Many people prefer to install new sod on their lawn instead of planting grass seeds on their own – and for good reasons. For one, you are already guaranteed a thick section of healthy green grass for your lawn. Sure, it can be costly, but it’s definitely worth the investment.
But what happens after the sod installation? In order to have a beautiful lawn, you need to take good care of your new sod. This involves adequate irrigation, fertilizer application, soil preparation, and mowing. Here, we’ll focus on learning when to mow new sod.
Before the sod can be mowed, adequate root establishment and grass crown growth should take place. This is essential since the grass crowns of the sod were torn apart from the nursery beds when they were delivered to your home. If you begin to mow immediately, the new sod’s blades might not survive the tremendous pressure coming from a rotary mower.
To strengthen the attachment of the new sod to the topsoil, irrigation is necessary. In fact, the topsoil can appear mushy due to the amount of water. What matters is that the water goes down enough to firmly push the root system into the soil.
During the first two weeks of installation, the new sod must undergo irrigation at least three times a day. Likewise, ensure that the water goes up to six inches deep into the soil. You can check the depth by simply removing a portion of the sod and seeing until which section of the soil contains moisture.
Since the sod is damp during this period, do not step on it at any cost. This could leave depressions that will negatively affect root establishment. In addition, utilize sprinklers to prevent the new sod from completely being dry and eventually dying.
Complete root establishment does not happen at the same time for newly installed sod due to factors such as moisture and temperature. Typically, the process can take as short as 10 days or as long as three weeks.In order to assess the state of the root system, you can try to pull some of the sod away from the soil. If there’s enough resistance, then the roots have deeply established themselves in the soil.
Here’s a video discussing root establishment:
One of the most basic yet significant steps you should do is to sharpen the blades of your lawn mower. If the cuts are smooth and clean, the new sod won’t experience shock or an increased susceptibility to plant disease.
The height by which you mow the new sod will depend on the grass type you have on your lawn. For example, grass mixes based on the Kentucky bluegrass are at their healthiest state when they are mowed down to within two to three inches tall. On the other hand, Zoysia grass will thrive if its height is kept between just one to two inches.
If your new sod has become significantly tall, you should cut it down in multiple sessions instead of mowing it all at once. Specifically, you should only mow one-third of the grass blades off with each session.
The weather can also affect how much you cut off from your new sod. If the weather is cool, you can mow it down to a short height to promote plant growth. If it’s usually hot in a given season, you should keep it long enough for the grass crowns to receive some shade from the sun.
Mowing the new sod should be done with utmost care. Rather than cutting the grass blades across the first time, you should do it along the strips. Only when you’ve mowed the new sod several times should you attempt to mow it across.
Furthermore, you should stop watering the new sod for two days before you mow it for the first time. This will let it be dry enough and it will prevent issues such as tearing and clumping.
Instead of using a riding lawn mower, you are better off mowing with a rotary mower or reel mower. Both of these are light enough for the new sod to handle without experiencing soil compaction or soil shifts.
In the end, mowing a new sod isn’t difficult at all. You just have to irrigate it enough during the first two weeks and adjust the mowing height depending on the grass type and the weather.
If you have any questions, do give us a comment.
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.