Install the Sod Immediately and Begin Watering! Do not wait Until the Next Day.
Sod is perishable and must not be allowed to remain on the pallet. Proper watering is essential to the establishment of your new sod. During the first week, keep the sod and soil beneath completely soaked—it is almost impossible to over-water during this period. As a general guide, water once a day during this critical first week. Watering times should be approximately 2-2.5 hours. These numbers may need to be increased during very hot weather.* If water starts to puddle, cut back a bit on watering time. During the second week, reduce watering to 1 hour a day, gradually allowing the soil to firm. This will make it possible for you to mow for the first time toward the end of week two. After three weeks your sod should be established and you may cut back to a normal watering routine which for the Houston area is once every two to three weeks during the spring and summer.
*Frequency and length of watering will depend on how warm, how windy, and how rapidly the lawn dries out following each watering. Remember the goal during week one is to keep the sod and the soil beneath moist all of the time.
Helpful Hints on Installation
The sod you have received from Murff Turf Farms, Inc. is of the highest quality. It has been delivered within 24 hours of harvesting in its full freshness and vigor, free of weeds and disease. But like any living plant that has been cut out of the ground, put on a truck, driven down a freeway – and replanted at your location, it must now devote its energies to reestablishing itself with new root growth. It needs water to do this—please reread the watering instructions above.
- Apply a pre-plant fertilizer, like 13-13-13, to the ground before (or after) laying the sod at a rate of 10 pounds per 1000 square feet.
- Make sure that your sprinkler system gives you head-to-head coverage so water application is uniform. This is critical as almost all sod failures are due to improper coverage of the irrigation system.
- Butt edges and ends to fit tightly against each other. This prevents drying out of the seams.
- Stagger strips as though laying bricks.
- Where needed, trim sod with a sharp knife or machete.
After Laying the Sod
- We cannot stress the proper watering program too much.
- Stay off your new sod for at least 14 days.
- Mow after two weeks with your mower set at the highest cutting height to reduce scalping. Never mow off more than 1/3 the height of the grass. If you have planted the sod in the shade, mow it very little and let it grow taller than the rest of your lawn so that it can get as much sunlight as possible.
- Fertilize your sod three times per year. Spring, Summer, Fall
- Control your pets. Urine spots and “foot printing” on soft, soggy sod may cause permanent problems.
Chinch Bugs – Chinch bugs work by sucking the plant juices. Dead areas in the lawn during the summer usually indicate chinch bugs. Use Diazinon or Dursban granules to rid your lawn of chinch bugs; follow the directions on the label.
Bluish gray areas appearing in the lawn – These are spots which have wilted because they are not getting as much water as the adjacent areas. Soak with a garden hose until you can adjust your sprinkler system for better coverage (adding a head, etc.).
Sod not rooting – Within 10 days your sod should have many roots emerging, if not, check your watering. NOTE: Sod in shade will root very slowly, if at all. Most turfgrass sods require 4 to 5 hours of full sun or an entire day of filtered light to successfully root and become established. Sodding in shady areas is not recommended. If you do plan to sod in a shady area, do it when the grass is dormant in the late fall and winter.
Brown spots – These can be caused by pets, dry spots, areas that are not rooting or possibly fungus. About 95% of the time, when you see a brown spot it is due to lack of water. Check by pushing a screw driver into the ground where the sod is green and then into the brown spot. If it is harder to push into the brown spot, you will know it is simply dry.