Proper watering is essential to the establishment of your new sod. During the first week, keep sod and soil watered thoroughly. As a general guide during the cool season, water once a day for the first two weeks. During the third week, reduce watering or three times per week depending on conditions. During the warm months of summer, water three times a day during the critical first week. If water starts to puddle, cut back a bit on watering time. During the second week, reduce watering to one time per day, gradually allowing the soil to firm. During the third week, reduce watering to one time every second or third day. This will make it possible for you to mow for the first time toward the end of week three. After three weeks your sod should be established and you may cut back to a normal watering routine for your location.
Frequency and length of watering will depend on how warm, windy, and how rapidly the lawn dries out following each watering. Remember that the goal during the first week is to keep the sod and the soil beneath moist. Make sure that your sprinkler system gives you head to head coverage so water application is uniform. This is critical, as almost all sod failures are due to improper coverage of the irrigation system.
Please try to stay off your new sod for about two weeks.
Your lawn needs a balanced fertilizer with nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium to keep it healthy and strong. Most soils have some of these elements present, but usually they become depleted over the years. Turf is a very hungry plant during its major growing seasons.
Proper fertilizing with balanced applications throughout the growing season promotes thick, dense grass that can resist disease and weed invasions. Applying too much of any one of the basic elements can cause erratic results. For example, an over abundance of nitrogen will cause rapid growth of the grass plants that the roots can't adequately handle; the blades become long and spindly. Balance is the key. Carefully follow label directions and use a hand held fertilizer spreader for uniform coverage.
In Central California, a minimum of 4 to 6 fertilizer applications should be considered.
Spring (Turf Supreme 16-6-8)
Summer (Turf Supreme 16-6-8)
Fall (Nitra-King 22-3-9)
Winter (Nitra-King 22-3-9)
Aeration (either early fall or early spring, depending on your location and soil type)
Additional applications such as pre-emergent weed controls might also be considered, especially if you had a strong infestation of either crabgrass or annual bluegrass. Please contact our office or e-mail us from the home page for more information on controlling weed pests. You are also welcome to visit our office garden center for your fertilizer and lawn care product needs.
After two or three weeks it will be time to mow your new lawn. Don't cut your grass too short, particularly for the cool season grasses we use on the Central Coast, 2" to 3" is recommended. However, letting your lawn grow longer than 3" is will not improve the root system and may in fact cause the grass to weaken. Don't remove any more than one third of the grass blades any mowing. Try to avoid mowing when the grass is wet.
When mowing only a third with each cutting, you can safely leave clippings that will quickly decompose and add nutrients back into the soil. Contrary to popular opinion, grass clippings do not add to thatch buildup. Grass blades are made up of about 75% water.
To keep your new lawn healthy and looking great it is important to keep your lawn mower blade sharpened.