Your Southwest Sod will be coming soon so it’s time to prepare your soil for the new sod.
Spray any unwanted plant growth with an appropriate herbicide like Roundup (best found at your local nursery or hardware store). Do not use a pre-emergent herbicide!
Clear away any rocks and/or debris.
For optimal results it’s recommended, but not necessary, to spread mulch or gypsum on the ground 1 inch thick (about 8 cubic feet of mulch for every 100 square feet), and then till the ground to 4-6 inches.
Install your sprinkler system. After you back fill the trench lines with dirt, water the lawn area in order to settle the soil. Back fill low spots where needed.
Level the lawn area with a rake to a final grade of 1 inch below sidewalks, curbing, driveways. This will prevent water runoff.
Now you’re ready for sod!
When your sod arrives, you’re ready to roll.
- Lay the first row of sod lengthwise along a sidewalk, driveway, or walkway and then stagger succeeding rows like bricks.
- Seal every seam with a firm push, being careful not to overlap.
- Begin sprinkling your sod with a hose immediately and continue throughout the installation process.
- Smooth the grass with a sod roller that can be rented at any home supply store to seal down the seams and remove air pockets. This is important because you want the entire sod pad to contact the ground. Roots can’t jump through air!
- Run your sprinklers until the lawn is completely saturated. Then set sprinklers to maintain proper moisture. Please refer to our proper watering page for a watering schedule and tips!
To ensure the health and vitality of your turf, it is imperative that you install it 12-24 hours from the time of delivery. During summer months sod may yellow due to heat shock, but it should recover quickly if installation and watering steps are followed.
Now you can sit back and enjoy your Southwest Sod!
Newly Planted Turf: Sod is a living thing. Like all living things, correct care during the first few weeks is critical for proper health and development. New lawns require frequent waterings, especially during our hot Arizona summers. With the following week-by-week guide, you can breeze through your lawn’s first month with ease and ensure its health and vitality for years to come.
Summer: Weeks 1-2: During these first two weeks it is imperative for you to keep the sod and the top three inches of soil wet constantly, without allowing water to pool. Water 10-15 minutes 4 times a day. In this phase, always water during daylight hours. If you have mounds or sloped areas, increase the intervals and decrease the water irrigation time for the affected zones.
Summer: Week 3: Once the roots are attached to the soil (approximately 14 days after installation), you can decrease your watering to 15-20 minutes once a day.
Summer: Week 4: At this point, the root system should be established and you can begin watering your lawn once a day for 10-12 minutes. The key now is to water deeply and efficiently. 30 minutes after watering the soil should be wet 6 inches deep. You can determine this by pushing a long screwdriver or probe into the ground. There should be no difficulty penetrating 6 inches deep.
Winter: Weeks 1-2: During these first two weeks it is crucial for you to keep the sod and the top three inches of soil wet constantly, without allowing water to pool. Water 10-15 minutes 3 times a day. In this phase, always water during daylight hours to ensure the sprinklers are working as desired.
Winter: Week 3: Once the roots are attached to the soil (approximately 14 days after installation), you can decrease your watering to 10-15 minutes once a day.
Winter: Week 4: At this point, the root system should be established and you can begin watering your lawn once a day for 8-10 minutes. Prevent runoff and pooling by adding intervals and reducing time. The key now is to water deeply and efficiently. 30 minutes after watering the soil should be wet 6 inches deep. You can determine this by pushing a long screwdriver or probe into the ground. There should be no difficulty penetrating 4-6 inches deep.
*Watering intervals are based of industry averages and may need to be adjusted based on specific site needs and sprinkler configurations.
- Watering established turf in the early morning lets you see what’s happening with the watering!
- If footprints stay in your grass for more than 5 minutes, it’s time to turn on the sprinklers. A bluish grey tint also indicates stress and lack of water.
- If you have a dry area, place a shallow container in the dry area and another like-size container in a green area. Water 15-20 minutes and then measure the water in both containers. If the dry area is not getting the same amount of water as the green area, adjust the sprinkler heads accordingly.
For more great watering tips, check out Water Use it Wisely.
Once the root system of your new lawn attaches to the soil, you may begin a regular mowing schedule. Proper mowing height is dependent on the overall height of your grass.
A good rule to follow is to never cut more than 1/3 of the leaf blade at a time.
Allowing your grass to grow for long periods of time and then chopping it off will scalp the grass and make it susceptible to disease.
Our recommendation is to mow regularly and keep the grass around an inch in height.
- If you want to reduce your mowing schedule, raise your mowing height up and lower your fertilization intervals.
- For a highly manicured look, you’ll want to lower your mowing height and increase your fertilization intervals.
- Usually fertilizing monthly works well.
A properly fertilized lawn has good density and deep color. Fertilizing not only strengthens the plant, it also protects your lawn from drought, disease, and weeds. Fertilizer is composed of varying ratios of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. This is known as the N-P-K analysis. Our Arizona soil has very healthy levels of potassium and although you can include it in your fertilizing regimen it is not required for a vigorous growth strategy.
Because of the increased daylight hours during the summer growing season an application of something similar to 21-0-0 analysis (21% nitrogen, 0% phosphorus, 0% potassium) once a month works great. Nitrogen is primary ingredient for the long summer months because the blades of turf absorb a substantial amount of sunlight that helps your lawn maintain its deep green color. Other fertilizer ingredients can also be used to assure good results that might improve existing soil conditions.
Newly installed over-seed sod with perennial rye grass should be fertilized immediately after installation, preferably with something similar to a 16-20-0 analysis (16% nitrogen, 20% phosphorus, and 0% potassium). The high nitrogen content allows for an increased growth regimen while the phosphorus gives encourages good root development. Most fertilizer blends work well with all of the NPK ingredients. The most important ingredients are higher levels of N.P.
For the winter months it is best to continue a 16-20-0 analysis (16% nitrogen, 20% phosphorus, 0% potassium) or something similar that has plenty of nitrogen and phosphorus. The shorter daylight hours mean the turf needs a nutrient source, namely phosphorus, to replenish its chlorophyll reserves. We recommend an application every 4 to 6 weeks for a healthy winter lawn.
These are the most commonly used fertilizer blends for your lawn; however, fertilizers with a similar ratio and additional ingredients will also strengthen your turf and deepen its color. For questions or concerns about your lawn call our lawn professionals.
- If you see urine spots in your yard from dogs, you are low on fertilizer.
- A properly fertilized yard helps the mower blades make a cleaner, more precise cut.
Fall Transition: September-October
It’s time to overseed when evening temperatures consistently reach below 65 degrees. We recommend planting a perennial ryegrass because it produces a deep-green color with a fine leaf texture. It also holds up well under high traffic conditions.
Steps to Quality Ryegrass
- Set your mower to its lowest setting to scalp the lawn down opening up the turf canopy . It may take multiple mowing passes to collect all the loose grass debris. When you’re finished, the yard may look like a yellow, buzz haircut with some soil showing through the blades. You are now ready to overseed.
- Spread the perennial ryegrass seed at a rate of 8-10 lbs per 1000 square feet. Perennial ryegrass is available at your local lawn and garden store.
- Fertilize with ammonium phosphate 16-20-0 or similar analysis at a rate of 9-10 lbs per 1000 square feet. You may apply it before or after you plant your seed; it’s your choice.
- If you would like to take an extra precaution, cover the overseed with about a 1/4 inch of mulch or manure. The mulch acts as an insulator to the newly laid seed and will protect it from under watering and cold night time temperatures.
- Water for 15 minutes 3 to 4 times a day. Once the ryegrass begins to grow you can return to your regular watering. See the proper watering page for watering schedules and tips.
Spring Transition: April-May
It is time to start transitioning your lawn when nighttime temperatures are consistently above 65 degrees.
The first step is to mow your grass short, leaving only about 50% of the leaf blade. Reduce watering for 5-7 days to 70-80% of your normal use. This stresses the ryegrass and allows the hybrid to flourish. Next, fertilize with 21-0-0 analysis or a fertilizer with a similar rate of ammonium sulfate and return to a regular watering and mowing schedule. Be sure to rake the ryegrass off as it dies out so that the underlying hybrid Bermuda gets plenty of sunshine and water.
Mow your lawn being careful to remove only about 1/3 of the leaf blade. Next, carefully rake the yard to remove cuttings and any dead grass that has accumulated over the winter. Fertilize monthly with a 16-0-0 or similar analysis and water twice a week for 15 to 20 minutes.