Mowing Sod... Help

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Coach, Apr 4, 2012.

  1. Coach

    Coach LawnSite Member
    Messages: 28

    Client just put sod down around a strip mall. Some questions, How long to wait till I mow, how high do I mow? Been mowing for 15 years, but have never had to take care of sod. Hoping for some help here. It looks great want to keep it looking great.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. orangemower

    orangemower LawnSite Silver Member
    from pa
    Messages: 2,768

    I've never had to cut fresh sod before but I'd imagine you want it to root in good before you cut it. Are they watering it and treating it? What type of grass is it? If it were me, I'd let it go for a few weeks depending on how fast it's growing. If it's a northern grass, cut it at 3.5-4in for a few months. The longer the grass is after it's cut, the deeper the roots will go. I'd wait til it's a good 6in long before I cut it. After a few months it will be rooted in good and you can drop it down to 3-3.5in. These are merely my opinions without having done it before. If someone knows better, step up to the plate.

    ALEX'S LANDSCAPING LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 675

    First off, wait until it roots real good till you mow it.
    Then make sure that it is watered at least 3 times a week. Also, try to convince your customer to let you fertilize it with some good starter fertilizer to make it grow better and get it settled down before the HOT summer months.
    Make sure that it is not stepped on in the first month. Make sure that it does not turn in to a potty pad for dogs (if there are any allowed) in the first 6 months at least.

    Hope this helps.
  4. scotts lawn care

    scotts lawn care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 468

    I just mowed some sod today that was installed last fall. It was able to root in and grow some last year. So today i carefully mowed it at 5" cut height, and at 1/4 to 1/3 throttle.

    As long as its rooted in good, this is what i would recommend.
  5. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,763

    In the past we have push mown sections of sod because they were growing fast but we couldn't put a machine on them. It sucks, but it is a safe way of maintaining a good turf height of 4"-5" while allowing the grass to develop roots. After a month or so we could use a machine, at half speed and with minimal turning on the new turf.
  6. jiggz

    jiggz LawnSite Senior Member
    from jerz
    Messages: 646

    when we drop sod.. it gets water 3 times a day for 4-5 weeks..cut 3 to 4 weeks in at 5 inch depending on rain, Its always first stop of the day with fresh blades and a clean deck..normally use a light blet drive 32-48 nothing heaver.
  7. Ridin' Green

    Ridin' Green LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Michigan
    Messages: 17,474

    I've had a few experiences with sod in the past. One of the places I mow put in new sod a couple years ago. I did all the soil prep and grading, and they layed the sod themselves.

    I was mowing it in a month. The main thing is to water it every day. Don't soak it, but water it regularly for about 20 minutes at a time, and twice a day. Make sure to turn gently on it with your mower for the first several months to keep from twisting up any pieces with your tires. Watering regularly will get the roots that are already in the sod to grow down into the soil below fairly quickly, but it will still be loose enough for the first year to be able to pull up on it like a carpet, so you always have to pay attention to what you are doing.

    Another big thing to watch out for is mowing newly layed sod on banks or hillsides. You really need to use as light a machine as possible. I used my old JD garden tractor that I use for difficult areas, and I had no problem, even on the banked areas, and it weighs a little over 700 lbs. It isn't necessary to cut it over 3 1/2" tall in my experience. Cutting it taller does not make the roots grow faster. It just makes the sod require more water, which makes it more spongy than it needs to be.

    Just make sure you have gauge wheels that are set to the correct height, and use low to medium lift blades for the first 6 months of mowing on it. High lifts can suck up smaller pieces enough to cause them to get into the blades.

    After about a month, it helps to run over it with a lawn roller. It seems to force the edges of each piece tightly against the one next to it, and helps make the seems less noticeable, and less likely to raise up if caught by a gauge wheel or something similar.

  8. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,267

    My suggestion, don't use a 21 to mow fresh sod installs. The narrow wheels get in the seams and you scalp like crazy. Use a light WB.
  9. Coach

    Coach LawnSite Member
    Messages: 28

    Thanks for the replies. I will put them to good use.

  10. LawnGuy110

    LawnGuy110 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,105

    Its so true. When I first mowed fresh sod I made the mistake of using a 21" to mow it...Never will I make that mistake again. Anytime I mow fresh sod now I always use my 36" as the tires are much bigger and wont tear it up as much.

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