The best part of installing sod on your home lawn is being able to step back and look at it once the project is finished. You can see that all of the hard work, money, and dedication you or a team of professionals completed really pays off. After all, a gorgeous lawn can make your home really stand out. The next thought that often occurs to homeowners after a sod installation is, “what are the next steps in caring for my newly installed lawn?”. Post-installation care usually consists of when and how much to water a new lawn, when you can begin mowing it, and when to fertilize the new sod to help it establish and grow. You can read more about overall care after installation in How to Get Your Newly Sodded Lawn Off to a Healthy Start. This particular Sod University blog talks about using the Lawnifi® New Lawn Starter Box fertilizer schedule for your newly installed lawn as well as when it is time to transition to a normal fertilizer schedule.
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When can I fertilize my new sod?
As noted in our our Establishing a Newly Installed Lawn guide, you can begin applying the right kind of fertilizer for your newly installed lawn on the day of installation. Applying a fertilizer that is heavy in nitrogen content will not feed your lawn the nutrients it needs as it is trying to establish. Typically, fertilizers made up of a lot of phosphorus and some potassium and carbon are your best bet. If you follow the New Lawn Starter Box schedule, you can begin applying fertilizer on the first day of installation. The New Lawn Starter Box is a starter fertilizer for new sod that consists of three individual bottles of liquid fertilizer designed to help your newly sodded, seeded or plugged lawn establish.
New Lawn Starter Box Application Schedule
After installation, begin by applying the first bottle, Grow, at 1/2 rate. Grow serves to promote healthy root growth of newly installed grass by providing nutrients like phosphorus, potassium and carbon. The soil should be moist three to four inches deep. Overwatering for an extended period of time, however, will severely damage the turf, inducing disease and rotting roots. During one of the waterings between day 2 and day 5, apply the remainder of the first application of Lawnifi Grow.
Make a second application of Grow two weeks after the initial application. A second application of Grow will accelerate root growth so that the newly installed lawn tacks down properly. The Grow formula provides essential nutrients to the plants in a form that is readily available for healthy lawn establishment.
Apply Maintain four weeks after installation. Maintain will enhance the color of your new lawn by providing iron and nitrogen. Maintain also contributes to healthy soil composition by delivering amino acids and microbes.
Why is new sod fertilizer different from regular sod fertilizer?
All plants including grass, trees, ornamentals or even crops need nutrients for growth and overall health. Although new sod and established sod are both grass, their needs differ. As previously mentioned, fertilizers that include more phosphorus content are your best option.
In a newly establishing lawn, phosphorus serves to help with root growth so that your sod connects with the soil underneath it and deepens, causing the sod to stick to the ground. Potassium affects drought tolerance, cold hardiness and disease resistance. An appropriate amount of carbon will help with the overall health of your soil, which creates a successful environment for your grass to grow in. Read more about the importance carbon plays in your lawn in Why is Carbon Important to Your Lawn?. Nitrogen and iron are responsible for keeping your grass green, which can be useful—but your newly installed lawn needs more than just nitrogen and iron right now. It needs to get established to its new environment. Nitrogen and iron are still included as nutrients in the New Lawn Starter Box, but they are located in the last bottle of the box, Maintain.
How do I read a fertilizer label to know if the right amount of nutrients are included?
Typically, you will want a fertilizer that is heavy in phosphorus content. You can tell which nutrients your fertilizer has by reading the three hyphenated numbers on the product label. For example, a fertilizer product label may read “8-0-24”, otherwise known as an N-P-K ratio. A fertilizer label with 8-0-24 written indicates that the fertilizer product contains eight parts nitrogen (N), zero parts phosphorus (P) and 24 parts potassium (K). Understanding this ratio enables you to determine the total number of pounds of each product ingredient in the bag. You can learn more about this in How to Read a Fertilizer Label.
Why should I use the Lawnifi New Lawn Starter Box instead?
The Lawnifi New Lawn Starter Box is the best fertilizer for new sod and contains the perfect amount of nutrients for your newly establishing lawn’s needs. Although nitrogen is an important macronutrient for plants, your new lawn needs to get established first before it can begin promoting new growth. The New Lawn Starter Box contains the perfect amount of phosphorus, potassium and carbon to get your lawn started with establishing. Nitrogen is included in the last bottle of the box, Maintain, to give your lawn a bit of a head start.
Lawnifi in general is made up of carbon-based fertilizers that are efficient, effective and easy to use. Lawnifi is powered by Catalyst TechnologyTM, which nano-sizes the nutrients to make them more efficient. Nano-sizing them makes the nutrients readily available for the plant to absorb through its roots and leaves.
A granular fertilizer product sits in the soil and waits for water and microbes to break the nutrients down before they can eventually be taken in by the plant. Lawnifi’s nano-sized nutrients are absorbed more efficiently through the roots and leaves, reducing the amount of product that needs to be used. Less money is spent on granular product for the same results, making Lawnifi earth-friendly as well. Lawnifi uses 80 percent less nitrogen and encourages healthy soils and microbial populations through humates, carbon and the micronutrients plants need to thrive. You can learn more in Granular vs. Liquid Fertilizers.
When can I begin transitioning my lawn to a regular fertilizer schedule?
You can generally transition from an establishment fertilizer schedule to a regular fertilizer schedule after the first 30 days of establishment are up. The same can be said if you follow the New Lawn Starter Box schedule above. Depending on the season you install your grass, you may be transitioning to the beginning of spring with the Spring Fertilizer Box. If you installed your sod in the summer, you may need to transition to the Fall Fertilizer Box. Seasonal boxes differ as temperatures and soil conditions change throughout the year—your lawn needs certain nutrients at different times. For example, the Fall Fertilizer Box serves to help your lawn recover from the heat of summer and prepare for winter dormancy.
Lawnifi has made it easy to purchase an entire subscription for all three seasonal Lawnifi boxes that you can make annual or monthly payments on. This is actually cheaper than purchasing each seasonal box individually. For those who prefer traditional granular fertilizer applications, check out Lawnifi Foundation, a granular fertilizer that can be used throughout the different seasons all year long. Be sure to also refer to our Homeowner Maintenance Guides for bermudagrass, bluegrass, centipede grass, fescue, St. Augustine and zoysia after the first 30 days are up. Each of the guides lay out maintenance tips for spring, summer and fall.