Fertilizer For New Sod

Date: July 12, 2022

In order to flourish, grass needs nutrients. The nutrients found in fertilizer improve your grass’s health and growth. There are many different fertilizers on the market. Some are designed for established grass, and some are designed for sod. What sets these two apart, and which is better for your newly installed sod?

One of the main benefits of new sod is the ability to immediately see results. Once your sod has been laid, you will be rewarded with a green lawn. How do you keep it looking great? First, you must know when is the best time to fertilize sod?

What Is Sod and How Is It Harvested?

There are farms across the United States that specialize in growing healthy, grass. When the grass is well established, the sod supplier will harvest the grass and offer it to homeowners much like yourself. A machine will cut the sod and a couple of inches of soil. This method ensures that each piece of sod will have an ample amount of roots to help your sod establish itself quickly. Once the sod has been cut, it is rolled into strips that are sold to lawn services and homeowners.

When Should New Sod Be Fertilized?

Sod suppliers understand the importance of regular fertilization. Sod suppliers follow specific grass fertilization schedules. This schedule is designed to ensure healthy sod that will quickly take root. Therefore, to avoid problems with your sod you will not need to fertilize your sod when it is first installed. Fertilizing too soon can actually prevent your sod from taking root.

We recommend waiting about a month before you fertilize your newly installed sod. To determine if it is time to fertilize your sod, you will need to determine when it first roots. This can be accomplished by gently tugging on the sod. If the sod lifts, it has not rooted. If the sod does not lift, the roots have formed. Once your sod has properly rooted, you can fertilize

What Type of Fertilizer Should I Use on Sod?

The right mix of nutrients is essential for healthy grass. A properly fertilized lawn will look great, keep insects at bay, and reduce the risk of diseases. However, there are many types of fertilizers. The different types of fertilizers have different chemical ratios.

When you look at the label on the bag of fertilizer, you will see three numbers (i.e. 8-0-24, 10-10-10, 17-17-7, etc.). These numbers are also known as the N-P-K ratio.  Each ratio indicates the amount of each chemical included in the fertilizer. For example, a 10-10-10 fertilizer will have. 10 parts of N (nitrogen), 10 parts of P (phosphorous), and 10 parts of K (potassium). Understanding the N-P-K ratio will help you determine the best fertilizer for your new sod.

Each part of the fertilizer offers different benefits. For example, nitrogen (N) helps with the growth and color of your grass. Phosphorus (P) aids in the root development of your grass. Potassium (K) is designed to improve your grass’s overall health.


Nitrogen is one of the components of chlorophyll, which is responsible for giving plants their green color. Nitrogen is essential to established lawns and ensures healthy top growth. However, top growth reduces root growth. Therefore, you do not want a formula that has an excessive amount of nitrogen. Additionally, choose a fertilizer that has slow release nitrogen rather than quick release nitrogen.


Phosphorous enhances root development and is especially important to newly installed sod. When choosing a fertilizer, you want to choose a formula that has an ample amount of phosphorous. Once your sod is established, it will not require a fertilizer with a high amount of phosphorous.


Potassium, sometimes listed as Potash, helps your plants withstand stress. Potassium along with nitrogen thickens the cell walls of your plant, which helps it to withstand disease, drought, and insects.

Newly installed sod can benefit from a fertilizer containing an adequate amount of phosphorus, which aids in healthy root development. You can choose a fertilizer with an N-P-K of 10-20-20 or 16-16-16. This fertilizer should be applied about a month or so after your sod has been installed.

How Much Fertilizer Should I Use

The easiest way to determine how much fertilizer you should use is to read the label on your bag of fertilizer. We recommend applying a light dose of fertilizer one to two months after your sod has been installed. Then, another dose should be applied in about six weeks. After that, you can begin fertilizing as recommended for established lawns.

How to Apply Fertilizer to Your Lawn for Best Results

There are a couple of best practices for fertilizer application. First, you should mow your lawn a day or two before application. This will help the fertilizer to reach the soil level. Carefully read the fertilizer label to determine the appropriate spreader setting to use.

If you are using a drop spreader, make a strip across each end of your lawn. Then, work back and forth across the lawn, slightly overlapping each strip. If you are using a broadcast spreader, begin on the outer perimeter of the lawn and work inwardly, slightly overlapping each row as you go.

If you stop, you will need to shut the hopper to prevent a pile of fertilizer. When you finish your fertilizer application, you will want to sweep all excess fertilizer off all hard surfaces like driveways and sidewalks to prevent fertilizer runoff and iron stains from occurring.

Final Thoughts

When choosing a fertilizer for your newly installed sod, you should look for a fertilizer that is designed for newly installed sod. New sod requires different nutrients than well established grass, which is why you want a formula that is specifically designed for new sod. This type of fertilizer will have a greater amount of phosphorus and a lower amount of nitrogen. Using the recommended type of fertilizer will help your sod root properly and begin to develop.


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Fertilizer For New Sod
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