Sod Care

Spring and Summer guidelines for sod care or new bermuda sod installed green.

KEEP IT GREEN: Upon installation, water immediately. For two weeks after, water 15 minutes twice every midday, and 20 minutes every evening. The grass is established when it can’t be pulled up from the ground. Then continue to water 20 minutes a day.

SETTLING HAPPENS: When new structures are built on idle land many ground disturbances must occur, such as burying of sewer, electric, and sprinkler lines. Ample sod watering provokes the land to settle around these disturbances. Lawn settling is not the fault of the builder, developer, or the sod installer; it is a common consequence of modern construction.

TOP DRESSING: The only way to regain a level yard after settling:

  1. Wait three weeks after the grass is established
  2. Buy some sand or light fill dirt
  3. Using a shovel, cast the sand into the depressed areas of the yard
  4. Use the back side of a rake to level the piles. The grass will spread across and grow through the sand within six to eight weeks, depending on the thickness of the sand.

FERTILIZING: Our sod is fertilized in the field every month of the growing season. Upon establishment, fertilization maintains grass health, produces deep green color, and promotes root depth. Use Scotts Southern Turfbuilder or an equivalent blend of “10-20-10” every month during the growing season. Water is critical during the post-fertilization time: Usually, 30 minutes a day for a week should produce a lush green lawn.

Fall and winter guidelines for sod care for new bermuda sod installed in dormancy (not green)

DORMANT, NOT INVINCIBLE: Sod is a perishable product even when installed in dormancy. It must be cared for properly to survive the cold winter months. For the first three months, all new dormant sod requires a deep watering at least two times per week. After this time period, water deeply one time per week until the grass begins to green up.

FREEZE WARNING: If a deep freeze (30 degrees or less) is forecasted, sod must be watered deeply prior to and wet at the time of the freeze. Some areas of the yard may die if proper moisture is lacking.

WEED OVERKILL: Do not spray dormant sod for weeds or pre-emerge. The tender root hairs trying to attach will not withstand herbicide. Wait until the grass is well rooted and growing strong to do any weed applications.

Guidelines for newly installed Justice Fescue sod

All new Fescue sod needs to be watered immediately during and after installation and set up to water 3 times per day (4 a.m., 12 p.m., and 4 p.m.), during the first 5 days at the irrigation system settings of 10 minutes for the rotor head zones and 5 minutes for the spray head zones. After this initial period back off the system to water 2 times per day (4 a.m. and 2 p.m.) at the same rates as above. If you don’t have an in-ground sprinkler system, consider purchasing a timer that goes on your hydrant. These can be programmed to water regularly, as without a regular watering schedule it is impossible to keep fescue sod alive for the long term.

You should fertilize with a 13-13-13 or equivalent once within a month after installation. Plan on overseeding and fertilizing each March and September to help thicken up the yard after the hot summer thins it out. Fescue yards have a tendency to go into a summer dormancy during the months of July and August, then begin to perk up towards the early fall. Fescue grass should be mowed higher than Bermuda, more like 2 1/2 inches in the sunny areas and 3 inches where heavy shade exists. Fescue grass in Oklahoma requires more maintenance that other mainstream sun-loving grasses.

Maintenance Schedule for Fescue Lawns

Fescue grass needs a regimented schedule of maintenance to become the showcase lawn that you desire. Together with proper mowing and watering, these measures will help your Fescue stay healthy and grow strong for years and years.

LATE WINTER AND INTO EARLY SPRING: Fertilize at the label rate with Scotts Turfbuiler (29-3-4) or equivalent. Also Over seed the yard with a fescue seed from Pennington Seed at the rate of 10# per 1,000 sq. ft. First you will need a broadcast spreader to spread the yard evenly two directions at half of the above rate. This will ensure even coverage. After you over-seed it would be a good idea to take a leaf rake and rake the seed into the grass to get proper soil to seed contact. After these activities, remember to water heavily 3 times per week for a month or so. This will allow for proper germination of the new seed and nutrient penetration to the root zones of your existing grass. After this initial month of watering, continue to water 3 times per week. Seed germination usually takes 20 days.

MID TO LATE SUMMER: Begin to mow your fescue at 3-4 inches to lessen the stresses of our Oklahoma heat. Never scalp or mow too short as this weakens the lawn and invites weeds. If severe drought and heat exist, avoid mowing altogether. Fescue has a tendency to go through a dormant phase during our hot summers so don’t get nervous, it will begin to perk up in the early fall. Refrain from fertilizing until September.

EARLY FALL: Now is the perfect time to consider fertilizing and over-seeding again at the same rate of 10# per 1,000 sq. ft. This will add thickness to your turf base after the summer has thinned it out.