Lawn Care: When To Mow New Sod?
Starting the new lawn by laying slabs or rolls of grass sod can shorten the time between enjoying a new, lush, green lawn.
However, a newly established lawn needs plenty of care, including mowing, which raises the old question of how long to wait before mowing new sod?
Published: March 15, 2023.
|Quick Answer: After laying new sods, regardless if they are slabs or rolls, one should wait until the grass starts growing new roots in the soil, which is usually 14-15 days after sod installation. And now, a little bit longer answer ...|
How Long To Wait Before Moving New Sod?
Before mowing the lawn started by laying slabs or rolls of grass sods for the first time, it is important to wait until the sod has rooted.
This typically takes about 2-3 weeks after installation, but it's important to check the rooting progress by gently pulling up a corner of the sod to see if it is firmly attached to the soil.
Once the sod has rooted, it's safe to mow it for the first time. If there are almost no new roots, one should wait for a few more days and check again.
In ideal conditions, one can expect grass to start rooting even within the first 7-10 days, but just to be sure, wait a few more days.
Note: don't let new grass overgrow - moving the grass early promotes lateral growth, which will fill the gaps between grass slabs or rolls. These gaps are always there when starting the lawn with sods, regardless of how carefully the sods are laid down.
Care of Newly Laid Grass Sods
After laying down new sods on well-prepared turf, it is very important to water the grass frequently - the soil should be moist, promoting new growth. But, be sure not to overwater the sods since grasses generally don't like soggy soil.
Fertilizing the newly laid sods before the first mowing is not that important since the soil already has plenty of nutrients - it was properly prepared, right?
However, to promote new growth, a liquid, well-diluted grass fertilizer can be used to refeed the sods - after all, they don't yet have new roots that would absorb the nutrients from the soil beneath the sods.
Heavy traffic over new sods should be prevented since people walking, animals playing, and similar activities can be harmful to new grass.
New Sod Mowing Height Chart
When mowing the new sod for the first time, it's important to set the blade height high to avoid cutting too much of the grass blade at once.
A good rule of thumb is to set the blade height so that only the top quarter (top third being the maximum recommended, but should be avoided for new sods) of the grass blade is cut.
After the first mow, gradually lower the blade height with each subsequent mowing until you reach the desired height for your lawn.
How high the first mowing will depend on the weather conditions, season, sod grass height, grass type, and similar.
The following chart lists some of the recommended mowing heights for new grass sods:
|Grass Type||Sod Mowing Height|
|Bahia||2.5-4 inches (~6.4-10.2 cm)|
|Bermuda||0.5-2.5 inches (~1.3-6.4 cm)|
|Centipede||1-2.5 inches (~2.5-6.4 cm)|
|Fine & Tall Fescue||1.5-4 inches (3.8-10.2 cm)|
|Kentucky Bluegrass||1.5-2.5 inches (3.8-6.4 cm)|
|Ryegrass||0.75-2.5 inches (~1.9-6.4 cm)|
|St. Augustine||1.5-2 inches (~3.8-5 cm)|
|Zoysia||0.5-3 inches (~1.3-7.6 cm)|
Personally, for the first cut, be sure to use a very sharp blade that will cause the least stress to the new grass and to cut roughly at 3/4 of the current grass height, removing "just" a quarter.
Note: regardless if you started your lawn from seeds or sods or you have already established lawn, never remove more than 1/3 of the grass height.
Feel free to cut one quarter of the grass height with any subsequent mowing (every 7-10 days) until the grass sods are fully established.
Keep the soil moist and rich in nutrients, but as the roots grow, water less frequently.