First Year
During the first year with your new sod, it’s essential to continue proper watering and fertilization to promote healthy root growth. Pay special attention to your watering the summer after your installation. The sod’s roots will still be fairly shallow and our summers can be brutal on the cool-season grass. Also, monitor the lawn regularly for signs of pests or diseases, and address any issues promptly. If you know how to spot nutrient deficiencies, pest problems, or other irregularities; then you can do this yourself. However, it may be wise to sign up for a lawn care program with a local professional considering how much money you probably invested to get the sod put in.
New sod can give your lawn an instant transformation, but proper care is critical to ensure its success. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy a lush and healthy lawn for years to come. If you have any questions or concerns about new sod care, consult with a professional landscaper or agronomist in your area.
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