6 Tips for Maintaining New St. Augustine Sod in Your Florida Lawn

Posted by Joe Mouad on Sep 30, 2021 2:22:16 PM

If you have a brand new sod lawn of St. Augustine grass, lucky you.

This popular sod is a top contender for the best sod in Orlando with its dark green color, course texture, and dense coverage.

Perfectly adapted to Florida’s climate, it thrives in hot, humid conditions and grows in a variety of soils and light conditions.

But it doesn’t thrive on its own. St. Augustine is considered a “moderate maintenance” grass, needing weekly mowing; frequent watering; fertilization, pest, and disease control six to eight times per year.

And, like all new sod, it needs extra attention when it’s brand new.

How should you maintain new St. Augustine sod?

Let’s take a look.

1. New St. Augustine Sod Care: Water, Water, Water

Water is the single most important part of new St. Augustine sod care.

Your new grass is really thirsty.

Make sure water reaches every area of your lawn. Sprinklers sometimes miss edges and corners, making these spots dry out faster than the center of the lawn.

Keep in mind that areas of sod near buildings, concrete, and asphalt will typically dry out faster due to reflected heat and may need additional water.

sprinklers watering new St. Augustine sod

Water too little, and your sod will wilt and die. Roots dry out quickly, and gaps can appear if the sod loses moisture after installation, causing the pieces to shrink.

Water too much, and disease will set in.

Sound confusing? It is. That’s why we offer very detailed watering instructions in our sod care guide.

In general, it’s a gradual process. You’ll water a couple times a day for the first week, drop back to once a day the second week, and four times a week the third week.

But there are very specific watering instructions for St. Augustine grass maintenance based on your yard’s conditions. That’s why you’ll get detailed instructions for watering new sod in our sod care guide.

new sod being watered by irrigation system

You’ll know what times to water, for how long, and even which of your irrigation heads to use for what amount of time.

The instructions for watering new sod vary, depending on what time of year your sod is installed, and if it's planted in sun or shade.

2. Caring for St. Augustine Sod: Fertilizing

A starter fertilizer will encourage your new sod’s roots to get established.
Fertilizing your new St. Augustine sod will strengthen the roots. The more durable the turf, the less susceptible the grass will be to disease and insects.

New St. Augustine sod

Remember, fertilizing doesn't stop here. Plan to continue feeding your lawn throughout the year to keep it healthy.

3. New St. Augustine Sod Care: Insects, Weeds, and Disease

Your new sod is getting a lot of water at first as it gets established, and that extra moisture can make it susceptible to fungus.

Apply a systemic and curative fungicide within seven days of your sod installation. An insecticide at this time is a good idea, too.

new sod in front of Florida home

What about weeds? Weeds can’t really be controlled during the first few weeks, as weed control products can damage new turf. Weeds are also a natural consequence of the extra water new sod needs, so you’re going to see a few weeds.

Reducing watering according to the schedule we provide, and mowing as soon as you’re able to (more on this in a bit) will help prevent weeds.

4. Go Easy on the Grass

You can walk on your new St. Augustine sod lawn, but avoid any heavy traffic right away. No construction, wheelbarrows, or soccer games until it gets established after a few weeks.

sod root system

You don’t want the fragile root system to tear before it’s fully established. Good St. Augustine sod care after installation gives you a better chance of a thriving lawn later on.

5. St. Augustine Grass Maintenance: Mowing

Hold off on the mowing for a bit.

Mow as soon as you're able to tug on the grass and it feels “tacked” to the ground. This usually happens after about two weeks in the summer and four weeks in the winter.

If the sod isn't starting to tack after this amount of time, that likely means it’s getting too much water.

homeowner mowing new sod

When you mow for the first time, go easy — don’t cut more than one-third of the length the first time.

Don’t leave excess clippings on the ground. Bagging them is best for your new lawn. If that isn’t an option, then rake up the clippings.

6. Maintaining New St. Augustine Sod: Keep an Eye on It

Keep an eye on your new sod lawn as it gets established.

Watch for signs of chewing or browning — this could mean you have fungus, webworms, or your lawn needs more water.

new sod along walkway of home

Don't assume your lawn is dry if it’s turning brown. It might be infested with sod webworms, pests that lay their eggs in the grass. When they hatch, the larvae devours your grass.

If you start watering more, assuming it’s dry, the excess water could cause your sod to rot.

Need help diagnosing the problem? Give us a call.

New St. Augustine Sod Care: Get the Best Tips from Ground Source

You want your new St. Augustine sod to thrive.

That’s what we want, too.

That’s why we provide you with all the information you need to take great care of your fresh, healthy, beautiful sod lawn.

After all, you just made a big investment, and you have big plans for your impressive new yard.

For a deeper dive, check out our comprehensive sod guide.

We’re sod experts, but our skills don’t stop there. We’re with you every step of the way as you plan your perfect outdoor space.

Sod, irrigation, landscape design: Let us transform your Central Florida lawn from an embarrassing eyesore to a place you spend every spare minute.

Are you ready to enjoy the vibrant, impressive yard you've always wanted? Request a quote today! We’ll help you review your options and then transform your property.

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