Sod Care Instructions

Everybody wants to have a beautiful lawn. It is nice to be able to play with your children and pets on a lush green lawn. But we all know that it can be difficult if you do not fully understand all of the variables.

CUSTOMER CARE SHEET FOR SODS

WATERING When sod is first installed keep it moist with daily watering until it is well knitted down. In the summer growing season for warm season grasses this may take up to two weeks. The best time to water is in the morning from 5 AM To 10 AM. A 10 minute “cool down” watering  maybe needed on a hot mid-afternoon summer day in order to keep the sod slab or roll moist. After knitting down has occurred reduce the frequency of watering which will promote a deeper root system. Schedule your watering every other day, and than to every third day allowing your lawn to dry out totally. Once your sodded lawn is well established (after 4-5 mowings) continue to “push” your sod roots to search for water by further reducing the frequency of watering. Look for blue grey blotches and than water the next morning with a deep cycle of watering of approximately 40 minutes and turn off the irrigation system.

MOWING A general rule for mowing is to never take off more than one third of the grass blade with any one mowing. More frequent mowing will stimulate root growth, thus developing a thicker, healthier lawn. Mow your newly installed sod as soon as it needs mowing – even if it is only one week after installation. Keep your mower blades sharp to avoid tearing or ripping the top of the grass blade. A torn grass blade is more susceptible to insect and disease problems.

With the stress of shady conditions, increase the height of the cut.

*Centipede: 1” to 1.5” mowing height  @ 7 to 10 day intervals

*St. Augustine:  2.5” to 3.5’ mowing height @ 5 to 7 day intervals

*Zoysias:  1” to 1.5” mowing height  @ 5 to 7 day intervals

*Bermudas:  1” to 1.5” mowing height @ 4 to 5 day intervals

FERTILIZATION It is a good idea to get a free soil analysis from the NC Extension Service to determine the nutrient levels of your soils and the pH.

Selecting the right fertilizer with the right NPK analyses for your particular sod variety is very important. In general you want to be spoon feeding your sod with a slow release Nitrogen and with a fertilizer that contains Iron for greening.  It is a good idea to rotary spread and rake into the soil a “Starter” Fertilizer like a 5:5:15 or a 5:10:15  before installing your sod for all warm season grasses.

After the sod is established (5 mowings) refer to the table below. Excessive Nitrogen applied during the hot summer months is risky, as it may promote disease which damages your turf, and then the stage is set for winter injury or kill. Apply the heaviest application of fertilizer (5#N per 1,000 sq.ft.) in the spring (April) and only spoon feed lightly every 30 to 60 days (2#N per 1,000 sq.ft.) After August the nutrient that may be used to help stop winter injury is a fall application of Potassium (0:0:32 or 0:0:60)

*Centipede:   5:10:15 April and May are best.

Excessive Nitrogen will hurt Centipede  and cause your centipede to decline and weaken. This enables weeds to prosper and makes it susceptible to diseases and winter injury. The true color of Centipede is Apple Green.

Iron is best for greening with Centipede.

*St. Augustine:  16:4:8 April; June or July 5:10:15 depending upon desired color;

*Zoysias: same application as the St. Augustine

*Bermudas 16:4:8 or a 29:2:5. An April application (10#/1,000 sq.ft) than spoon feed as needed through mid August. Bermudas use a lot of Nitrogen.

 Always opt for the lower Nitrogen.                                                                                   

DISEASE CONTROL Diseases are a problem with all the warm season grasses during the summer when the conditions are favorable for their development. These conditions are high humidity, night time temperatures in excess of 70 degrees, excessive night time moisture (thunderstorms or evening irrigation practices), a high thatch content, and too much Nitrogen. Brown Patch is a fungus-type disease that is prevalent in Southeast, NC during the summer and early fall months. The use of Fungicides (DaConil 2787 or Bayleton) will control this disease if caught in the early stages. Watch for small brown patches two to three inches in diameter, and treat before they expand and seriously damage the grass.  Grass that has been weakened or damaged during the growing season is susceptible to winter injury.

INSECT CONTROL There are numerous insects that thrive in this area and can cause serious damage to your turf. Some of the frequently encountered insects are Mole Crickets, Chinch Bugs, Spittle Bugs, Ground Pearls, Fall Army Worms, Cutworms, Sod Web Worms, and Leaf Hoppers. Insect damage can first be seen with a general weakening in appearance of the grass and irregular yellowing. If insects are suspected, the specie needs to be identified. Insecticides available to the public are Diazinon, Sevin and Merit.  Multiple applications of Telstar has been shown to have a positive control effect on Mole Crickets. Treat your lawn area following labeled instructions as soon as possible.

WEED CONTROL A healthy turf is the best defense against the infestation of weeds. Weeds will compete with newly installed sod by coming up through the seams and weak areas. Mowing reduces most of this problem giving the sod time to knit down and “heal”.  It is risky to apply herbicides for two months after installing sod. The weed needs to be identified in order to select the appropriate herbicide. Trimec is labeled for use on all warm season grasses for the control of broadleaf-type weeds. Image and Manage is used for Nutsedge.

The following is for Crabgrass control:

*Centipede  - Vantage

*St. Augustine – Asulox

*Zoysias – MSMA or Acclaim

*Bermudas – MSMA

HIRE THE BEST IN LAWN CARE FOR YOUR NEW SOD  

INTRODUCTION BY DON CURTIS

At Superior Sod we would like to introduce to you a licensed and very experienced man who can truly help you with the total care of your lawn – whether it is newly established or has been with you for many years. This individual has 17 years behind him. His name is Darrell Kline who owns “Intracoastal Turf Professionals” and his office phone number is (910) 338-0331.

Darrell’s technique is very detailed oriented with a lot of monitoring to determine what products are needed or to consider for each application  With Darrell there is no set recipe of products to apply, The soil on your site is critical to understand. It is usually the soil and it’s deficiencies, it’s characteristics, it’s temperature and contents, that are significant to the overall health and appearance of your lawn. Along with understanding of your soil, and just as important, are the exterior factors such as air temperature, insects, moisture frequency and timing, and the many mowing considerations. All of these characteristics are integral where the grasses will show the symptoms of whatever it’s environment is providing – both good and bad.  The most common mistake I see is when a homeowner or a Lawn treatment  Company has not done any analysis for each particular lawn, and than a standard recipe must be followed. By understanding all issues of your soil and lawn, the opportunity is there to treat your lawn properly in hopes of preventing any ugly symptoms from ever appearing. Eventually, fewer symptoms will be seen, thus, future treatments may be decreased or minimized, costing you less money.

A LETTER FROM DARRELL KLEIN OF INTRACOASTAL TURF PROFESSIONALS

Putting in a new lawn is an investment in your home. It can increase the value of your home and provide instant curb appeal. Good lawn care includes fertilization, weed and insect control. Professional lawn care companies can help you maintain your new lawn’s natural beauty and vigor. Plus, a well-tended lawn increases your property value significantly.

The first few weeks after installing sod are critical to proper establishment. Each species of grass has its own care and feeding requirements. A professional know this and can develop an individualized plan to care for your lawn. Having a professional lawn care service is key to having a worry free lawn. Failing to know when and how to mow, fertilize and water your new lawn can negate all of your hard work. Hiring a professional to care for your new turfgrass gives you expert eyes who can monitor your lawn for potential issues and give you advice on mowing heights and watering. A professional can use their years of experience to benefit you as they are on your property every 6-8 weeks monitoring the progress of your new turf and applying fertilizers and weed controls as appropriate.

There are many things that you as a homeowner can do to ensure the success of your new lawn. These include:

1)      Being ready for your sod delivery. Sod is a living organism and it can reach damaging temperatures if it is left stacked on the pallet on your property to wait while you finish preparing your site. The time on the pallet should be limited to no more than 24 hours whenever possible.

2)      Make sure it is installed carefully and correctly. Gaps between seams and pieces that are overlapping create issues. Gaps leave room for weeds to grow and generally take a very long time to fill in. Overlapping pieces will quite simply never take root appropriately.

3)      You must also pay attention to your new lawn. Sometimes irrigation systems and hose end sprinklers can miss certain areas and it may take a few days for the dryness to show. It will be important to act quickly to minimize any damage from inadequate watering. Do a walk around every couple of days so you can head off any trouble.

4)      Most importantly consult a professional for your fertilization needs. Let them use their years of experience and knowledge of turfgrass to help your lawn become the best it can be.

The most important thing that you as a homeowner can do to is follow the instructions you are given about watering. Water is crucial to the success of your new lawn.

If you do choose to fertilize your lawn yourself make sure that you read and follow all of the directions on the label and make sure that the product is appropriate for your particular type of grass.

You can reach our Intracoastal Turf Professionals at 910-338-0331. We would welcome the opportunity to assess your lawn and establish a plan to maintain your new turfgrass for many years to come.