Q. What should I do when installing new sod?
A: Install your lawn immediately upon delivery. Begin watering lawn within 30 minutes of installation. Turf is a living plant that requires ground contact and moisture to survive! In hot weather, protect unlaid turf by placing stacks in shade, covering with moist burlap sacking, and/or sprinkling. Begin installing turf along the longest straight line, such as a driveway or sidewalk. Butt and push edges and ends against each other tightly, without stretching. Avoid gaps or overlaps. Stagger the joints in each row in a brick-like fashion, using a large sharp knife to trim corners, etc. Avoid leaving small strips at outer edges as they will not retain moisture. On slopes, place the turf pieces across the slope. To avoid causing indentations or air pockets avoid repeated walking or kneeling on the turf while it is being installed or just after watering. After installing the turf, roll the entire area to improve turf/soil contact and remove air pockets.
Q. What is the correct mowing height for my lawn?
A: The rule of thumb is not to remove more than 1/3 of the blade at one time.
|Tall Fescue||2.0 inches|
Q. What type of fertilizer should I use?
A: We recommend getting a soil test to analyze the exact needs of your lawn. If a soil test is not completed, a balanced fertilizer such as a 10-10-10 or 13-13-13. Fertilizer application rates should be as low as possible and still produce a high quality turf.
Q. What is the best time of day to water my lawn?
A: The best time to water is early morning or early evening because there is usually less wind and heat. These times also allow for more absorption because there is less chance of evaporation.
Q. How can I measure my watering rate?
A: A good rule of thumb is give the soil as much or a little less than the absorption rate. (Please look to next question for absorption rate chart.). Most irrigation systems apply water too quickly to the soil to be absorbed. This causes run-off and water waste. The best way to check both of these functions is to set out a series of straight-side, flat-bottom cans for an in-ground system or a few cans for a movable sprinkler system. Run the watering system for 30 minutes and measure the amount of water collected. You can determine the length of time needed to apply one inch of water with a little simple math. Remember to always stop the irrigation system if you see run-off occuring.
Q. Does the type of soil I have make a difference when it comes to watering?
|Soil Type||Infiltration Inch Per Hour||Time For 1 Inch To Soak In|
|Sand||2.0 inches||0.5 hours|
|Sandy Loam||1.0 inches||1.0 hours|
|Loam||0.5 inches||2.0 hours|
|Silt Loam||0.4 inches||2.25 hours|
|Clay Loam||0.3 inches||3.3 hours|
|Clay||0.2 inches||5.0 hours|
Q. How much water do I need for fresh sod?
A: Water sod as you lay it. When you are finished installing, give it 2 to 3 cm. (approx. 1 inch). Water daily or more often depending on the turf’s needs until it is established, which will take about 2 to 3 weeks. After a few weeks, water it as an established lawn.
Q. How can I take care of my lawn during a drought?
- Reduce or eliminate nitrogen fertilizer because at this time of year it overly promotes leaf growth, at the cost of rooting activity. Plan fertilize in the fall when top growth slows-down and root growth increases.
- Avoid all weed killers (herbicides) because most can also lessen the vigor of grass roots, the last thing you want to do prior to or during a drought.
- Reduce thatch and compaction as early in the year as possible so that moisture and air can reach the roots as easily as possible. Thatch can act like a sponge, capturing water before it reaches roots while compaction will increase rapid run-off at the cost of deep saturation.
- Sharpen the mower blade several times during the turf-growing season because dull blades shred rather than cleanly cut grass and shredded turf can greatly increase water losses.
- Mow less or when it’s cooler because no matter how you cut it, grasses lose moisture after every mowing. Less plant moisture will be lost when mowing takes place at cooler times of the day.
- Mow as high as possible to promote deep rooting and maximize soil shading. Although studies have shown that taller grasses can use more water, there is a greater benefit to deep roots and reduced soil moisture loss from evaporation.
- Leave clippings, not clumps to add moisture, nutrients and a mulching effect; however, remove clumps because they will block the sun and heat up as they decay, killing the under-lying grass.
- Water Right… defend your right to use water to save your landscape by participating in public water hearings, while practicing proper watering techniques.
- Water late at night or early morning to take advantage of cooler temperatures and less evaporative losses to the afternoon winds and hot sun.
- Water infrequently and deeply to encourage roots to go deeper where moisture remains available for longer periods of time.
- Let the grass go dormant naturally by withholding water, except for a quarter-inch every four to six weeks to keep the vital grass crowns hydrated and capable of greening up when temperatures cool and moisture is again available.
- Reduce traffic on the lawn at all times if possible, but especially during the heat of the day when foot traffic and even lawn mowers can injure the grass plants and cause almost immediate dehydration. When cooler, wetter weather returns you can help your lawn recover from a drought by watering deeply. This will wash dust off the leaves, re-hydrate the dormant crowns and initiate root growth.