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New Sod Care – After Installation

Jun 6, 2012 | Lawns


This is the most crucial factor in ensuring the success of new sod. The sod must be watered deeply so that the roots of the new grass seek moisture down deep in the ground. Follow this schedule:


First Two Weeks After Installation

Water each new sod area every day for 1 to 2 hours early in the morning, as early as 5:00 a.m., if desired. The water should completely saturate the sod and the soil below. Because the soil will be soggy, AVOID WALKING ON THE SOD at this time. THIS IS THE MOST CRITICAL PERIOD-YOU NEED TO KEEP THE GROUND MOIST DURING THIS TIME.


Third Week After Installation

Water every other day for 2 to 3 hours for one week


Fourth Week After Installation

Water every 3rd day for 2 to 3 hours.


Fifth & Sixth Week After Installation

You should water each new sod area for 3 to 4 hours once a week to get the desired deep watering which forces the roots to seek the moisture deep in the ground as the top surface dries out during the non-watering periods. This deep watering/deep root system growth strengthens the lawn against the possibility of the mild drought that occurs so often in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

*In the Spring and Fall only (NOT Summer) you can count a rainfall, if it’s a quarter inch or more, as a watering. *Note-It is very important not to over water: there should be NO STANDING WATER – you don’t want puddling of newly sodded areas, if the ground will not hold the water.



When the grass reaches 3.5” in height, allow the ground to dry and mow to 2.5” to 3.0”. Use a sharp blade. Mow approximately every seven days. Cut to 3.0” height in hot, dry weather.


Foot Traffic

Keep all pedestrians off of any slopes or banks that have been sodded for at least one month.



New sod regularly turns brown during the first few days after installation. If the sod is receiving adequate moisture, this is not cause for concern; sod will “green up” as the grass plants grow new leaves.


Weed Control

Weed killers, if needed, may be applied only after the first 3 months, but not during the summer months.


Insects & Diseases

Fungus growth may be a problem on new sod, as it is on any lawn, during hot, humid weather. Check your lawn for brown spots or patches and contact a professional for advice. To help alleviate the possibility of fungus growth, DO NOT WATER AFTER 4:00 P.M.!



Do not apply fertilizer for six months after installation. Then apply 2 applications at one half the normal rate of fertilizer in the spring, one full application in early fall and one application of 2 times the normal rate in late autumn. (The late fertilization is the most important.)

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About the Author

Matt Johnson grew up in a family of landscapers and gardeners as the grandson of Raymond Johnson (Founder, 1933, Johnson's Florist and Garden Center) and son of James and Carol Johnson (Founders, 1960, Johnson's Landscaping Service, Inc.). Since 2007, he has led Johnson's Landscaping Service with his brother, Charlie.  Matt and his wife Jaime live in Petworth in Northwest DC with their 3 sons and 2 big dogs.

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