Like everything else in life, preparation can often make the difference between failure and success.
The perfect home for new grass sod will be a perfect mix of sand, clay and organic material. The grade will be away from your house, and a drainage plan, in unison with your neighbors will have been thought through and executed precisely.
Also, like everything else in life, perfect usually doesn't exist. We can talk with you to help plan your preparation without breaking the bank.
Often preparation is simply removing the rocks, clay clumps, other debris, and raking level. Other situations may require more extensive work. Know this: Hard compacted clay is not suitable for healthy grass. Sand alone will drain quickly, leaving the grass no available moisture and often no available minerals needed for healthy grass. A mixture of the two is best to support a lawn that thrives.
For delivery or purchase of bedding soil, mulch or even your final plants, check out Plant Tech at (225) 753-1765. They have a beautiful store located at 15323 Jefferson Hwy in Baton Rouge.
INITIAL CARE of Grass Sod
Watering is the primary key to success during the first several weeks of your sod at its new home.
Heat and wind dry out grass quickly. The root system of your new sod is less than 1/2" thick when installed, therefore it cannot reach any of the available moisture in the ground as it will be able to do after "rooting in."
Goal 1: Keep it alive! The first week after transplanting, watering will give the plant strength and keep it from overheating. It is best for water not to stand in puddles for extended time, as roots need oxygen and can literally drown... but during the spring and summer months, water evaporates quickly so puddling is usually not a problem. For the first week, the best rule of thumb is "too wet to walk on." Water daily, enough to keep it too wet to walk on. Early morning watering is ideal. Every sprinkler and every soil is different, so you will have to pay attention to "how long" it takes your sprinkler to achieve the goal. During the hottest parts of our summer, you may very well need to water more than once a day to achieve these.
Goal 2: Root it in! After the first week, the grass still needs water, but should be recovering from its move if you've been taking care of it. If its hot, you still need to water daily, but a little less. The goal now is to still supply the water, but a little less, so that the roots will begin seeking out water... causing the roots to make your soil its new home.
Our grass arrives to you fertilized properly. It does not need fertilizing to help it establish. Burning by over-fertilizing can easily be done with the small and condensed root system of new sod. Be patient!
Goal 3: Keep it healthy. Mow it as soon as you can. If the grass is green (not dormant), it typically will be somewhat rooted in within 2-3 weeks... at least well enough to mow. You want to mow as soon as you can, without pulling the sod from the ground. You never want to cut more than 1/3 of the length of the grass. This means that for that first, and maybe second mowing, you will need to raise your mower height... perhaps lowering it a little each mowing until you reach the desired height.
Mowing soon and often helps the plant remain compact. A compact plant will be able to strengthen its roots and leaves, without trying to support very long leaves and seed pods. Allowing grass to "seed out" greatly stressed the plant should never typically never be a goal for lawn grass.
Feeding Your Lawn (Fertilizing)
pH describes whether your soil is acidic (less than 7), neutral (7), or basic (greater than 7. The pH in your soil doesn't feed your grass, but the closer it is to ideal, the better the grass can absorb the minerals and nutrients in the soil. Some lawn & garden centers will test your soil samples for you, or sell you a pH test kit, or you can submit samples to the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service. (addresses below) Agricultural lime is typically used to raise pH, while sulfur is usually used to lower pH.
Centipede grass prefers soils with pH of 5.5 to 7, while St. Augustine prefers more acidic soils of 5.0-6.0.
Adding any fertilizer to your lawn without having soil samples analyzed is simply guessing, and may or may not have good results. For a small fee, the Louisiana Cooperative Extension will analyze your samples and provide a specific recommendation for your lawn. This will provide you a basis to work with for years. See the contact numbers and addresses below.
LSUAgCenter.com has some fantastic information. Here's some more information on how to take soil samples and where to get them tested. Remember, if you don't know what's in your soil, your just guessing.
Want it GREENER?
One micronutrient that grass needs is Iron. By following the instructions on Iron supplements (such as Ironite), you can safely "green-up" your lawn without burning it. This is a good "quick fix", but shouldn't be a long term solution to proper soil analysis and proper fertilizer supplements. Be sure to follow the directions on the package, and to sweep the granules from your concrete before watering!
Louisiana Cooperative Extension Parish Addresses and Telephone Numbers
|East Baton Rouge|
805 St. Louis St.
Baton Rouge, LA
9039 St. Landry Rd
Old Courthouse Bldg
20180 Iowa St.
1010 Lafayette St
230 Court St.
Ville Platte, LA
23640 Peters St.
6400 St. Claude
New Orleans, LA
180 E. Main
New Roads, LA
17911 Hwy 43
5800 Hwy 44
151 E. 3rd St
21454 Koop Dr
PO Box 848
|West Baton Rouge|
210 Turner Road
Port Allen, LA
5924 Commerce St
St. Francisville, LA
More addresses and great information at LSUAGCENTER.com
Feel free to call or TEXT us with any questions! (225) 610-4842