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First cut on a new sod lawn

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by mtdman, Jul 13, 2003.

  1. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,137

    This is the time of year I usually get a few calls to come out and cut newly sodded lawns for the first time. However, I don't even bother with these calls anymore. Newly sodded lawns are evil, in my opinion

    1. By the time someone wants it cut, it's usually long as heck. HUGE mess to cut and clean and a giant headache.

    2. Usually sopping wet and the ground is usually drenched because of all the water people pour on them to keep 'em alive.

    3. Lots of times the sod hasn't even set roots out and the sod will suck right into the mower.

    4. They never come out looking good on the first cut.

    Like I said, I don't even bother with these anymore. I've never been successful in cutting a newly sodded lawn for the first time, and I hate 'em. And with all the new building, usually contractors will throw the sod down on top of the crappy soil that's left after construction, where it has no chance to live or thrive without constant fertilizing and watering. Don't even get me started on the crappy building and landscaping practices with new houses. The whole thing makes me mad.

    Anyone have better luck?
  2. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,403

    Hey, don't sweat it. At least it's bluegrass or fescue there and not Bermuda sod like is used 95% of the time here on new homes. It has to be mowed pretty low to look its best and you wind up scalping off dirt in spots. And Bermuda shows brown stem in uneven spots. At least your stuff is all green.

    They lay sod over anything here, and they do it badly. I saw a manhole cover 4 feet above grade with sod laid right up to the lid. Looked like an anthill. Who could mow that?

    A sod job right down the street from me is worthy of a photo. Horrible. You can actually see tree roots sticking up through it in spots and it's lumpy as hell.

    I will get photos tomorrow if I remember. I would gladly cut anything that is ALL GREEN vs. Bermuda which winds up looking like a shaved cat if you mow it low on anything but a table top smooth surface or use a tiny mower.
  3. Tvov

    Tvov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Posts: 1,157

    We charge extra for the first mowing of sod, partly because it always involves cleanup/raking.

    In general, you are supposed to wait until the sod is tall before cutting, in order to give time for the roots to go down. But I've always found that the sod requires at least a full season before it is really rooted.

    Depending on the situation, we sometimes raise the blades substantially for the first couple cuts.

    We also request that the customer STOP watering for a couple days before we mow. They rarely do, however, and it is usually drenched!

    No real tricks, besides going real slow. Sometimes we have used the 21" mower for the first couple mowings (again, extra charge!).

    The one good thing with sod, is that if it is done correctly, it is smooth and flat, and looks really good when established. If done correctly.

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