So you have installed a brand new sod lawn?! Congratulations you are now happier!! To keep this feeling going you must take care of this new lawn to make sure it thrives in its new location. There are a few things to remember when keeping up a brand new lawn. Follow these guidelines for best results.
Watering is your first concern. A new lawn is going to need a good soaking when first installed to make sure there is no stress on the new turf. Weather and outdoor temperature will be a big influence on how to water. The hotter the weather is the more you will have to water to compete with natural water evaporation from the soil and turf. Rain can be of assistance to your watering duties but remember not all rainfalls are the same. A small drizzle does not count as properly watering your sod. Rainfall is typically measured in millimeters and your lawn will need enough millimetres of water to be applied to soak through the new sod to the soil below. If you are wondering if you have watered enough, gently lift a corner of the new grass, if the soil below is moist you are getting it down where it is needed.
When sod is first installed its roots are very short. You must keep a supply of water available in the top inch or so of topsoil so the roots don’t have to grow too far a distance to reach it. Where you make water available will dictate how your roots grow and where they grow to get it. You want the water in the soil to be just out of reach most of the time so the roots have to grow a little deeper to get at it, however if the water is too far down and inaccessible the plants will not be able to grow roots that far through dry soil to access it and could die. When done properly this process is called “training” the grass to grow deep roots.
As the grass establishes you want to water less frequently. In warm weather soil dries out from the top down. Because of this, when the grass roots are very short you have to frequently apply water to the lawn to keep the area nearest the surface moist all the time. As the plants grow deeper roots, you want to water less frequently but for a longer duration of time. This will make sure that the grass has to grow roots a couple inches deep to access the water that is stored deeper in the soil. This water will not have evaporated after the first sunny day and will become the target of further root growth. Be very careful not to continually water a new lawn every day for weeks and weeks. If grass has a constant supply of water in the upper root zone, it will never grow roots deep enough to sustain itself.
4. Mowing Your New Turf
Mowing is just as important as watering. A new lawn can be mowed as soon as the roots have attached to the soil beneath. To test this, gently pull up on the corners of the new turf and see if it has taken to the soil. Once it is time to cut, use a mower with a sharp blade, and only remove 1/3 or less of the grass blade height. A bigger reduction than this can cause stress on the grass plants and lead to poor turf health. Ideally try to mow across the lawn grid pattern the first time, and then alternate directions of mowing each time you cut. Don’t trim too low, and mow often. Mowing is like exercise for your lawn. Cutting it regularly promotes dense, vigorous growth and helps the turf establish. In the first couple of months new turf may need cutting more than once a week to make sure you are not removing a large amount of growth with each mow.
Fertilizing is the other important step to keeping your sod lawn healthy. Before installation, an initial application of starter fertilizer should have been applied to the soil BELOW the new sod. If this was done the turf should not need feeding for 4-8 weeks depending on the fertilizer used. Once the lawn is established it is important to follow with an appropriate amount application of quality turf fertilizer every 8-10 weeks. The first application should be a month or so after the sod is laid, and then at regular intervals dictated by the guidelines on the product. If you see any signs of yellowing in the lawn, or less vigorous growth it is likely time for another fertilizer application. Lawns have quite a high nitrogen requirement and are often fertilized 4-5 times per year, depending on your soil makeup and product applied. A soil test can be your guide to what your lawn needs in its fertilizer and how often to apply it.
6. Ask a Professional Lawn and Maintenance Company in North Vancouver
For more information on lawn and garden maintenance contact West Coast Lawns and Gardens, we can provide and get a quote for all your landscaping design and installation needs at www.westcoastlawns.ca.