Keeping your new sod healthy and green requires work, but it’s minimal work once you have a solid plan in place. Aside from mowing and manicuring, which keep your grass looking great, you only need to do two things to help it thrive: water and fertilize.
The goal is to strike a balance between these two nutrients so that your grass grows at a steady pace, but not too quickly that you’re mowing too often, such as every other day. This guide will outline just how often you need to fertilize — and at what time of year.
Plan to do the first round of fertilization in middle-to-late April. It’s less about the date and more about when you start to see new life, such as the grass beginning to grow. You can even make it easier by associating the first application with the first time you mow. Type: Slow-Release Fertilizer with pre-emergence (which prevents crabgrass) *20-5-10 mixture, (Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium).
4 Weeks Later, Mid May
You’ve already kick-started your lawn’s growth, so this application simply keeps that growth going. Providing your lawn with ample nutrients in the spring sets it up for success during the rest of the season. Type: Slow-Release Fertilizer, 20-5-10 mixture, (N-P-K).
6-8 Weeks Later, Early July
Most Midwesterners have cool-season grasses that don’t need a chemical fertilizer during the summer. It can burn your lawn, or just cause unnecessary stress. You’re better off applying some sort of organic material to add nutrients to the soil in a gentle way. Type: Organic material like manure, dehydrated cow manure pellets, blood meal, bone meal, or liquid seaweed.
6-8 Weeks Later, Late August
By this time, your lawn has been through a lot, including the brutal heat of the summer in many parts of the U.S. Sometimes grass can reach a state of dormancy due to lack of rain, so this application helps stimulate growth again. Type: Complete Fertilizer, 20-8-8 mixture, (N-P-K).
6-8 Weeks Later, Early October
A lot of homeowners skip this application, but it just might be the most important. Choosing a fertilizer rich in phosphorous will promote root growth through the next couple of months until temperatures drop. Stronger roots mean a stronger lawn that will look better, faster, come spring. Type: Complete Fertilizer, 13-25-12 mixture, (N-P-K).
Use this guide as a tool and your new sod will stay as lush and green as the day it was installed. Make sure you wait at least 10 days after installation to start the fertilization program. After that, you can hit the ground running.