When to Mow New Sod (For the First Time)

Mowing helps the grass to grow vigorously, strong and dense. New lawns need adequate time to establish their roots before they can be mowed for the first time. So, when is the best time to mow new sod?

A new sod may be ready for mowing within 3 to 4 weeks of installation. The roots must be firmly established in the soil before mowing to avoid tearing out or destabilizing the new turf.

When to Mow New Sod – Guide

A new sod typically roots in 10 and 14 days. The first mowing should be approximately 14 days after the sod installation. At this stage, your new sod will be deeply rooted, and grass won’t easily get stressed.

Do not just run your lawn mower at the sight of green sod. You have to ensure that your turf is firmly rooted in the ground. You can check this by pulling gently in one corner of the sod. The grass also has to be tall enough for mowing.

When mowing a new sod for the first time, you must sharpen your lawn mower blades. Blunt blades can tear up and damage the young, tender grass. Set the blade to the recommended cutting height for your turf grass.

Here is the recommended mowing height for warm and cool-season grasses:

Warm season grasses mowing height chart

Turf GrassMowing Height (Inches)
Bermuda grass1 “ – 2.5 “
St. Augustine grass2.5” – 4”
Centipede grass1” – 1.5”
Buffalo grass2” – 3”
Zoysiagrass1” – 2.5”
Bahiagrass3” – 4”
Seashore Paspalum1” – 2”

Cool season grasses mowing height chart

Turf GrassMowing Height (Inches)
Kentucky Bluegrass2” – 3”
Perennial Ryegrass2” – 3”
Tall Fescue3” – 4”
Fine Fescue2” – 3”

Ensure that your grass is fairly dry before mowing. Cutting wet grass is harmful to your lawn and the mowing equipment as well. When to grass is wet, the ground becomes softer, and the sliding mower tires can tear out the young grass.

Once done mowing, you don’t have to water immediately if your lawn is already sufficiently watered; you can do it after a day or two. But if you walk across your lawn and your footprints stay on the grass, this signifies that your lawn needs water.

Care and Maintenance Tips for New Sod

Sodding is the quickest way of starting a new lawn. However, the end results will typically depend on how you have cared for your newly installed grass. The tips can be helpful in the maintenance of new sod.

1. Keep off the lawn

Once the installation of the sod is done, you have to keep everyone off the site, including kids and pets. Any foot traffic will easily damage the grass before it establishes. You may allow some traffic a week after the first mowing.

2. Appropriate watering

On the first installation day, thoroughly water the new sod until water penetrates the sod to two inches of the topsoil. From the second day onwards, simply water to sustain the soil moisture. Do not overwater to make your lawn soggy, as this will cut the air supply to the delicate roots.

Ideally, water the sod 4 to 6 six times during the day, for approximately 5 to 6 minutes each, until the roots are established. This watering schedule may be adjusted depending on the soil type as long as no water is left standing under the sod for more than 5 minutes after the irrigation is stopped.

Further, avoid watering new sod late in the evening after 6 pm. Irrigating your lawn this time will invite fungi problems. Watering cycles should be reduced as you approach your first mowing. This will firm up the soil and make your lawn ready for mowing.

After three weeks, or when you have done your first mowing, you should reduce the number of times you water your lawn. By now, the roots are established, and cutting back on watering helps them to stretch deeper into the soil.

When you hit the 5th week, you should only water once daily. In the 6th week, the grassroots will be fully established and deeper into the soil. By this time, watering can be done once every other day. Thereafter, grass can survive on the little water available, and you will water twice a week unless there is drought or hot summer.

3. Proper fertilizing

A starter fertilizer with adequate phosphorus is important before sod installation. This may depend on your soil test results. A slow-release fertilizer after 5 to 6 weeks will further boost the growth of the grass.

Incorrect fertilizer use can lead to the burning of the young grass or pollution of the environment. Be sure to read and follow label instructions before use.

4. Weed/pest control

Weeds can be controlled as soon as the new sod has established roots. This can be anywhere from the 4th week. Always use weed control products formulated for your grass type. Apply as directed. After your lawn has endured four to five mowings, you can confidently apply pest control treatment as needed.

Final Thought

Mowing is essential for the growth and establishment of a lawn. Cutting grass increases its density and tolerance to elements. Mow your new sod when the grass has been established, and there are no dangers of damaging it. Additionally, fertilize, water appropriately, and control weeds and pests.


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