Quality Sod is committed to helping homeowners, landscapers, and gardening enthusiasts get lush and healthy lawns. That is why we have provided a thorough guide on how to best tend to new sod.
For most projects, preparation simply involves removing debris and clumps of clay, as well as leveling the ground with a rake. However, some situations may call for more extensive work.
Creating the perfect home for new grass sod also involves the perfect blend of sand, clay, and organic material. You will need to grade your yard away from your house and create a proper drainage plan that works for you.
Sand and Clay Layer
Sand alone will drain quickly, leaving your grass without any moisture or minerals. Hard, compacted clay in itself is not suitable for healthy grass either. Creating a balanced blend of the two is best to support a healthy and lush lawn.
River silt or topsoil, and occasionally straight sand is the best top layer of soil beneath your sod, although be wary of Torpedo grass seeds in river silt. Taking time to ammend your soil before sodding will result in a healthier and pretty lawn.
Care for New Grass Sod
Optimal watering is vital during the first several weeks of laying down new sod. Heat and wind can dry out the grass very quickly.
The root system of new sod is less than a half-inch thick when installed. Therefore, the grass cannot reach any of the available moisture in the ground. It will only be able to do so after the plant gets rooted in.
Keep in mind that water should not stand in puddles for an extended time. You see, roots need oxygen. They can easily drown in too much water.
This typically won’t be a problem for summer months, since water evaporates so quickly during this hot time.
Rule of Thumb
Every sprinkler and every soil is different. That is why you will have to pay attention to how long it takes for your sprinkler system to achieve the goal. During the hottest parts of our summer, you may very well need to water more than once a day to achieve this.
In general, water daily the first week, every other day the second week. When possible, morning watering is best. PRIORITY: Keep it MOIST!
Supplying Only Fertilized Grass
We fertilize our grass before sending them off to our clients. This means your sod does not any more fertilizing to help them take root. Keep in mind that you can burn the small and condensed root system of your new sod if you overfertilize your plants.
Cutting the Grass
For the first and second mowing, you will need to raise your mower’s height. You can lower it a little each time until you reach the desired height. At all times, it is best to avoid cutting more than 1/3 of the length of your grass.
Mowing frequently works to keep the plant fairly compact. This works to strengthen the roots and leaves without any need for supporting long leaves and seed pods.
We would like to remind you, however, that seeding out the grass significantly can be bad for your plant. This should never be a goal for lawn grass.
Feeding or Fertilizing Your Lawn
Different types of grass thrive on grounds with different pH levels. That is why it can greatly help if you understand and maintain your soil’s pH levels.
Centipede grass prefer soils with a pH of 5.5 to 7, while St. Augustine prefers more acidic soils of 5.0-6.0.
Keeping the pH levels close to ideal helps the plant absorb the minerals and nutrients from the ground. Agricultural lime is typically used to raise pH, while sulfur is usually used to lower pH.
Testing Your Soil
You can opt to purchase an easy-to-use pH test kit. You can also turn to various lawn and garden centers that can test your soil samples for you.
If the measurement reads less than 7, your soil is acidic. The soil is neutral if it is at 7, and is basic if it reads greater than 7.
Adding fertilizer without analyzing your soil is not an ideal practice. You can end up using the wrong product and get bad results. That is why testing soil is crucial to determining the right type of fertilizer for your needs.
Grass needs a micronutrient called iron. You can safely enhance the vibrancy and health of your lawn by using supplements such as Ironite without overdoing the process.
While this is an ideal quick fix, it is not a long-term solution to proper soil fertilization. We advise carefully following the directions on your supplement’s package and sweeping the granules from your concrete before watering.
Soil Testing Centers
For a small fee, the Louisiana Cooperative Extension will analyze your samples and provide a specific recommendation for your lawn. You can visit LSUAGCENTER.com or connect with the following branches to get more information.
How Can We Help?
For questions about tending and fertilizing grass sod, reach out to us here in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.