Planting your new lawn:
- Remove all existing grass and weeds
- Loosen up the ground to roughly 10cm
- Apply a 2cm layer of good quality compost or topsoil to replace the healthy organisms that have been disturbed by loosening the soil
- Rake the ground level
- Roll open the instant lawn and pack it closely together, to avoid gaps
- Use either a roller or a stomper to make connection between the lawn and the ground below. This is not about compacting the ground, but rather to ensure there are no air pockets. You can use your feet to stomp it or even the back of a spade if you do not have a roller.
- Water! Give the grass a good soaking
- Pat yourself on the back for a job well done and read the maintenance guidelines for what to do next!
Maintenance tips – overview
- Water your lawn daily, for at least 10 days. Give it a good enough soaking to wet the ground underneath the sod.
- Stay off the lawn as much as possible until it has established (if you pull at the blades
of grass they should pull back, meaning it has rooted)
- Once the lawn has established you can begin your weekly mowing. Please mow the
grass high – using a lawn mower, set the blades on the highest setting.
- Top dress within 3 months to help level any uneven areas
- Enjoy your beautiful garden!
Absolutely essential step to successfully establishing a new sodded lawn is proper watering. This includes almost immediate application and sufficient quantities. Within 30 minutes (or less) after the sod has been laid, apply water to a depth of 60 to 80 mm. Lift up a corner of the sod to see that water is soaking through and into the soil. Also, be certain that water is reaching all areas uniformly. Edges and corners of the lawn can be missed or given less water by many types of sprinklers, even in-ground systems. Hand watering is not recommended as you rarely get equal quantities down. Lastly, recognize that some types of soil absorb water very slowly, and standing water in an area may require that the sprinkler be turned off and the water allowed to soak-in slowly, before water is again applied. Daily for at least the next two weeks, apply at least 5 mm of water.
Spring and summer, water every evening (if possible). Evening is the best time to water because the wind and heat…two major causes of evaporation…are at their lowest.
Autumn and winter, switch to early morning (if possible) as this will stop the grass from possibly sitting overnight in water. After the first two weeks, begin a weekly watering regime, applying approximately 20 – 30mm of water a week, (reducing this amount by rain totals and the relevant seasons) BEST for the lawn would be to drench it one day a week. This encourages the roots to search for water and go deeper. Otherwise they become lazy if the water is always readily available on the surface; this means the grass will battle in times of drought.
Caring For The New Lawn
Once the new sodded lawn is installed and routine watering begins, it’s time to begin enjoying the results, and taking a few simple steps to help ensure that the uniform density and beauty of the new sod is maintained.
Step A – Use And Enjoy
The visual beauty of the new lawn will make a remarkable improvement to the home’s landscape and while you may be tempted to use the area right away, don’t. Avoid heavy or concentrated traffic on new sod for at least the first three weeks. This will allow the soil to settle, for the roots to penetrate the soil, and ensure that the surface remains level. Because the soil beneath new sod is being kept wet, traffic on the lawn will not only compact the soil (a real detriment to growth), but it can also create low spots and even holes or tears.
After three weeks, the lawn should be fully established and capable of handling whatever use you want to give it, but be aware of soft spots or tender areas and give them more time to fully establish. Please take the time to check your lawn regularly for mole or ant activity. Moles usually leave the easy to spot mounds of soil and these are easily fixed by dispersing the soil over the grass. When moles are searching for a mate however, they will travel under the surface of the lawn and this disturbs the roots. It is also harder to spot from a distance. Walk around at least once a week and if you see tunnels, then walk on them and push them back down flat again. The moles are not eating your roots, but they will damage the grass because the roots are not sitting in soil and will die back, causing the grass to die. Ants are a bit trickier to spot but you need to be vigilant! They work under the cover of your lovely green blades of grass and before you know it, the grass is dead and you are non the wiser because they have now moved onto another patch of grass! Look out for different colour soil as they are deep down below and bring up soil while
they work. This smothers your grass and that is why it dies off.
Step B – 1st And Subsequent Mowing
The first mowing should take place only after the sod is well knitted…about two to three weeks after installation. If the grass is growing too fast (which does happen with Living Earth lawns) and you are desperate, you can carefully run a brushcutter over the top before this, but it is best to wait. We recommend raising the mowing height for the first cutting as high as possible and running the mower diagonally across the sod strips to avoid pulling up edges or
running a mower wheel down between two strips of sod. Lower the mowing height gradually with each subsequent cutting until the recommended height for the particular grass variety achieved. With Berea and Buffalo, please allow at least 5cm height of lawn at all times. Clippings can be left on the lawn if the mower blade is sharp and no more than onethird of the grass height is removed in a single cutting. Clippings are 80% water and contain nutrients that are valuable to the grass, so they should be left on the lawn every mowing, unless they clump or look unattractive. Clippings do not create thatch. The most important information is to use a lawn mower and to ensure the blades are kept sharp. Sharp blades cut the grass evenly and will not tear the grass blades. Please ensure not to mow when the grass is wet and never mow more than 1/3 of the blade at one time.
Step C – Feeding
Dense, vigorous growing turf is the best means to combat weeds, insects and even disease. This can be accomplished by proper mowing and watering and judicious use of nutrients based on the grass plant’s needs. There are two options to successfully feed your new lawn. Should you choose to stay organic, you can apply a thin layer of Living Earth Compost when the grass looks tired or hungry. If you do this on a regular basis, you will not need to use granular fertiliser as our Compost has all of the slow release nutrients the lawn needs. You will successfully be feeding the plant and the soil on an ongoing basis.
Should you choose to rather chemically fertilise regularly, then your lawn will benefit from an annual application of Living Earth Compost. 6 weekly fertilising is advisable to keep the lawn lush and strong. Keeping your lawn well fed and strong and mowing it at the correct height will stop weeds from taking over.
There are sometimes events out of our control (moles and ants) that kill off sections of the lawn and open it up for weeds. If this occurs, please either manually weed the grass or spray. Give us a call should your lawn begin to lose its rich green colour and we can assist with a top up of Living Earth Compost. Sodded lawns not only provide an immediate visual improvement to the landscape, they also create safe and clean play areas and help improve the environment. Sod eliminates mud and sand being tracked into the house and it cools the area, traps airborne pollutants and cleans rainwater with its leaves, thatch and roots. The beauty of sod is not just the clean green and relaxing surface we see, it’s a benefit to our environment, right under our feet!
The Living Earth team.