When it comes to maintaining a healthy lawn, mowing is an important aspect that should not be overlooked. Mowing helps to keep your grass healthy and green and also promotes new growth. However, if you have recently installed a new lawn, you may be wondering when to mow new sod.
If you have new sod, it is vital to wait until it is safe to start mowing. In this article, we will discuss when to mow new sod and how to do it properly.
New Sod Basics
Installing sod is a fast and convenient option for establishing a new lawn. The rolls of sod can be placed on your prepared soil, and you immediately have a carpet of new turf. While the grass is mature, it is still very delicate.
New sod will require plenty of water and special care as it grows roots down into the soil. During this period, you will want to avoid foot traffic to protect your investment. Knowing how and when to mow new sod with a riding mower or push mower is important for your turf development.
How Long to Wait to Mow New Sod
Firstly, it is important to understand that new sod needs time to establish itself before it can be mowed. This is because new sod has shallow roots that are still developing, and mowing too soon can damage these delicate roots. You want to wait a minimum of 15 days, but it may be longer in some regions.
The ideal time to mow new sod is when it has reached a height of 3-4 inches. This usually takes about 2-3 weeks after installation, depending on the type of grass and weather conditions. You can test your sod by gently tugging a small handful of grass – it should not pull up the sod if roots are established.
Preparing to Mow New Sod
Before you start mowing, it is important to make sure your mower blades are sharp. Dull blades can tear the grass, leaving it vulnerable to disease and pests. Also, make sure your mower is set to the correct height. For new sod, the ideal height is around 2-3 inches. Mowing too short can stress the grass.
Another important factor to consider when before mowing new sod is the weather. It is best to mow when the grass is dry, as wet grass can be slippery and more difficult to cut. Also, avoid mowing in extreme heat or cold, as this can stress the grass and make it more vulnerable to damage.
Use a Push Mower for First Sod Mow
When mowing new sod, it is best to use a walk-behind mower rather than a riding mower for the first few times. This is because walk-behind mowers are lighter and less likely to damage the shallow roots of the new sod. It is not necessary to use a bagger – this just adds more weight to the push mower.
Also, be sure to mow in a different direction each time you mow. This will help to prevent the grass from developing a grain, which can make it more susceptible to disease and pests. You should only cut the grass blades slightly, about one-third of the blade, keeping it about three-inches in height.
Once you complete your first mow, you can begin mowing your sod regularly, usually once a week. Keep your mower deck high and continue to remove only one-third of the grass blades for the first few months to give your grass the best chance to thrive.
When to Mow New Sod with Riding Mower
Due to the heaviness of a riding mower, you should wait as long as possible to use it on your new sod. You will want the grass to establish deeper roots before mowing with a riding mower. When you first use a riding mower on your sod, drive slowly and avoid making quick turns.
After 4-6 weeks, your new sod should be well on its way to maturity. You can use your riding mower if desired. Make sure to keep the blades sharp to avoid stressing your new grass and raise the mowing deck appropriately to only cut one-third of the grass blades.
New Sod Maintenance
In addition to mowing, there are other steps you can take to promote healthy growth in new sod. One of these is to water the grass regularly, especially during the first few weeks after installation. This, along with appropriate fertilizing, will help to establish the roots and promote new growth.
In conclusion, mowing is an important aspect of maintaining a healthy lawn, but it is important to know when to mow new sod. Wait until the grass has reached a height of 3-4 inches before mowing and use a walk-behind mower set to the correct height. For more sod tips, consult a local landscaper.