When to mow new sod?

how long should you wait to mow new sod

A green lawn is what home-owning dreams are made of!

That’s why many homeowners choose to plant the best (and often most expensive) grass varieties. But if you’re planning to establish a new lawn through sodding, then it’s important to understand a basic concept, i.e., mowing the new sod.

And we have got your back with this extensive guide on everything you need to know about when to mow new sod. Not only that, but we will also walk you through some key maintenance points to keep in mind. Let’s start, then!

When To Mow New Sod?

Truth be told, the exact time for mowing a newly sodded lawn depends on different factors like the variety of the sod as well as the season of planting.

But as a rule of thumb, you should wait between one and two weeks to mow the sod lawn after successful sod installation. This period essentially allows proper root development for the grass strands to grow and become strong enough to hold the ground on their own.

One way to check if it’s time to mow the new sod lawn is by gently pulling the turf grasses. If you feel any resistance, then it’s better to bring out the lawn mower. Otherwise, wait for a few more weeks before starting to mow.

What Is The Ideal Mowing Height For The New Sod?

It’s usually recommended to cut the new turf grass a few inches longer than what you usually prefer. For instance, if you generally cut the grass at the height of 2 inches, then leave the new ones at least 2 ½-inch long. This will ensure enough surface on the grass plants for them to conduct adequate photosynthesis.

That said, the rate of photosynthesis in perennial grass species is determined by various factors, some of which include:

  • The length of the internodes
  • Number of stolons or rhizomes
  • Number of basal buds

This also means that the exact length at which you should cut the grass depends on the species’ ability to conduct photosynthesis at low heights. For example, fine fescues and Kentucky bluegrass are two such varieties that cannot produce sufficient nutrients through photosynthesis at very low heights. Hence, the newly installed sod of these varieties should be mowed at the height of 1 ½ or 2 inches, which is comparatively longer than some similar species.

However, taller fescues and ryegrass have bunch-like sods, which can produce enough nutrients when mowed at a height ranging between 2 and 3 inches.

Irrespective of the species, it’s extremely important for lawn owners to identify the correct mowing height for the sods. If you’re a first-timer, contact the sod supplier for the purpose. And this will help you grow a healthy lawn as well as prevent the formation of bare spots and excess weeds.

A little pro tip here: make sure that you don’t cut the grass more than 1/3rd of the total length of the mower blade.

How To Lay Sod?

The first and most important step for laying sod is to get rid of any existing grass to get a blank canvas. Once the ground is bare, fertilize and treat the soil according to the requirements of the new sod.

Start unrolling the sod on the edges of the lawn and gradually work your way towards the center. Make sure the sod pieces lay flat to each other so that the surface looks completely even.

For best results, use a roller to flatten the pieces and remove the air pockets underneath, which will also help the sods maintain greater contact with the soil for better root development. As the final step, water the entire area thoroughly.

What Are The Benefits Of Mowing The Sod?

Frequent mowing the new sod aids the growth of a lush lawn within a short span. As you cut the grass leaves, the plants are “forced” to grow new leaves and sprout more shoots. And these new shoots ultimately result in better grass density, which is good for your lawn.

High-density lawn turf is generally more resistant to regular wear and tear from heavy foot traffic. Moreover, the grass can retain its luscious green color for prolonged periods- something that you’d definitely want for residential lawns.

Similarly, high-density turf on playgrounds is much sought-after, as it improves the overall playability of the surface.

Aside from that, frequently mowing the turf can “train” the grass to grow shorter shoots, primarily to prevent the important parts (like the crown section) from getting chopped by the blade. As the shoots become shorter, the grass strands can support themselves even with low root establishment. And all of this ultimately culminates into low maintenance requirements.

Beyond that, mowing the lawn can help the grass plants block out the formation of weeds (like crabgrass) and infestation by smaller pests like grass spiders.

Guide To Effective Sod Care

New sod care includes more than just knowing about the right time to mow and the mowing heights. That’s why we thought of including a few tips and tricks that will promote deep and healthy root growth in a short span. We will also talk about some common mistakes

Don’t Mow Wet Sod

Always ensure that the new grass is dry before you start mowing. Many homeowners and novice gardeners think that the moisture content in the grass will help them mow better, but it can be extremely damaging. This is because when the soil is wet, the weaker roots can be easily pulled out by the moving tires of your mower.

Besides, all that moisture can corrode the blade, rendering it completely useless. Another thing to keep in mind is that you should use sharp blades and equipment, especially for the first mowing session of your new lawn.

Restrict Foot Traffic

Even the slightest foot traffic can cause irreversible damages to the root system of the new grass. Hence, it’s imperative to keep your properly installed sod protected from being walked on, at least till you begin mowing.

Ensure Proper Watering

Once the sod is installed, water it immediately, ensuring that the water soaks the grass and reaches a few inches below the topsoil.

From the next day onwards, you can simply water the area such that both the soil and sod become moist. However, avoid overwatering the sod pieces to the point where your yard is flooded with standing water, as this will cut off air circulation near the roots.

Ideally, you should be watering the new sods 4 to 6 times each day for a period of about 5 minutes. However, this isn’t a fixed rule, as the watering pattern and frequency will vary between different lawns due to the difference in the type of soil used. But make sure that the water doesn’t stand on the ground for more than 5 minutes once you’re done watering.

Continue doing this for a few weeks, but reduce the frequency as you near the first mow. This will make the ground firm and ready for the cuts.

Now, you can increase the watering frequency and duration during summer, as the hot weather can dry out the sods, causing them to shrink, turn brown, and eventually die. Apart from that, avoid watering the grass in the evening after 6 pm to prevent the growth of unwanted fungi and bacteria.

One important thing to note is that while frequent watering is a necessity to promote root growth during the initial few weeks, the situation changes after the first mow. As a result, you can reduce the watering cycles to facilitate stronger and deeper root establishment.

We’d suggest watering the lawn only once a day around the 5th-week mark and once every two days from the 6th week onwards. Post this period, the roots will develop on their own and will survive with sparse watering patterns.

Fertilizing The Lawn

Fertilizing the new sod post-installation is another vital step to ensure the proper establishment of the root system.

In this regard, we’d advise applying a starter fertilizer with an adequate amount of phosphorus that’s required for healthy and deeper root growth. Alternatively, you can apply a nutritious mix like the Lawnifi new lawn starter box, which contains all the essential minerals required for a healthy start.

But no matter what you choose, stick to the usage recommendations mentioned by the manufacturer, as using too much fertilizer can destroy the young roots. Likewise, ensure proper application techniques to negate the chances of soil pollution.

Proper Weed And Pest Control

You can start with weed controlling as soon as the grass establishes its roots in the soil, which usually happens at the 4th-week mark. However, you should always use weedicides and pesticides that have been specially formulated for the specific grass type.

And once you have mowed the lawn a couple of times, you can use other pest or weed control treatments as required.

Final Words

That’s about it from us for today’s guide.

As is evident, mowing the new sod is conducive to getting a healthy and green-looking lawn that can resist the elements. However, you won’t get favorable results if you mow it at the wrong time or height. So, make sure you know the right mowing techniques for the variety you have opted for.

Here are a few more tips from us before we say goodbye: keep the pH of the soil between  6 and 7.5 before laying the sod. And get the soil tested to ensure that you select the right variety and plant-care products.

Need professional help when it comes to sod installation and replacement in Flower Mound TX? Contact us and get a quote now.