Tips for taking care of your sod

All grasses require 3 elements to survive: Sun – Water – and Nutrients. Whether newly installed or established all grasses need these. All the sod Brookmeade grows is sun loving, requiring 4 to 5 hours of direct sunlight. If there is shade it is better to get shade from the house vs. the trees. Trees and grass compete for the 3 elements and the trees win. The first 2 weeks of care for newly installed sod needs to be watched closely. Watering is based on temperature, when temperatures are between 32° – 60° the sod only needs to be watered every other day. It is important to measure the amount of water put on the grass. Using a rain gauge or measuring cup, measure 1/2 inch of water each time. It is best to water in the morning, to wash the dew off and to have the entire day to absorb. When temperatures are between 60°-85° then the newly installed sod needs to be watered daily, again 1/2 inch of water each time. If installing when temperatures are above 85° you need to water 2x a day. Fescue stresses in high temperatures and has a low survival rate when installed in July and August. Established lawns require 1 ½ inches of water a week. Use some form of measuring the amount of water, such as a rain gauge, tuna can or measuring cup. A rain gauge is great because Mother Nature may help with the process!

Fertilization – It is important to remember to apply the right time of year for the type of grass you have. Fescue lawns use the S O D method of application. Fertilize in September, October and December. Applying fertilizer in December will help the sod “green up” in the spring. Many want to skip this step because the grass is already looking good in December. Then in the spring complaining that the grass isn’t as green as others.

Zoysia is a summer grass and needs to be fertilized in the summer months. Zoysia can handle High Nitrogen Fertilizer on the Zoysia 1x a month in June, July, and August. Feeding the grass will make it greener and grow more – requiring more mowing. Not fertilizing can lead to yellowing.

Crabgrass is always a problem in our area. It is produced each year from the seed of last year’s plants. The seeds come from anywhere and everywhere, so it is necessary to treat each year – even if you didn’t have problems last year. The best way to control crabgrass is to prevent the seeds from successfully germinating; therefore, it is important to apply the control at the proper stage of germination. In our area, around March 1st, the best time to apply the crabgrass control is when the forsythia is fully bloomed.

“Pre-Emergence Crabgrass Control” product is what is needed. There are several products that are well suited for preventive measures to treat for Crab Grass. Follow the directions on the package; you may need to reapply in 2 weeks if a 2nd application is recommended. Brookmeade recommends the following products (all include fertilization needed for spring)

To help keep lawns Crab Grass free during the summer months it is important to practice good lawn care procedures. Healthy grass does not provide bare areas where Crab Grass can germinate.

Keep Fescue Tall – mowing height should be 2″ plus. Water regularly – grass needs 1.5 inches per week to thrive. Be alert for signs of disease and use fertilizer and lime accordingly. One of the greatest causes of Crab Grass is scalping the lawn – cutting too short. High, strong thick grass does not allow Crab Grass to germinate.