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New Sod Care

By Project Landscape, Calgary

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Watering Your Lawn for the First 2 Weeks
  • Mowing Your New Sod
  • Watering Your Sod After the First 2 Weeks
  • Caring for Your Sod During Colder Weather
  • Fertilizing Your New Sod
  • Weed Control
  • FAQ About New Sod
  • Conclusion

Introduction

At Project Landscape in Calgary, we understand that laying new sod is just the beginning of your journey to a lush, vibrant lawn. Proper care in the early stages is crucial to establish a healthy, robust grass cover. This comprehensive guide will walk you through essential care tips for your new sod, ensuring it thrives from the start.

Watering Your Lawn for the First 2 Weeks

The first two weeks are critical for your new sod. Proper watering during this period is essential for root establishment.

Immediate Watering: Begin watering your sod within 30 minutes of installation. This initial soaking is crucial to prevent drying and to encourage root growth.

Frequency and Duration: For the first week, water the sod twice daily – morning and late afternoon. Each watering session should be about 15 to 20 minutes, ensuring the sod and the top inch of soil are thoroughly moist.

Adjustments: In the second week, reduce watering to once a day. The goal is to start encouraging deeper root growth.

Chart for Daily Watering Schedule:

Time Duration
7 AM 20 minutes
5 PM 20 minutes

Note: Adjust the schedule based on weather conditions. Less water may be needed on cloudy or rainy days.

Mowing Your New Sod

Mowing is an important aspect of new sod care, promoting a dense, healthy lawn.

First Mow: Wait until the sod is about 3 to 4 inches tall. Typically, this is about 2 to 3 weeks after installation.

Mowing Technique: Mow only the top third of the grass blades. Cutting too short can stress the new sod.

Mower Settings: Use a sharp blade and set your mower to a higher setting to avoid cutting the grass too short.

Watering Your Sod After the First 2 Weeks

After the initial critical period of the first two weeks, your new sod will have begun to establish its roots. However, proper watering remains key to ensuring its continued health and growth. Here’s how to adapt your watering practices as your sod matures:

Transitioning to Deeper Watering:

  • Objective: Encourage deeper root growth for a more drought-resistant lawn.
  • Method: Gradually reduce the frequency of watering while increasing the depth. This means watering less often, but more thoroughly.
  • Schedule: Shift to watering every other day, and then gradually to just two or three times a week, depending on weather conditions.

Monitoring Soil Moisture:

  • Check the Soil: Use a screwdriver or a soil probe to check moisture depth. You’re aiming for moist soil up to 4-6 inches deep.
  • Adjust According to Weather: Be mindful of changes in weather. Hot, dry, and windy conditions may require more frequent watering, while cooler, cloudy days may require less.

Avoiding Water Stress:

  • Signs of Underwatering: Watch for signs like wilting, blue-gray color, and footprints that remain on the lawn.
  • Overwatering: Overwatering can be just as harmful, leading to shallow rooting and increased vulnerability to pests and diseases.

Caring for Your Sod During Colder Weather

Calgary’s climate can present challenges for new sod, especially as temperatures drop. Here’s how to care for your sod during colder weather:

Reducing Watering:

  • As the growth slows in cooler temperatures, reduce the frequency of watering.
  • Avoid watering if a frost is expected, as this can damage the grass.

Protection from Frost:

  • New sod is vulnerable to frost. Limit foot traffic on frosty grass to prevent damage to the blades.

Mulching:

  • Consider a light layer of mulch to protect against extreme cold and to retain soil moisture.

Fertilizing Your New Sod

A crucial step in nurturing your new sod in Calgary is the correct application of fertilizer. Fertilizing not only provides essential nutrients for growth but also helps in establishing a resilient and lush lawn. Here’s how to approach fertilizing your new sod:

Initial Fertilization:

  • Timing: Your new sod has been fertilized before delivery, so wait about 4 to 6 weeks before applying additional fertilizer.
  • Type of Fertilizer: Use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer that will provide consistent nutrients over time.

Subsequent Fertilization:

  • Schedule: After the initial application, fertilize your sod every 6 to 8 weeks during the growing season.
  • Application: Apply fertilizer evenly using a spreader to ensure uniform coverage. Avoid over-fertilizing as it can lead to excessive growth, making your lawn more susceptible to diseases and pests.

Special Considerations for Calgary’s Climate:

  • Avoid Late Season Fertilization: Refrain from fertilizing your sod late in the season as it can lead to new growth that is vulnerable to frost damage.

Weed Control

Maintaining a weed-free lawn starts with healthy sod and proper lawn care practices. Here are some tips for effective weed control:

Early Detection and Removal:

  • Manual Removal: For the occasional weed, early manual removal is effective. Be sure to remove the entire root to prevent regrowth.
  • Herbicides: If the weed issue is more extensive, select a herbicide that is safe for your type of sod. Always follow the product’s instructions carefully.

Preventative Measures:

  • Thick Lawn: A thick, healthy lawn can outcompete most weeds. Proper mowing, watering, and fertilizing are key.
  • Limit Soil Disturbance: Avoid unnecessary soil disturbance which can bring dormant weed seeds to the surface.

FAQ About New Sod

Caring for new sod brings up many questions, especially for new homeowners or those new to lawn maintenance. At Project Landscape in Calgary, we understand these concerns and aim to provide clear, helpful answers. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about new sod:

Q: How long until my new sod is fully established?

  • A: Typically, it takes about one year for new sod to establish a robust root system. During this time, it’s crucial to follow proper watering, mowing, and fertilization practices.

Q: Can I walk on my new sod?

  • A: It’s best to limit foot traffic on your new sod for at least the first two weeks to allow the roots to establish. After that, light foot traffic is okay, but heavy usage should be avoided for the first few months.

Q: When is it safe to start using my lawn normally after laying new sod?

  • A: Generally, you can start using your lawn normally after it has been established for one year. However, light activities can be resumed after the first month, provided the sod has rooted properly.

Q: How do I know if my new sod is getting enough water?

  • A: Your sod should be kept consistently moist, but not waterlogged. The soil underneath should be damp up to 4 inches deep. If the sod starts to look greyish and footprints remain visible, it’s a sign that it needs more water.

Q: Should I be concerned about yellow patches on my new sod?

  • A: Yellow patches could be due to various reasons, including over-watering, under-watering, or a lack of nutrients. Assess your watering schedule and consider a soil test to check for nutrient deficiencies.

Conclusion

Caring for new sod is a rewarding journey that enhances the beauty and functionality of your outdoor space. At Project Landscape in Calgary, we are committed to providing our clients with the knowledge and support needed to nurture their lawns. By adhering to the guidelines for watering, mowing, fertilizing, and weed control, your sod will develop into a lush, healthy lawn, contributing to the overall appeal of your home.

Remember, a beautiful lawn starts with careful planning and consistent care. If you have any further questions or need assistance with your landscaping needs, feel free to reach out to us at Project Landscape. We’re here to help you achieve the perfect lawn that you can be proud of.

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