Sod Care and Maintenance
Updated: Aug 4
Whether you call it turf maintenance or sod maintenance, it’s a necessary habit to keep your lawn tidy in Arizona.
What is the Difference Between Turf and Sod?
Turf generally refers to a larger area or patch of grass, whereas sod describes a small roll of grass that can be applied to a plot of land.
Both have the ability to be ingrained into a lawn because they come with a surface layer of soil and matted roots. These roots grow into, and become a part of, the lawn with proper care and maintenance.
This is what we call turfgrass sod at Ground Zero.
Sod Maintenance Tips
Caring for sod takes effort and patience, especially in a dry climate like Arizona.
After Ground Zero has installed your sod, you should follow these tips to ensure a healthy, vigorous lawn:
After the sod installation, your lawn hardly has any root system. For the first week or two, you should water the lawn several times per day, preferably when the temperature and sun intensities are the highest. About 1/8” of water is sufficient each time you water, and you should water 3-5 times a day depending on the sod.
If your lawn is puddling in certain areas, pitchfork it slightly to get the water down to the root of the soil.
#3. Roots Established
After 7 to 10 days, you should check the roots by slightly grabbing the sod and lifting it up. If the sod remains stuck to the ground, it has knit to the soil and your roots are established. If not, wait a few more days or call a professional like us to swing by and check it out.
#4. Decrease Irrigation
When the sod is knit, decrease your watering to 1/4” once per day. You should water it in the early morning hours to prevent evaporation.
#5. Skip Watering
After 5 days of watering your sod 1/4” of water per day, skip every other day between watering. Apply 3/8” of water once every other day.
After a few days, depending on the weather and the soil, skip two full days between irrigation. Apply 4/10” of water every third day during the warmer season.
After the sod has been completely knitted, it’s safe to mow your lawn.
Use our recommendations below to properly mow your sod in Arizona.
Mowing New Sod
It’s recommended to mow your new sod 1 week after it’s been established/knitted.
This point is typically 3 weeks after the initial sod installation.
The ground should be firm enough to mow without leaving marks from your lawn mower.
Your first mowing should not remove more than 1/3 of the leaf and your mower blade must be sharp.
Your sod will pull and not cut if your mower blade isn’t sharp, leaving yellow patches all over your new lawn.
If your sod isn’t new, the frequency of mowing depends on how fast your grass is growing.
A Tifgreen sod lawn moved below 1/2” may have to be mowed every 2 to 3 days.
A Midiron hybrid Bermuda sod lawn moved at 2” may only have to be mowed every 7 to 10 days.
Whether your sod is new or not, the rule of thumb for mowing sod is always: Never remove more than 1/3 of the leaf!
Mowing Less Frequently: Keep your mowing height up and your fertility down to produce a lawn that grows slower/requires less maintenance.
Mowing More Frequently: Keep your mowing height low and fertilize frequently to produce a highly manicured looking lawn.
Electric or Gas Reel Mowers: Ideal for any type of grass. These mowers typically have 7 or 10 blades and are used to mow grass lower than 3/4". While these mowers are pricier and require more maintenance, they give you the best quality cut and have the ability to cut as low as 1/4”.
Rotary Push Mowers: Push mowers are commonly used for lawns between 3/4” and 3”, but they cannot go below 3/4”. These mowers are inexpensive and fast; however, they will not produce a low, quality cut like the latter. Rotary mowers are ideal for these sod types: Midiron, Paspalum, St. Augustine, and Celebration Bermudagrass.
Whether you need a landscaping professional to install or maintain your turfgrass sod, Ground Zero can help you grow the most vigorous lawn in the neighborhood.
Contact us on our website for any questions on sod care and maintenance.