Credit: Mike Mozart via flickr/CC
Sod is strips of established green grass. On the top of the strips is grass and on the bottom is soil. Sod is sold in rolls like pictured above. When the sod is ready to be installed, it is rolled out until flat in its desired spot on the soon to be lawn. The sod rolls are laid out adjacent to each other, but staggered in a brick like fashion to avoid seams. The below video gives you a great idea of how to install sod.
While the sod looks relatively presentable when it is first installed, there is nothing bonding the sod to the existing soil. Mowing a newly sodded lawn could cause the sod to shift out of place or get sucked up in the mower. This would be a nightmare scenario for anyone who just laid down sod in their yard.
When to Mow New Sod
It is best to allow the sod to root into the existing soil before mowing. Generally, you can mow your sod after 14 days. However, you should test a couple areas of sod to make sure that it is firmly rooted in the existing soil. Simply give the sod a decent pull in a few spots to ensure it does not pull up off the ground.
Once you establish that the lawn can be mowed, keep a close eye on what you are mowing to make sure you do not have sections moving or shifting. You are obviously going to want to stop mowing if you notice that your mower is damaging or moving the sod around. It is better to be patient and give it a few more days to establish than potentially damage your beautiful new lawn.
Sod Root Growth & Watering
In order to encourage root growth, you should provide your sod with sufficient water. The sod should remain damp but not flooded. When you pull up a piece of fresh sod, the soil beneath the sod should not be dry. The ground soil should also be damp. To achieve this amount of dampness, you will have to water about 20 minutes over two watering sessions a day. You should not notice puddles on the surface of the sod. If you see this, you are over watering and you should reduce your watering.
When you establish that you are ready to do your first mow, eliminate the watering so that your are able to mow dry grass. Wet grass will produce clumping of the clippings. You do not want these clipping on your lush new lawn. After the first mow, you can reduce your watering down to once a day for about 15 to 20 minutes. Return to your normal watering schedule after a month.
Remember that the above information is a general guide. You may need to adjust your watering times or the first mowing date based on the conditions where your sod is planted. It is important to monitor your sod daily and adjust accordingly to its needs. Treat your sod right and you will likely have one of the best lawns on the block.