How to Maintain Sod Grasses
Mow at 1.5-3 inches cutting height, depending on turf density and shade/sun levels. Full sun lawns should be cut shorter to create a dense & lush lawn. Heavy shade areas will benefit from longer blades of grass so mow at a taller height. Never cut more than 1/3 of the height at any one mowing. Avoid mowing the same path and direction whenever possible to avoid permanent mower marks.
Water to supplement rainfall shortages only and void fixed timer irrigation settings. Though drought tolerant, Zoysia performs best with 1 inch of water per week. Do not waste water, and avoid run-off and standing water.
Once turf has matured, apply moderate nitrogen levels. Sod can maintain good density and color and still only need cutting every 10 days at low fertility levels. Higher fertilizer levels produce deeper color, but also requires frequent mowing and increases risk of diseases.Fertilize according to soil test recommendations. Your local county extension office can provide this service. A good “rule of thumb” is 1-2 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 square feet annually. Never apply to wet turf. An application of Iron will usually improve grass color.
Use of a pre-emergent herbicide is recommended but read and follow label directions and make sure you are using a product specifically designed for your type of turf. It is very common to see new weeds pop up after a sod installation as there are always weed seeds present in existing soil. Once you start watering your new sod, they begin to germinate and grow rapidly. For this reason, we recommend a weed control/fertilization program be followed for at least 1 full year to eliminate all 4 seasons of weeds. It is also a good idea to spread a granular pre-emergent prior to new sod installation to keep weed seeds from germinating.
For help with weed identification, pest control, or identification of mis-colored portions of turf (yellowing or brown) contact your nursery/garden center, landscaper, or State/county extension service agent.
New sod will have several shades of green mixed throughout the lawn because the field it came from will have varying levels of nitrogen, moisture content etc. A month or two of growing will get its roots deep into on site soil and the color will blend by itself.Thatch Removal: Periodically it may be necessary to remove accumulated thatch. The easiest way to accomplish this a thorough and short mowing in the late winter – just before turf turns green. Scalp with a lawn mower or de-thatch with a commercial machine and remove debris. Burning a dormant lawn is another very effective means of thatch control and even adds beneficial ash to the soil. Consult your local fire department. This activity has as many associated problems as benefits (i.e. burning far more than your lawn).