June is here, and July is right around the corner, so the warm weather and sunshine are here to stay for awhile. Those of us with a gardening background know that water and sunshine are the most important things to get, and keep, plant life going. Sod is no different and we’ll talk about the watering and mowing requirements to get, and maintain, that lush green lawn.
One of our sod fields Close up of our sod
At this time of year, sod must be put down (installed) the day it is cut. When left on the pallet, it begins to heat up or “cook”. This is why we growers cut to order and don’t stock it like other garden plants. The most common questions we get asked are “how much do I have to water?” and “how long do I have to keep watering?”
We recommend a thorough deep watering immediately after installation. To the point where it feels “squishy” underfoot. For the next three weeks, water once a day, approximately ¼” for the first few weeks. (Place a bucket under your sprinkler to see how long it takes for that amount of water to accumulate). After that, you may begin to cut back to two or three times a week, depending on the weather. When it comes to rain, get a rain gauge. They come in every size, shape and color and are available at your local hardware stores. Soil type and avoiding overwatering are also things to keep in mind. I’ve included a link below from MSU’s extension information that goes into more detail.
One of our irrigation guns Freshly cut sod from our fields
Other common questions we get asked are “when can I start to mow?” and “how high do I set the mower blade?”
Mowing one of our fields
When properly installed and watered, new sod will begin to take root and be ready for mowing within a week. Your mower’s blade should be set high enough to maintain 3 to 4 inches of the grass blades. This length helps to keep the roots shaded and cooler during the summer heat. Cutting the grass too short can cause “scalping”.
Here at the farm, we mow consistently so that the clippings are no longer than ¼” long. However, most homeowners mow about twice a week until about August when growth slows down.
Here are some helpful links from MSU’s extension material.
Please note: you will notice that their watering recommendations differ from ours. They are referring to lawns that are already established. Follow the recommendations mentioned earlier in this blog for newly installed sod.