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When to Apply Fertilizer for New Sod

If you want to have a beautiful lawn in the shortest possible amount of time, you should try laying sod. Basically, a sod is a section of grass that has already been planted and is just waiting to be sold to an interested lawn owner.

Even though this is the quickest way to develop your lawn, take in mind that new sod also requires a lot of care. In particular, you have to know when to apply fertilizer for new sod. Fertilizer application with the wrong amount and at the wrong time can ruin sod growth.

Performing Calculations

Best Fertilizer for New Sod

Before you apply fertilizer on your new sod, you should first take a good look at it. Read the information on the package, especially regarding the nutrient ratio. This nutrient ratio will come in three numbers such as 21-0-0 or 23-0-6.

Upon identifying the nutrient ratio, you should now conduct a simple calculation. First, divide 100 by the first number. The resulting quotient from this calculation will indicate how many pounds of the fertilizer should be used to distribute a pound of nitrogen to one thousand square feet of lawn. For example, if the nutrient ratio is 21-0-0, then you should divide 100 by 21. The resulting quotient is 4.76, which means that 4.76 pounds of the fertilizer will be used for every one thousand square feet of lawn.

After this, you need to determine the total size of your lawn. If your property is fairly small, simply multiply the length by its width to get the area size in square feet. For example, a lawn has a length of 45 feet and a width of 40 feet. You must multiply 45 by 40, and the product will be 1,800. Thus, the total lawn size is 1,800 square feet.

However, square feet wouldn’t be sufficient if you have a huge area. Instead, you should get your total property area in acres and subtract the portions that aren’t part of your lawn. For example, you have a total property area measuring 40 acres, but 8 acres are not part of your lawn. Subtract eight from 40, and you'll get the total lawn size of 32 acres.

Finally, divide the size of your lawn by 1,000 and multiply the quotient by the number of pounds of fertilizer you got with the first calculation. The product will be the total number of pounds of fertilizer you will use to cover your entire lawn with a guaranteed pound of nitrogen for every 1,000 square feet.

For example, let's use our previous examples of 4.76 pounds of fertilizer and a total lawn size of 1,800 square feet. We first divide 1,800 by 1,000 to get 1.80. Next, we multiply 1.80 by 4.76. The product will be 8.568 or 8.57, which means you will be using 8.57 pounds of fertilizer to adequately cover your entire lawn with nitrogen.

Proper Fertilizer Application

Proper Fertilizer Application

Even before fertilizing your lawn containing the new sod, you have to conduct a soil test. This will let you know what nutrients are already in the soil for the plants to use. For example, several locations in the state of Florida already have a significant amount of phosphorus in the soil. Due to this finding, these areas do not need a fertilizer with a huge amount of phosphorus in it.

A new sod has a very short root system that needs some time to be fully established into the soil. One day after the installation of new sod, you should sprinkle fertilizer on it. To ensure that you only apply the right amount, a rotary or drop spreader.

However, instead of immediately giving a pound of nitrogen for every 1,000 square feet, the amount of needed fertilizer should just be half of what you calculated. This is because the sod already received some fertilizer before it was delivered and installed on your lawn.

After this first and light application of fertilizer, you should irrigate the lawn. This will help in spreading the fertilizer around the lawn – which reduces the occurrence of nitrogen burns – and down to the root section of the new sod.

Here’s a video showing how to water newly installed sod:

Moreover, the new sod should be mowed seven days after installation. Through proper mowing, the sod will allocate its resources to accelerate root establishment instead of grass growth. Instead of picking up the grass clippings, you can leave them where they are. In time, these clippings will undergo decomposition and serve as natural fertilizer for the new sod.

Six weeks after it was installed, the new sod should be fertilized once again. Unlike the first application, however, you should apply the full amount of fertilizer you previously calculated. At this point, the new sod will grow best with a pound of nitrogen for every 1,000 square feet.

Do not apply more than the amount of fertilizer you calculated. Otherwise, you will be simply wasting the fertilizer since not all of the nutrients can be absorbed by the root system of the new sod. Don’t forget to water the lawn afterward to distribute the fertilizer down the roots.

Small notes for important dates: 1 day: sprinkle fertilizer and irrigate, 7 days: mowing, 6 weeks: apply fertilizer again and waterIn conclusion, applying a fertilizer for newly installed sod will require you to perform calculations, irrigation, and mowing. As long as you follow the instructions, the root system of your new sod will be firmly established in the soil as soon as possible.

If you have any questions, do give us a comment.

When to Apply Fertilizer for new sod

About the Author Ann Katelyn

I'm Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I've always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people's gardens thrive.

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