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  • The Right Way to Mow Sod

    Giving your new lawn its first haircut can be intimidating, but we’ve got you covered.

Let’s say you’ve been wanting a soft expanse of green in your yard so you can play with the kids or dog (or so they can entertain each other). You decide to lay down Scotts® ProVista™ St. Augustine sod. Excellent choice! Now you need to take care of it by learning how to feed, weed, water, and mow your sod regularly so it develops into a thick, lush area for fun and relaxation.

One no-brainer way to tackle this is to enroll in the Scotts® Program. You’ll get the exact products you need to take care of your sod at exactly the right time, based on where you live. Add to that the My Lawn app with its handy reminders, and caring for your new Scotts® ProVista™ St. Augustine sod just got even easier.

Products and push notifications aside, you’ll need to get out there and do the work (it’s rewarding, we promise), so knowing the right way to tackle the how-tos is important, too. Let’s get started with how to mow your sod.

When to Mow New Sod

You might be wondering, “What’s the big deal? Why can’t I just mow new sod straight away?” New sod needs time to establish roots so it’s not damaged when you mow it the first few times. Plan on waiting 3 weeks before mowing your sod for the first time. However, installation variations or unexpected weather can mean bumping that up or back by a few days, so always keep an eye on how it’s growing.

A good way to check if it’s safe to mow is to tug very gently on a section of your sod. Does it come right up or is there some resistance? If it pops right up, don’t mow. If there’s resistance, that means the sod has started rooting in and it’s safe to mow.

How to Mow New Sod

There are a few things you can do while you’re waiting to mow your new sod, and some solid tips to follow once it’s ready for you to get out there. We’ve got them all here for you.

Sharpen your mower blades.

Mowing your sod with dull blades is an invitation to frustration. Those dull blades can rip rather than cleanly cut your sod, leading to disease problems. Ripped grass blades are also what cause sod to have a dull, white look to it, and you don’t want that. If you’re not sure how to sharpen mower blades yourself, most repair shops will do it for you.

Get on a mowing schedule.

Scotts® ProVista™ St. Augustine sod grows more slowly, so you’ll be happy to know that your mowing routine has been effectively cut in half. If you used to mow once a week, now you can plan to cut it every 2 weeks. Fluctuations in weather mean it’s always best to check the height of your sod (see the next tip) to determine if it’s the right time to mow.

Mow at the recommended height.

Aim to keep sod that’s still settling in at a 3- to 4-inch height—just slightly longer than you would normally. The extra length will help it maintain more nutrients until it has fully established itself, and then you can keep it at around 2½ or 3 inches long.

Never remove more than ⅓ of your sod at once.

If you wait too long and your sod has grown pretty high, resist cutting it short in one mowing. When you take off more than ⅓ of the height in a single swoop, you send the message to your sod to create more top growth, not roots—and your goal is to have deep, healthy roots to support strong, green sod. If you’ve waited too long, simply raise your mower blades and mow, then wait until later in the week, slightly lower your blades, and mow again.

Mow when it’s cool and your sod is dry.

Pull out the mower a little earlier or later in the day to avoid stressing out your sod in high heat. Once your Scotts® ProVista™ sod is established, keep from watering it a day or so before mowing, and never mow right after a rainfall. Doing that can create a mess of grass clippings stuck together. It can also lead to ruts in the sod if it is really soggy, or even spread disease.

Bag the clippings during the first month of mowing.

While your new sod is getting established and growing roots, it’s best to bag your grass clippings for the first month. Add those clippings to your compost pile, and then once your sod is firmly established, you can leave clippings on the sod surface while mowing. They provide beneficial nutrients while saving you the extra work of hauling it off.

As you can see, putting down Scotts® ProVista™ St. Augustine sod means you’ll do less mowing and more enjoying—just one of its many benefits. A perfectly gorgeous lawn is surely also at the top of that list, so follow these tips to keep it that way. You’ll be good to grow—and mow!

Photo by Shutterstock/Rebekah Perez

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