When and How to Fertilize New Sod

Do you need to fertilize new sod to create a healthy, lush lawn? Yes, you do, but maybe not as soon as you think.

Understanding the right time for fertilizer and how to go about applying it is critical to establishing healthy roots and encouraging blade growth for your new sod lawn. Here’s what you need to know.

Fertilize New Sod

When Should You Fertilize New Sod?

You won’t need to give your turfgrass lawn its first dose of fertilizer until about four to six weeks after sodding. After that, you’ll need to follow up with a second application about six to eight weeks later.

Why wait so long to fertilize a newly sodded lawn? Two reasons:

First, new turfgrass has a short root system. Because of this, until it has a chance to develop, the sod has a decreased ability to absorb nutrients. Fertilize too soon, and most of the nutrients will just be leached into the soil.

Second, turfgrass is typically fertilized at the sod farm just before harvest. So, an additional application isn’t usually needed immediately.

Keep in mind, too, that the timing of your sod installation matters. If your sodding was done in the fall or winter, wait until spring arrives before fertilizing.

What Type of Fertilizer is Best for New Sod?

When you shop for fertilizer, you’ll see three numbers printed on the bag labels. In order, these represent the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium in the mix – three essential nutrients for a beautiful, new sod lawn.

For your first application, avoid any fertilizer with a high nitrogen content (that’s the first number on the label). Look for a higher phosphorous (the second number) content instead. And, make sure to choose a slow-release formula to minimize the chance of overfeeding.

The second time you fertilize new sod, switch to a formula with a higher nitrogen content.

How Do You Apply Fertilizer to a New Sod Lawn?

To encourage root establishment in a new turfgrass lawn, experts recommend using a granular fertilizer. For best results, the granules should be applied with a broadcast spreader.

Read the fertilizer label carefully before beginning. Granules need to be wet in order to break down, so you may need to water the lawn before fertilizing.

On average, for the first feeding, you’ll need about one pound of fertilizer for every 1,000 square feet of sod. The second time around, you should use more – aim to use about two pounds per 1,000 square feet.

When applying the fertilizer, spread about half in one direction on the sod lawn. Then, spread the remainder in a perpendicular direction. This method of application gives thorough coverage and helps prevent overfeeding.

Do you have more questions? The professional team at Alpha Sod, the leading turfgrass provider in the Intermountain West, can offer tips and expert advice on caring for a lawn. To learn more about how to fertilize new sod or, to schedule a delivery anywhere in Utah, Idaho or Wyoming, contact us today.