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When to Mow New Sod? A Guide to New Sod Care

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When to Mow New Sod

Mowing new sod can be tricky and stressful. You don’t want to cut the grass too short, but you do want to get rid of thatch buildup and prevent weeds from growing. How often should you mow your new lawn, and when should you start?

The answer is: it depends! This blog post will help guide you through some frequently asked questions about caring for your new sod.

Sod is a great way to instantly add grass to your lawn, but it can be difficult to know when it needs to be mowed. New lawns need to be mowed for better health of the grass and an eye-pleasing visual appearance, whether made by sodding or seeding. If not done at the right time, mowing can damage your lawn very easily.

If you want to create a beautiful lawn by using sod, you will need some proper guidance on how to care for the sod after it’s laid. We’re here to help guide you on when to mow new sod and explain the importance of sticking to the right schedule. Waiting too long to cut for the first time can also interfere with the sod’s development.

How Long to Wait Before Mowing Your Sod

You must wait for at least seven days and up to 14 days before mowing a newly sodded lawn. This gives the sod time to establish its roots in the soil and prepare itself for further growth. However, sometimes if there are poor conditions such as unfavorable weather, sod can take as long as six to seven weeks to get mow-ready.

It’s not recommended to mow the lawn immediately after sodding as the sod’s root system hasn’t developed, and its tip is still narrow, which can’t facilitate further new growth. That is why sod needs time between installation and its first mowing to send the roots deep down into the ground. 

Although you can speed up the growth of seeds with the help of proper fertilization and watering based on the advice of your sod suppliers, don’t overwater or underwater the new lawn. Watering more than recommended can kill off roots. During the time gap between installation and the first mowing, avoid foot traffic on your lawn as it can ruin the sod slabs and make your yard look awful. Once the root system is established, you can mow the sodded lawn.

To find out if roots are settled, you can try to pull them out, and if you feel any resistance, then the roots are established. As long as the majority of sod slabs pass this test and hold tight to the ground, you are ready to go.

Adequately installed sod can start growing and be ready for mowing very quickly, but if mowed before it’s established, it could result in damaged or dead grass. Mowing too early can lead to the edges or corner of slabs being peeled up into mower blades, which can ruin the entire patch of lawns and ruin the perfect look you’re after. The weight of your mower can also lead to brown patches, so it’s best to use a push mower at first if possible.

How High to Mow Your New Sod

Newly sodded lawns should be mowed at a height so that it still leaves some grass surface area behind to facilitate photosynthesis for the grass. Be sure not to cut more than one-third of the blade of grass regardless of height.

For initial mowing, always use sharp mower blades to avoid any damage to the sod slab and hence, to the lawn.

Different turfgrasses have different recommended mowing heights due to the variations in lengths and quantity. Grasses like Kentucky Bluegrass can’t produce sufficient leaves when cut at lower heights, so it needs to be mowed at 1.5 to 2 inches. On the other hand, ryegrass has just enough mass that requires mowing heights of 2 to 3 inches of new sod. Always find the correct mowing height for your lawn before mowing, as it helps your grass grow thicker and fuller, preventing bare spots and weed competition.

Mowing the New Sod

Once roots have been established and the sod has grown to a certain height, you are ready to mow the lawn. Mowing should generally be done 48 hours after watering so that the grass can be dry. Avoid stepping in the wet ground to give it time to develop roots. Walking on the lawn while it’s spongy can leave behind foot depressions, which will result in uneven growth and unsightly property. 

Get out the mower and put yourself to work. Do the work slowly and cut the grass so there is enough height for photosynthesis. Check regularly if there is any sign of damage to the sod.

After the first mowing, you can reduce the watering frequency. After three weeks of installation, sods should already have taken firm roots, and they will likely not dry out even if not watered for a few days. Hence, you can schedule and water your every other day or as needed based on temperature and weather. After a month, you can even reduce the frequency to once every three days.

Use a sprinkler to water during the early morning or evening (when it’s cool) as it is the best time to water the sod. We would recommend you to spray early morning as there is minimal evaporation, and the maximum amount of water reaches the roots and is used. See our list of the best tripod sprinkler to find an excellent option for watering your new sod.

Benefits of Mowing Newly Planted Lawn

Though we learned about mowing and how to implement the process of mowing, the question arises – why is mowing necessary for the new sod? Mowing is vital for the development of a healthy, new, and good-looking lawn. As soon as you learn to cut the turfgrass the right way, you will start noticing the changes in your lawn. Some significant benefits of mowing include:

  • Regular mowing helps the ground grow faster and thicker, as it helps increase the pace of photosynthesis as sunlight reaches the deeper portions of sod and leads to better growth.
  • It cuts out weeds, such as crabgrass. Mowing regularly is required as it cuts off unnecessary weeds, which uses the additional water and also inhibits the sod from growing more quickly. (See our list of the best weed killers for lawns to maintain healthy grass.)
  • Cutting newly sodded lawns can help you get rid of insects, as many of them hide in the grass, which could be harmful to small children playing.

When we mow our newly sodded lawns, a significant portion of blades that perform photosynthesis are cut off, which leads to the growth of more blades while also sprouting more shoots. These new shoots increase the turf density, giving a great quality, thick turf (see our recommendations of the best lawn fertilizers for thick green grass).

For home lawns, try increasing the turf density (thickness) as it can withstand the foot traffic and won’t ruin the lawn. High-density turf is required for lawns where sports are played as they increase durability.

Frequent mowing helps our turfgrass develop shorter shoots as they adapt to avoid significant sections like the crown getting chopped off. With shorter shoots, less root establishment is required, and hence it leads to simpler lawn care and maintenance routine as less water is needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if you mow sod too soon?

If you cut sod too soon, the grass will grow taller and become more vulnerable to weeds. In a month or two your lawn may require another mowing which means that it takes longer for your new grass to get established

Should you mulch or bag new sod?

If you have little to no irrigation, and live in a climate that has hot summers, it’s easier for the grass if you bag your new sod. This will keep the roots from drying out. However, mulching is also an option so long as there is adequate water available during periods of heavy play or high temperatures.

Can you water new sod too much?

Yes, it is possible to provide too much water to your new sod. Don’t over-water your new sod or it will start to turn brown on the edges and fall apart when walked on by bare feet because too much moisture in the soil can cause root rot. Generally, you should water new sod each day (unless it rains that day) for a week or so.

How long does it take sod to take root?

It takes sod about a month to settle in and take root. Keep watering the new lawn during this time, but be sure not to overwater it or saturate the soil; just keep it moist for optimum growth around two inches of water each application. This will also help discourage weeds from taking over while your ground cover is still establishing itself as well.

Does new sod need to be watered every day?

Yes, brand new sod should get water each day. It’s important to water the new sod every day for at least a week unless it rains.

How long should you water new sod each day?

In general, new sod should be watered for at least 10-20 minutes per day. You may want to increase watering frequency during periods of prolonged drought or decrease following heavy rainfall.

How do you water new sod in hot weather?

If your sod was laid recently and the weather is very hot, the sod will need to be watered frequently. You should water your new lawn every day for the first two weeks and then cut back to twice a week thereafter.

Can dogs walk on new sod?

New sod can be easily damaged, but the weight of most dogs won’t cause a problem for the new sod. However, too many dogs walking on the area can cause damage. Excessive foot traffic (human or pets) should be avoided for one week to allow the sod to establish itself with healthy roots that will support it and withstand future stresses.

Final Thoughts on When to Mow New Sod

People are often confused about when to mow their new sod, and how long it should take for the lawn to grow. So these are all our tips to keep in mind when mowing your newly sodded lawns, and it will result in better and faster growth of your grass. Applying sod can be a bit intimidating because it’s a significant investment and you want to be sure that the grass survives and becomes healthy lawn that you want.

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