new sod

Hi all,
We moved into a new home last November and the builder sodded the front for us around October. With Spring fast approaching in Wisconsin, I'm wondering how frequently I will need to water now 4-5 month old sod. Same goes for fertilizing--how soon is too soon?
Thanks for any advice!
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be sure a mulching mower is used to cut the grass. this will put the nutrients back into the sod. I wouldnt do the fertilizer until much later in spring after the first flush of growth is done. You could call a sod farm and ask about apply some potassium to help build root growth. as for watering. I have found that yellow sunglasses show water stressed grass as a darker color than healthy grass. one of the things we did to rehabilitate a badly managed lawn was put the sprinklers on a timer. now this lawn was on a steep slope so all the excess ran down hill and watered a valuable, large tree. and watering depends on what kind of soil you have... the sand of middle and northern wisconsin is going to need more water than the clay southern Wisconsin. Ingrid

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Go out and try to lift some of the sod. If it doesn't lift easily, cut a plug and see how far the roots have reached into the soil. If it's not much more than an inch into your soil, I'd figure on applying an average of an inch a water a week all summer. (that's exclusive of rain... so if you get half an inch of rain in a week, put half an inch of water on with sprinklers). If roots are 2-3" down, skipping a week now and then won't be too tough on it most likely, but you don't want it to go dormant.
If the sod lifts easily, I'd figure on babying it all summer long, and well into next fall.
Remember to water deeply, soaking the root zone and down a bit further, instead of just moistening the top bit of soil.

Did you have a soil test done before sodding? If so, I'd look at those recommendations, and follow them up -- though I'd throttle way back on the nitrogen. If you didn't do a soils test, I'd be inclined to give it a very light feeding of something like 10-10-10 or 10-15-15 now, and watch the response. I'd save the high N stuff till next year. This year, you're looking for good roots, not grass blades leaping upwards in height. I prefer multiple light feedings of commercial fertilizer to occasional heavy fertilizations. With organic fertilizers, that's less of an issue.
My personal rule for fertilizer applications: 1/4 as much at a time, 2-3x more often than recommended... has always worked well for me.
Mulch the clippings back onto the lawn, and mow often with a sharp blade. Mark a couple of lines on a wooden stake: one at 3.5" and one at 4" above soil level. Set the mower blade to 3". When the grass is up to the 3.5" mark, you should mow. At 4", you must mow -- do it religiously this year. If the blades of the grass start looking chewed at the tip instead of cut, sharpen the blade again.
Kay, who's either going to have to drive a mower over 2 acres of last-fall-seeded-grass on heavy, wet clay soil soon, or rent a sheep... or trim it by hand.
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and in wisconsin you can get milorganite. perfect for the lawn. Ingrid

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wrote:

a very handy home made device for deeper watering can be found here, especially in waxy soild that resist surface penetration http://www.burkesbackyard.com.au/2003/archives/2003/in_the_garden/gardening_tips,_books,_techniques_and_tools/deep_watering3
rob
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