Caring for your NEW Native and Drought Tolerant Non Native sods
Thank You for selecting the wisest and most environmentally sound choice for your landscapes. By installing one of these California Native or drought tolerant non native sods you have taken a huge step toward restoring the “Natural Order of Things” in our Southern California environment. Your neighbors ought to be THANKING YOU !!
New sod is perishable and must be installed immediately after delivery to ensure that you have a successful and healthy lawn. A light watering of the area where your sod is going in is recommended prior to installation because completely dry ground acts like a sponge and will suck wetness out of your new sod tiles further drying them after transport. Also the cooling provided by this fresh ground watering will prevent the outermost roots in your sod tiles from experiencing “Heat Shock”
FIRST 2 – 3 Weeks :
Stay off of your new sod until after it’s first mowing or for 3-4 weeks if unmowed.
Proper watering of new sod is ESSENTIAL for quick and healthy root establishment. The day of installation enough water should be applied to fully penetrate the sod tiles and down 2 inches into your soils. This may require several short waterings spaced a bit.
From day 2 and going forward try and keep your sod moist throughout the day. Your new sod roots are very short so they do not need large amounts of water at any single watering to fully moisten the plants. You do not want the ground beneath your new sod to ever appear mushy or soggy. Usually watering 3-4 times per 24 hours for 5-8 minutes per watering is fine until your new roots begin establishing and drilling down into your soils. This advanced rooting usually begins after about 14 days from initial install.
Too much water on new sod can actually deprive the sod’s roots of oxygen and can lead to disease and even root rot. The length of watering time that YOUR new sod requires varies by your soils type and location as well as the type of watering system you are using. A heavy clay type of soil may need 3-4 waterings per day with 5-8 minutes per watering whereas a sandy loam type of soils might be best served by more frequent watering of 7-10 minutes 4-5 times a day. The trick is to watch for any standing water on your new sod. Even just a few minutes of standing water is an indication that your soils are not accepting the watering levels that you are providing so shorten the watering lengths and maybe add one more watering cycles per day to keep your new sod moist.
Prior to your first mowing go to just once or twice a day watering for a few days so that your soils firm up under the sod which prevents mower wheel lines from denting your new sod and creating permanent lines across it. Wait at least 21 days from planting for your first mowing and for Summer sod plantings push that out to 30 days because of the slower rooting establishment associated with planting during the grasses’ annual dormancy period. Never mow more than 1/3 of the grasses overall length off of your sod at any one mowing. Always do an increased watering for a few days after each mow.
3 weeks and on
Gradually reduce your watering frequencies by first dropping the number of daily waterings until you are down to just once a day but once you are to that point your sod roots are deeply established and so your watering time for that cycle should go to 10 – 12 minutes to get a really deep soak of water down to even your deepest roots.
Generally speaking for the months from mid May through end of September (Summer Watering) you will want to maintain this daily watering schedule. We say from Labor Day to Tax Day you will be able to greatly reduce your watering frequency down to a few times a week or less. Fall, Winter and early Spring is when these California Native grasses really shine and are at their happiest. They are fine with reduced watering through the Summer months but you will then see reduced production of chlorophyll (what WE see as green) in the plants and so to keep things green and growing year round you should follow the Summer watering we noted earlier.
IF YOU fertilize here are 3 Dates to remember for fertilizing :
Thanksgiving weekend or 2 weeks before or after it you can do an application of BEST SUPER TURF 25 – 5 – 5 at a rate of 8 lbs. per 1,000 sq.ft.
Valentines Day is a good time for an application of TURF ROYALE 21 – 7 – 14
or similar product at an application rate of 5 lbs. per 1,000 sq.ft.
Labor Day is time to reinvigorate your Native Sods after their traditional Summer Dormancy so BEST SUPER TURF 25 – 5 – 5 at an application rate of 8 lbs. per 1,000 sq.ft.
By adopting this program you will help your grasses to be at optimal health and fully stimulated to discourage weed invasion and to ward of turf diseases all year round.