Now that you have successfully installed and watered your new lawn, the next step is to take good care of it while it grows and becomes established to your yard. Proper maintenance during the first month is crucial to successful sod establishment. It is also proper to note that for the first two to three weeks after install, try to keep traffic to a minimum to give the roots an opportunity to firmly knit with the soil and ensure that it will remain smooth and level.
Day 1: Installation
This step takes place on the day of installation. As mentioned in our step-by-step How to Properly Install Sod guide, it is essential that turf is watered thoroughly. Soak upon installation as water is needed to keep your grass from drying out. The soil should be moist three to four inches deep. You can use the first bottle LawnifiTM Grow from your New Lawn Starter Box at ½ rate on your already installed turf. Overwatering for an extended period of time, however, will severely damage the turf, inducing disease and rotting roots. Learn more in When to Fertilize Newly Installed Sod and When to Water Newly Installed Sod.
Days 2–5: Water
Water thoroughly morning and late afternoon. During one of the waterings between day 2 and day 5, apply the remainder of the 1st application of Lawnifi Grow from your New Lawn Starter Box. Make sure you are watering enough to get down into the roots and soil. Most individual sod pieces will dry out along exposed edges or edges that are not tightly placed together.
Days 6–9: Water and Spot Check
You should continue watering your sod throughout this time frame. However, after watering during days 2–5, you should be able to check for any dry spots that aren’t receiving water. The perimeter of the lawn and the seams between sod pieces are the most likely areas to dry out. Hand water these areas thoroughly. Continue to soak twice a day; once in the morning and once in the late afternoon. Take rainfall into account and avoid standing water. The goal is to keep soil moist—not saturated. On day 9 after watering, pull up a portion of the sod and see if you can find fresh white roots beginning to attach to your soil.
Days 10–12: Fertilize, Root Check and Reduce Watering
Starting on day 10, you can now reduce watering to once per day. Continue to spot-check the perimeter and seams for dry spots. Pull up a corner of a few pieces. Fresh white roots should beginning to stick out. Apply the second bottle of Lawnifi Grow at a full rate. Be sure to look for signs of lawn disease such as irregular circular patterns of disease or fungus, which can result from overwatering. It will look like rotted pieces. If this is present, apply a systemic fungicide like Heritage G.
Days 13–15: Mowing and Further Reduce Watering
This will be the first mow on your newly sodded lawn. Prolific little white roots should be coming out now, and you will have some difficulty pulling up individual pieces of sod. Mow at the highest setting and only cut off the very tops of the leaf blades. Continue to keep the soil moist, reducing watering to once every other day. To read more, visit out blog on When to Mow Newly Installed Sod.
Days 16–20: Last Fertilizer Application
Continue monitoring for dry spots. Begin transitioning to one inch of water per week total. Take rainfall into consideration. Apply the last bottle in your Lawnifi New Lawn Starter Box, Maintain. Maintain was formulated to enhance overall turfgrass growth and hardiness. This bottle of Maintain will provide your lawn with all the nutrition it will need for the next 30 days.
Days 20–30: Home Stretch and Regular Mowing
Continue watering at one inch per week total. Take rainfall into consideration. Provide a good long soak in the early morning and begin mowing regularly. Cut at the higher end of the recommended height for your grass type to encourage root growth. Avoid scalping. We have downloadable Homeowner Maintenance Guides that specify recommended heights for bermudagrass, bluegrass, centipede, St. Augustine and zoysia. We also have these same guides for brand specific grass varieties such as EMPIRE Zoysia®️ or Palmetto®️ St. Augustine under the Maintenance section of our website.
Days 30+: Transition to Regular Care
After your lawn has properly established itself, the next step is to perform proper maintenance practices to ensure long term success of your lawn. Check out our maintenance fundamentals on the Maintenance page. We also offer seasonal maintenance videos for each grass type and grass-specific maintenance guides on this page. Lastly, be sure to subscribe to our Sod University weekly newsletter for expert insights on all things lawn care.