Watering and Care for New Sod and Plants
So, you finally have the garden of your dreams. Now that the landscaping contractor company has packed up and left, you can enjoy the lush green view of your new garden from an equally new deck.
As you sip on your coffee, a thought crosses your mind – you don’t know how to water this new garden.
While a yard can be built to need very little attention, low maintenance doesn’t mean no maintenance.
Here are some tips on how to keep your sod and plants alive so you can relax in your garden for years to come.
Caring for Sod
Water your sod Properly:
Sod normally doesn’t need a lot of water but in its early stages, it requires constant watering. Make sure the sod is watered sufficiently by thoroughly soaking the first few inches of the sod for the first few weeks.
Water your sod from 25-30 minutes to guarantee that it is soaked. As the weeks progress, gradually decrease the watering time and depth. Once the sod begins to establish itself, you can start watering every other day.
Come the third week, your sod should be fully rooted and established. This means you can take ease off the watering and just water it as you would any older lawn.(See the chart below)
2. Fertilization Rules:
Here’s the best part: you don’t have to! New sod is typically already fertilized before harvest. Wait until the roots are established before putting granular fertilizer in your soil.
We really recommend granular fertilizer as this activates immediately when wet. This type of fertilizer gives your sod the nutrient boost it needs to be robust and healthy.
3. Mowing Your New Sod:
Be careful! You shouldn’t be mowing new sod until it’s a bit longer, about 3-4 inches. While the sod is still only a month old, avoid walking on it as much as possible so that the new roots can take hold without being disturbed.
Once it’s grown to this length, avoid cutting it too short, and make sure that your mower’s blades are sharp and set to cut your grass evenly.
4. Foot Traffic:
Try to avoid stepping on your newly lain sod for a the first period after you’ve installed it, about a week to a week and a half. Even after about a month, you’ll want to keep foot traffic light as the roots of your new sod will be newly established and can be affected by disturbances, such as too much weight being placed on them.
How to Water new plants?
One of the best parts of landscaping is when we start planting your garden. This is when the yard really starts coming together because the trees and shrubs give the stonework its much needed touch of green.
There are a few fundamentals that you need to follow to keep your garden happy and healthy.
Start with good drainage
When planting in a garden, we recommend starting with a soil drainage test. The ideal rate is about 1-6 inches per hour to make sure your plants don’t catch illnesses like root rot as a result of poor drainage.
Now, what counts for good drainage is largely dependent on three things: what plant you have, the type of soil you’re using, and weather conditions in your area.
Plants like succulents and other cacti will need less water while less drought tolerant plants will need more rigorous watering schedules. Similarly, dryer seasons will call for more watering to keep your plant happy. Make sure to adjust your soil to account for these.
2. Watering your new plants
It is normally recommended that you water a new plant starting from the base. Watering preferences will differ from plant to plant, however, so make sure your plant’s specific watering method is followed.
You need to water a plant right away after planting. Give it a slow, steady stream of water for 15-20 minutes. Make sure the water falls gently on the base of the plant to give it time to soak it all up.
First week: Water the plant regularly with a slow trickle for 15-20 minutes. Again, please be mindful of the type of plant you have and your weather. If it’s raining regularly, you don’t have to water as much.
Second week: Keep watering in the same method but space out the watering sessions throughout the week. Start to slowly wean the plant by watering it only every other day.
Third week: At this point, your plant should be able to handle being watered for only 2-3 times a week. Keep an eye on any signs of drooping leaves or browning, though. If this happens, adjust to give your plant the right amount of water it needs.
Post third week: Keep watering your plants for 2-3 times a week. Never forget to account for the weather when watering.
Container plants dry out faster which is why you need to water them every day or every other day. Use a finger test to check whether your plants need watering. This is done by sticking a finger an inch into the soil. If it’s dry, you need to water; if it’s wet, your plant will be fine for another day or two.
Later, your plant will be established enough that its roots can look for water on their own. However, a watering schedule should still be kept when the weather or season is particularly hot or dry days.