Lawn After Care
Watering and Mowing
NEVER let your sod dry out in the first few weeks after installation. The sod and soil must remain wet during this period. It is important in the first day or two to establish a deep water table for the sod and roots. You’ve done a good job of watering if you step on the grass and it feels mushy. Once you have reached this consistency, follow the water frequency based on the temperatures below:
90° or above = 4 – 5 times daily
75° – 90° = 2 – 4 times daily
75° or below = 1 -2 times daily
Of course you have to adjust for the following conditions; Wind (this can dry the lawn out faster), Full Sun Exposure, and Shady areas, etc. Your goal is to make sure that the sod does NOT become dry throughout the day. I always recommend that one of the waterings should be early before the sun rises to allow for heavy saturation into the soil before any sun evaporation occurs. Also, make sure that your last watering of the day is at least an hour or two before the shade hits the area. This is done to avoid bug infestation and fungus growth on warm evenings. High humidity is detrimental to lawns when it’s too wet as the sun goes down on hot days. After 2 weeks you can water normally but for a new lawn when temperatures are above 90°, I would recommend watering daily the 1st summer because the roots are still being established and need to sustain dry heat. When it comes to regular watering, you don’t have to water for long durations, but should adjust your clock to water twice in the early morning (2am – 4am) before the sun rises. The first watering moistens the ground and you won’t lose water to run-off. By the time the second watering comes around, the ground is ready to absorb the water more fully. By watering the same area twice within 1 or 2 hours before sunrise, you will have watered more efficiently by saving water, covering better, and the sun won’t be out to cause evaporation.
After 10 – 14 days, you can mow but cut back on the watering so the ground is firm before cutting. Don’t cut the grass more than a third of the blade as this causes “scalping” and can damage your lawn. If you have trees that are heavily shedding leaves, nuts, branches onto your lawn, you should rake or blow them off as quickly as possible because of the tannic acid and shade created by the debris.
After 3 weeks, fertilize the sod with either Starter, Triple 15 (15-15-15) or Triple 16 (16-16-16) fertilizer. DON’T use any fertilizer with “weed” control. After 7–8 mowings, you can use a fertilizer with “weed” control. Just like you need food, a beautiful and healthy lawn needs fertilizer every 5 -6 weeks during growing season. I like to use Scotts™ products and follow their lawn care program (available in most garden supply stores and on-line). Used as instructed their line of products protects against weeds from starting up and will kill any weeds that form, as well as bug infestations. They also recommend the proper fertilizer mixtures that are critical for the different seasons.