Caring For Newly Installed Sod

13-13-13 starter fertilizer gives a quick burst of food to newly installed sod.

13-13-13 starter fertilizer gives a quick burst of food to newly installed sod.


Our 13-13-13 starter fertilizer is a quick release fertilizer that is especially beneficial to new sod and seed. 13-13-13 is applied at the rate of 1 bag per 6500 square feet. Fertilizing your prepared soil before laying your sod will speed root development and save time and water - check with your contractor to see if this has already been done. If fertlizer wasn’t spread before the sod was laid, it can be spread over the top afterwards. After 4 weeks reapply 13-13-13 fertilizer at the same rate and continue every 4 weeks until you are satisfied with look of your new lawn.


The First Day:  Newly installed sod must be watered within the first 15 minutes to promote successful establishment. (Wetting the soil prior to installation also helps in the summer heat.) Smaller areas can be done with a hose by hand, larger areas will benefit from a sprinkler - be sure to get the edges. It is important to water every three hours the first day because new sod has a very short root system and lacks the ability to pull moisture from deeper soil. Reposition sprinklers every hour to evenly disperse water in larger areas. Water areas near buildings, driveways and walkways more often because reflected heat dries the lawn faster.

1 Sprinkler = 1/4 inch of water

1 Sprinkler = 1/4 inch of water

The First Week:  Your sod needs a 1/4 inch of water every day. Initially, the best time to water is during the heat of the day (between 9 AM and 4 PM) because lawns lose the most moisture during the heat of the day. Measure the amount of water your sprinkler produces by placing a rain gauge or a flat bottom can (like a tuna can) a few feet from your sprinkler and timing how long it takes to catch a 1/4 inch of water.  

The Next Three Weeks:  The second week your lawn needs a 1/4 inch of water every other day. During the third, water every third day; the fourth week you should make sure the new lawn gets a 1/4 inch at least 2 days. After the first month, Mother Nature should be sufficient for your lawn, provided there is a normal amount of rainfall.

What to Remember: Once your sod is established water in early mornings. Watering in the morning leaves the moisture where the sod can utilize it during the day and is better for the environment. Established lawns need about 3/4 - 1 inch of moisture weekly depending on soil type. Rainfall and your turf’s appearance will dictate when moisture is required. 

When should I Water My Established Yard?: Indications that your lawn needs moisture are: 1) You can see footprints after walking across the lawn2) The grass blades are folded or rolled3) The grass is turning a bluish/grey color and wilting.

Remember to water in the early morning and use common sense with your established yard. Adjust your watering to the weather conditions because, ultimately, mother nature is in charge.

Mowing - New & Established Lawns

  • Mow your new lawn within two weeks after installation. Mowing controls leaf growth and encourages root development. 
  • Make sure your lawn is dry enough so tracks won’t be made. 
  • Mow your lawn established lawn often, never removing more than 1/3 of the grass blade. It is recommended to mow bluegrass to a height of 2 to 2.5 inches. 
  • Vary the direction you mow to improve your turf’s grain. 
  • Keep your mower blades sharp so to cut the grass cleanly and to reduce stress on the plant and keep moisture in your lawn. 
  • Grasscycle! Leave grass clippings on the lawn; they add moisture and nutrients back into the soil as they decompose.
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Be gentle with your new lawn

During the first two weeks, avoid heavy or concentrated use of your new lawn. This will give the roots an opportunity to firmly knit with the soil.