How to Care For Newly Laid Sod in Coastal North Carolina

How to Care For Newly Laid Sod in Coastal NC

The first month after you lay down, fresh rolls of sod grass are CRITICAL. To keep the grass from drying out and to help the sod develop strong, healthy roots, you’ve got to take the proper care–from the watering cycle to the first mow to the application of fertilizer.

Let’s break that down a bit.

Watering Requirements

New sod is naturally more prone to dehydration than grass that’s already established roots. This is especially true of turf grass that’s been installed on top of dry soil–and precisely why it’s so important to water the ground before laying down sod.

After you’ve placed your sod, keeping a consistent watering schedule will give your sod its best chance of taking root quickly and efficiently.

For the first 9 days after sod installation, you’ll want to water your lawn twice a day–in the morning and in the evening. On each occasion, you’ll need enough water to seep into the soil (about a quarter of an inch or 20 minutes on a sprinkler system). And don’t forget to factor in rainwater!

Then, once you reach day 10, you can start tapering off, watering only once a day. As you decrease the amount of water, the roots will have to dig deeper into the soil to find moisture, increasing the roots’ strength and drought tolerance. But remember, because you’ve now reduced down to only one watering session per day, you’ll need to increase the amount of water.

Keep gradually decreasing your watering frequency until you’re only watering your grass once a week (or maybe a few times a week during warmer months).

Sometimes, add a few more watering sessions in the early weeks after laying sod. Your specific watering needs will depend on a few different factors, namely…

  1. Soil Type
  2. Climate
  3. Season

Sand-heavy soils in coastal areas don’t keep as much water as high-density clay soils. Pair the sandy loam soil with the warm eastern North Carolina climate, and suddenly two watering sessions per day are NOT enough to maintain your new sod–especially during hot summer months. In coastal North Carolina, it’s best to water your sod 3 or 4 times a day during summer for the first week after installation.

Walking on Fresh Sod

Walking on your new lawn can’t do THAT much damage, right? Wrong!

Until firm roots have been established, sod is extremely vulnerable. Even small pressures can break the fragile little roots. After about 2 weeks, strong roots should form and your new lawn will be ready for you, your kids, and your pets to enjoy.

The First Mow

Between 13 and 15 days after installation (or about 1 month for winter installs), your lawn will be ready for its first mow. To tell if your lawn is ready, gently try to pull up a corner of a sod piece. If you have trouble, you’re most likely ready!

But make sure you use your mower’s highest setting. A low setting increases your likelihood of pulling up the grass.

Fertilizer Application

When you reach the 1-month mark, it’s time to invest in some fertilizer. This extra nourishment strengthens your lawn’s root system and boosts your sod’s tolerance to heat, stress, and drought.

For new sod installations, liquid fertilizer is best, as it can more easily soak down into the soil surface. However, the type of fertilizer you need depends on the grass variety you’ve chosen. For specific fertilizer recommendations, give our lawn care experts a call at (910) 386-9490.

Have more questions about new sod maintenance? We are here to help.

Ready to browse some authentic sod options? We offer several warm season varieties you’ll love! Give us a call at (910) 386-9490 or send us a message! Our team is happy to help you find the perfect variety to fit your needs.

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