Sod is used to make lawns, both for new and older homes. It is farmed especially to create a perfectly manicured space, without weeds. Maintaining that can be tricky.
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How Is Sod Made?
Sod is usually grown on farms. Experts choose high-quality grass seed blends and/or use hybrids. The seeds are planted in fields, where it is cultivated, fertilized, watered and mowed as needed. The time it takes to harvest depends largely on where the farm is located. Some farms can produce a yield in ten months. Others take up to two years.
It is cut within twenty-four hours before it is to be laid. For this reason, most sod is locally grown. It would be hard to get New York grass sod to Los Angeles in that time frame. It is cut into strips, rolled up and transported by truck to its new location. Below, you can find the basic steps to fertilize new sod.
Necessary Steps You Need To Do When Fertilizing New Sod
The first step before laying sod is to prepare the ground it’s going to be laid on. The best plan is to remove all of the plants, with roots, on the footage. If there are rocks or other debris, that also has to go. The land is tilled and raked, and then the first round of fertilizer is put on it. This is then tilled into the ground and it is raked.
There are other methods of preparing the ground, although that is the preferred method. Sod can be placed over grass and/or other plants. The problem is that the established plants will most likely come up through the sod, requiring a great deal of weeding. If that is the chosen method, do not fertilize.
Another method, which again doesn’t require fertilizer, is using a ground cover. This is a special, biodegradable mesh that will prevent the plants underneath from affecting the sod. In some situations, it may be better than the first method. That would include small plots of land in large towns or cities that don’t have access to a tiller.
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After the sod has been laid, it is time to water it. The sod installer or provider will tell you how much to do on the first day, but most of them will say that the water should penetrate from six to eight inches. An easier way to figure that out is to water it until the soil can’t hold more and it’s running out into the street or onto the driveway.
On the second day, reduce this amount by one inch. Continue to reduce until you hit the appropriate amount of water and the right number of days. If you live in an area with water restrictions, make sure that you can do this before purchasing the sod.
The best method to know when to fertilize the new sod is by soil testing. Sod requires specific nutrients that may not be found in all soils. It also depletes these nutrients in the soil, which is why it needs fertilizer. Soil tests will show how much nitrogen and other chemicals are in the soil and which need to be replenished.
If soil testing is out of the budget, there is a general rule of thumb. Six weeks after the installation, most sod could use some fertilizer. Without soil testing, the best fertilizer is a slow-release granular formula called 10-10-10 which you can find in this link. This fertilizer for sod provides nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to the ground, all of which sod needs to perform well.
While this answers the question about when to fertilize new sod, there are other considerations. The answer to these will vary by what planting zone the sod is going to be put in.
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Watering New Sod
To begin watering new sod, apply at least one inch of water to make the turf below the soil very wet. During the dry season, move the sprinklers to other areas that have no water.
Every day, you need to make sure that the soil is wet. This is important since sod requires a wet environment especially when it is new. Repeat this step for about two weeks until the turf is rooted. You must also learn to notice the sign of dry turf. When it’s dry, you’ll notice the leaves will start to curl. In case this happens, start watering your sod immediately.
Most edges or corners can be missed by sprinklers, so this part is susceptible to drying out faster compared to the center part of the lawn. Some areas near the buildings will also dry out faster so make sure to check it.
The best time for watering new sod is early in the morning. This way, you can take advantage of the daily growing cycle of the grass and lessen the evaporation of water.
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Sod Water Maintenance
In some parts of the world, water isn’t a concern with planting sod, at least not in the amount needed to keep it growing. Participation happens in feet rather than inches. In other areas, it is a big concern. Arid and semi-arid locations may require a sprinkler system to be put in before the sod arrives.
Sprinkler systems can be complicated or simple. For a small lawn, the home or business owner could most likely put it in without the help of an expert. Large or places with multiple lawns may need a professional. They will map out zones and set up controllers so that the sod will be watered regularly without the owner having to remember to do it.
Other areas that tend to get plenty of rain may still require some maintenance watering. Sod doesn’t do well without regular water. A week without rain is one where an oscillating sprinkler attached to a garden hose would come in handy.
Some places tend to get too much water or get it too fast. While they may require water in some parts of the year, they also need a good drainage system. French drains are considered ideal if the property has or can develop the necessary slope.
When To Install The Sod
In temperate zones, there is a definite time to plant sod and a time not to do so. It is best to do so when it is relatively cool, which would mean spring or fall. If it’s springtime, it should be after the last frost. In the fall it is best if it’s six weeks before the winter.
In milder climates, where freezes and frosts are unlikely, sod can be laid at any point in time. It’s best to avoid extremely hot weather and if there is a rainy season that may be the best time to lay it. On the other hand, in desert and semi-arid places, the rainy season is the best time to plant. Unless they are prone to freezes during that time frame.
Fertilizing Sod will make it healthy which produce a very nice looking lawns, but it does require some upfront work and expense. It will also continue to need an effort to stay pleasant. Seeds from other plants can be blown onto it by the wind or carried by animals. These plants will enjoy the fertilizer and water as much as the sod and will have to be removed regularly.