Walk Softly: How Long to Wait to Use Your Freshly Sodded Lawn

Choosing to install fresh sod is a great choice! You don’t have to wait to have a beautiful lawn. While it is instantly beautiful, you should wait a bit before using it as you would have used your old lawn. You need to ensure that the sod has taken root before using it. The lawn cannot have heavy foot traffic and activity until the root system has established properly.

wait walk softly lawn grass turf ordersodnow patience play walking

Why Should I Wait?

It is commonly understood that you need to wait to use your new lawn, but many people don’t know why! You are waiting until your sod has established a strong enough root system. If you start using your lawn before the roots have established, you are lessening your chances of success. A proper root system can take anywhere from 10 days onward to establish. There are a couple of things you should be doing to ensure the development of a strong root system:

  • Water the sod frequently for the first few weeks so that it doesn’t dry up. A root system cannot develop without proper watering.
  • Do not overwater the area. The sod also cannot take root if it is drowning in too much water. For proper growing conditions check out our Growing Mediums Post.
  • Properly prepare the area before installing your sod. This will make all of the difference in the quality of your lawn! Check out our full How-To guide for full instructions on how to properly install sod.

sod wait turf water walk softly maintenance patience ordersodnow lawn green grass

How Long Should I Wait?

It is typically suggested to wait at least two weeks before using your lawn regularly. We think of this as more of a guideline, as you should really wait to see if your lawn has taken root. It probably will within two weeks, but it is best to be sure before using your lawn.

You can easily check yourself to see if sod has taken root. To do so, gently lift one corner on one of the pieces of sod. If there has been minimal or no root development, there will be almost no resistance when lifted. If you have difficulty lifting the corner, the root system has properly developed. Do this to a couple of pieces of sod in different areas to ensure that rooting has taken place all over the lawn.

Despite having to wait 2 weeks, in order to properly water your sod you will need to walk upon your lawn. This is definitely a must, you simply need to walk on it lightly and as minimally as possible. You also need to mow your lawn 6-7 days after installation. This is a step that cannot be missed, so again, be sure to walk softly when mowing for the first time, and follow careful directions.

lawn mower mow turf grass wait walk softly maintenance green landscaping landscape yard work

Well Worth the Wait

Waiting for two weeks may seem like a long time to not be using your lawn. Just think, it takes 3 or 4 times as long if you are using seed before you can use your lawn! It is definitely easier to wait 2 weeks than to wait 2 months. It pays off to be patient… the results are well worth the wait!

43 Responses

  1. Rahni Alasri says:

    I have a pretty big job and my client wants sod I’ve never worked with it before but I’ve read most of the information on your page about it is there any other tips of help you can help me with I just opened my landscaping and lawn care company this summer and I just need some help with the sod situation

    • Cameron Shimoda says:

      Hey Rahni,

      Just remember to get the sod laid, and get water to it as quickly as possible! You do not want your sod sitting on the skid for long at all. It is a perishable product and the quicker you can return sod to the soil, the better. Try to water the sod deeply, and pay close attention to the watering schedule to ensure that the new lawn is properly hydrated.

      All the best and happy landscaping!

  2. Lloyd says:

    I have had new turf laid 2 weeks ago however it didnt have a pre fertilser done. How long should i wait to feed the lawn?

    • Cameron Shimoda says:

      Hey Lloyd!

      You can fertilize your lawn anytime now! Try to pull up a corner of your new lawn and be sure that it is starting to root.

      We recommend using a fertilizer with a high middle number (phosphorous) when feeding a new lawn because the phosphorous encourages root growth!

      All the best and happy fertilizing,

      Cameron
      -OrderSodNow

  3. Margo says:

    Is it ok to sod during the summer when we have hot temperatures?

    • Cameron Shimoda says:

      Hey Margo,

      Laying sod in the middle of summer is difficult, but not impossible. The hot temperatures mean that the sod will be stressed, and it won’t survive as long when harvested and stacked on a skid. When the temperature is higher than 20C, we recommend getting the sod laid as quickly as possible.Typically we recommend customers to have the sod laid within 6 hours of harvest. Also, watering is much more labour intensive in the summer, seeing as the hot sun will evaporate a lot of the water that your lawn needs to establish. The ideal times for laying sod are in the spring, and fall since precipitation is higher, and temperatures are lower; you will need less water, and the sod will survive rolled up much longer.

      All the best Margo,

      Cameron
      -OrderSodNow

  4. Thank you for pointing out the importance of watering the lawn for a few weeks after sodding and that it cannot grow if there is not enough water. If that is the case, then I will be sure to keep an eye out for the watering since I am planning to give sodding a try. The part about water got my attention because we have yet to have a sprinkler installed. Due to this, I need to pay extra attention to the watering.

    • Cameron Shimoda says:

      Hey Dino,

      Yes, water is key to proper sod establishment! If you are having an irrigation system installed, that is ultimately the best. Getting full coverage of your new lawn, and watering it in a timely manner will help with establishment immensely. Just remember to water deeply when establishing sod, in contrast to the frequent misting that grass seed requires.

      All the best,

      Cameron
      -OrderSodNow

  5. Lisa says:

    I’m curious why you said to now the lawn after 6-7 days?

    • Cameron Shimoda says:

      Hey Lisa,

      Mowing your lawn actually encourages root growth! When establishing sod, root growth is the most important metric. The more vigorously the roots are growing, the faster your sod will establish and the sooner your new lawn will be ready to enjoy. Carefully mowing your freshly sodded lawn after a week of intensive water and care will promote root growth and help your sod establish faster. One of the most common mistakes during sod installs is waiting too long to mow after install. 🙂

      All the best Lisa,

      Cameron
      -OrderSodNow

  6. Mark Malone says:

    Prior to sodding should the ground be wet first? Do you need starter fert on the ground first?

    • Cameron Shimoda says:

      Hey Mark,

      You don’t want the ground to be wet when laying sod. It will be very easy to disturb, and your footprints will leave imprints that can show after sodding. Starter fertilizer on the ground can help with establishment greatly! You can either spread it on the underlying soil, or you can spread it after you have laid your sod. 🙂

      All the best,

      Cameron
      -OrderSodNow

  7. Zach says:

    Hi, I have a newly sodded lawn and in my area we have had record setting rain for the month of july. 16+ ” and my front lawn is very squishy under the sod but the grass blades are appearing wilted. Is it over watered or under watered?

    • Cameron Shimoda says:

      Hey Zach,

      If the underlying soil feels so squishy, there’s a chance that your lawn has been over-watered. The best way to check is to try and lift a corner of your lawn and see if your sod has started to root. If the lawn was over or under watered, it won’t root properly. It’s tough for me to make an assessment without pictures, but checking for roots is a good first step. Remember that when managing water for a freshly sodded lawn, you want the water to penetrate the sod and go down deep. Also, in contrast to watering seed, you want to water less-frequently. I hope that your lawn will start to look better soon!

  8. Ashley says:

    I had sod laid down the first week of June (so a good 9 weeks ago). My kids desperately want there trampoline up. I was going to wait till the following summer but do you think it’s okay to set it up now? It’s green and growing and has been cut about 4 times now. Thanks

    • Cameron Shimoda says:

      Hey Ashley!

      Trampolines can wreak havoc on a lawn, since all grasses require between 4-6 hours of sunlight per day. It will totally shade the area underneath and you can’t expect very much growth, if any, from this area of your lawn. If you’re going to set it up, I would suggest moving it around your yard periodically to make sure that your lawn is getting the proper amount of sunlight, and even moving it off the lawn completely when it’s not in use. This goes for newly established lawns, as well as for lawns that are many years old. Proper sunlight and water are essential for a healthy lawn, so if you’re really concerned about your grass, I would be very careful as to how long you leave the trampoline out for.

      I hope this helps, and don’t hesitate to ask any further questions 🙂

      All the best,

      Cameron
      -OrderSodNow

  9. Corey says:

    I laid 4500 sqft of sod 2 weeks ago tomorrow. I have already cut my lawn once as it was growing fast. It grew to 5 1/2″ in the first week.. My grass is flourishing more then I could of imagined. The sod has rooted nicely but I am still hesitant to let the kids play. on it. They want the badminton net to be set up and soccer nets. I have tried lifting corners in different areas and the roots have already taken. Is the longer we wait the better? I am thinking another week to play it safe. What do you think?

    • Cameron Shimoda says:

      Hey Corey,

      I would err on the side of caution! Very good idea checking the roots at a corner, but I would make sure that you can’t lift up the corner at all before letting your kids play hard on it. Also, try to move the badminton and soccer nets around your yard so that certain traffic hot spots don’t get worn down. It’s very easy for spots like goal mouths to get completely trampled, and rotating the position will help your lawn immensely!

      All the best,

      Cameron
      -OrderSodNow

  10. C Smith says:

    Our sod was laid a week and a half ago but I’m worried we’ve over watered (also accidentally left the hose on for an hour last night!). Should we leave the watering for a few days? It’s generally cold and on off rainy at the moment anyway.
    Also could we do anything to encourage root growth- fertiliser or anything? I think the gardener put some down before laying the sod but not too sure.

    Finally, there are some gaps between the sod in some places and weeds are growing through – can you advise what’s best to do please? Thank you.

    • Cameron Shimoda says:

      Hey There!

      Thank you for your comment. Overwatering is a possibility. In order to establish properly, your new lawn needs the proper balance of water, sunlight, nutrients, and air. Pay close attention to your lawn for the next few days, and try to ensure that your sod is drying up a bit through the day. You do NOT want your sod to be drowning. The new roots require proper air circulation to establish properly. The cool weather and increased precipitation will definitely help, but I would still suggest watering daily. Just back off a bit on how long you are watering for. As a rule of thumb, water until you can lift a corner of your sod and see that water has penetrated to the soil layer. That’s also a good way to gauge how well your sod is establishing. Lift a corner of your sod to see if new roots are establishing. If your gardener already applied fertilizer, I wouldn’t suggest applying more. As for the gaps in your sod with weeds growing through, this is evidence of an improper installation! Your sod should have been laid tightly together. At this point, I would suggest letting your lawn establish, and then trying to fill in the gaps with overseeding next year. You can read all about Overseeding here: https://blog.bigyellowbag.com/lawn-overseeding/ Let me know if you have any further questions or concerns and I hope your lawn is on its way to recovery 🙂

  11. Ali says:

    We are planning to put sod down this spring. I am planning my 6 year olds birthday party for the last weekend in June. I anticipate about 15 kids to be running around my yard. Whats the earliest date I should have the sod put down to prevent any damage? Thanks

    • Cameron Shimoda says:

      Hey Ali,

      Sod typically takes around 2 weeks to establish a decent root base, however we recommend keeping traffic off your fresh sod for about a month after laying it to ensure proper establishment! Try and get your new lawn installed as soon as you can though to make sure that it is completely established by the time you have a bunch of kids running around on it. Remember that the maintenance after installation is incredibly important, so pay close attention to your watering and first few mows.

      All the best,

      Cameron
      -OrderSodNow

  12. Jimi says:

    Hi, I laid sod down and shortly after watering for the first time, my 300lb (autistic) son walked all over it, and now it’s all lumpy! What should I do? Will it die?

    • Cameron Shimoda says:

      Hey Jimi and thanks for your comment.

      I’m sorry to hear that your new lawn is in rough shape. The disruption to the underlying soil shouldn’t totally kill your grass, but it could create problem areas. The suggested remedy really depends on a lot of factors, like how long the sod has been laid for, and how much of your lawn is actually damaged. I would recommend taking some pictures of your lawn and sending them in to your local sod farm for assessment!

      All the best and good luck,

      Cameron
      -OrderSodNow

  13. Emily says:

    We are getting sod laid this weekend. How long until we can let the dogs on it a little for bathroom breaks? they are both right at 40 lbs.
    also, how can you tell if you are over or under watering once laid?

    • Cameron Shimoda says:

      Hey Emily,

      Thanks for your comment! Be very careful with the dogs on your freshly laid sod. We recommend keeping foot and pet traffic off the lawn for at least the first couple weeks until your sod can firmly take root. Walking can easily shift your sod around and that is not good at all for establishment. As far as the dogs bathroom breaks go, this is a point of contention even with established lawns! Dog spots (or dead spots in your lawn) occur when they do their business in the same spot a lot, or even if they go out on a hot day and the urine doesn’t get washed into the lawn properly. Urine is very high in nitrogen and that’s why it can burn your lawn if you don’t dilute it. So, in sum, try and keep your pets off for at least the first couple weeks, and then when they go for a bathroom break, be sure to water the spot in to dilute that nitrogen. (In the meantime, I hope there is a spot off the new lawn you can take them out to.) During the first month of new lawn maintenance, you want to be very careful about watering. You can make sure you’ve watered enough by lifting a corner of your sod and checking to ensure the water has penetrated the sod and made the underlying soil moist. We typically recommend watering your sod with about a half inch of water within the first 15-30 minutes of installation. You can use a rain gauge or simply set a can out under your sprinkler and mark where a half inch is. Just always remember to check under the sod for moisture and you should be set. Water daily for the first week, then every other day during the second, then twice a week after that, always leaving a day between watering and your weekly mow so that it’s not soaking wet for your lawn mower. Sorry for the novel of a reply, but watering is serious business! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      All the best,

      Cameron
      -OrderSodNow

      • Kerry says:

        Hi, we are looking at laying some sod ourselves and our soil is very clay-ey. How can I prepare it so the sod takes root successfully?

        • Cameron Shimoda says:

          Hey Kerry,

          Best practices for land preparation include adding some nutrient rich soil, rototilling, and then levelling with rakes. Especially with a heavy clay soil base, you will want to mix in a loamy soil. Always remember to remove the existing turf first! If you’re renting a sod cutter, this can suffice instead of a rototiller but just be sure to loosen that clay soil base and mix in some new soil before laying your fresh sod. You can see our 7 steps to easy sod installation in this blog post: https://ordersodnow.com/blog/2018/05/10/fresh-sod-7steps/

          Hope this helps Kerry and don’t forget, green side up!

          Cameron
          -OrderSodNow

          • Kerry says:

            Hi thanks so much for your blog and advice! Our sod has successfully rooted and it looks great!

  14. Carol Bicknese says:

    Hi we had sod put down 12 days ago. The lawn service company came today and cut the grass (I had told them to wait until next week).
    In a few spots I can see where the mower tires must have sunk a bit – we have had lots of rain here in New Jersey since the sod was put down.
    Is there anything we should do at the moment for those sunken areas or should we just wait and be patient to see if it fills in on its own. Thank you-

    • Cameron Shimoda says:

      Hey Carol,

      Your situation is concerning… It has been raining SO much that I’d be worried about your new sod being oversaturated! When your new sod gets TOO much water, it’s roots won’t go looking for it and so they won’t tap-in to the soil and establish properly. First and foremost I would confirm that your sod is rooting by lifting a corner of one of the pieces and check to see if the roots are establishing. Your lawn service company was wise to want to cut your new lawn, because we actually recommend cutting new sod after 7 days of installation to encourage more root growth. However in such wet conditions, there’s a chance your lawn wasn’t able to establish and mowing could have been detrimental. I wouldn’t think a push mower could leave impressions in the lawn, but it has been really wet. Perhaps the mower just pushed some pieces of sod around leaving gaps? Have a close look at your new lawn and readjust any pieces of sod that were displaced. You should be backing off on the water (if you haven’t already) especially with so much rain. At this point, impressions left by the mower will be tough to fix, but a topdressing application with some quality soil and a roll at the end of the year will help level things out. If you are really worried about your lawn, I would reach out to your local sod supplier, Pine Island Turf Nursery and see if they can help diagnose the issue better! Let me know how things work out Carol and thanks for your comment!

      All the best,

      Cameron
      -OrderSodNow

  15. Sophia says:

    Hi, I have just had new turf laid last week and yesterday I left the water on for about 1hr & 30mins – by mistake! – is this going to kill off the grass?

    • Cameron Shimoda says:

      Hey Sophia,

      Thanks for your comment. That must have been frustrating! It sounds like you’ve been diligent with your new lawn but those mistakes happen. It shouldn’t be totally detrimental to your lawn as long as it is able to dry up a bit. Hopefully you’re following the sod watering schedule properly and you should be watering about every other day at this point. Pay close attention to your lawn and ensure that it is starting to develop white roots by gently lifting a corner of your new sod. You don’t want to drown your lawn, so just monitor soil moisture and allow things to dry up a bit before watering again!

      Let me know if you have any further concerns Sophia and thanks again,

      Cam
      -OrderSodNow

  16. Jess says:

    Hi,
    We just laid sod down in our back yard last night (Tuesday). We have a party scheduled for Saturday and were planning to put a small, toddler size bounce house outside on the lawn. Would you recommend against that? Its lightweight and would only be 1 small child bouncing.

    • Cameron Shimoda says:

      Hey Jess,

      I would in fact recommend against that. During the first couple of weeks you should be very careful about any activity on your new lawn. Your sod hasn’t properly established yet and its roots are small and delicate. Any shifting can be detrimental to a successful install. If there is another location you can set up the bouncy castle, I would recommend it!

      All the best and have fun,

      Cam
      -OrderSodNow

  17. Richard Murphy says:

    I am in the process of having installed a new 5,700 sq ft backyard of St. Augustine Palmetto sod. Most of the sod is down, minus 1 pallet. This is being laid on typical West-Central (Pinellas County, a peninsula) ] Florida, which is mostly) sandy soil, little top soil like dirt. The crew laying the sod did NOT do it correctly (no staggered rows). And the Sod farm cut the Muck grown Sod to two different thicknesses, which were all interspersed when laid. Starter Fertilizer has been applied. I am watering 0 to 1 to 2 times a day (depends on rain) with Potable Water as my Well Pump is kaput!
    It is now 13 June. Next weekend, 21-22-23 June, after ALL Sod is laid, I plan to use a ONE (1) TON, Two-Drum Vibrating Rider ROLLER. to compact and level the SOD. The 1 ton is recommended by my Sod company owner and confirmed by rental company (said a lot of his landscape customers use the one ton roller). I am not aware of the roller’s maneuverability. Yard is pretty open on 3 sides and has a straight border on the 4th side. Your many above answers impress me as to you’re being very well informed. SO, I wish to ask; Do you see or foresee any mistakes or omissions on my part??? Any suggestions to offer?

    • Cameron Shimoda says:

      First off Richard, congratulations on your new lawn! That’s a big project and despite your reservations, it sounds like things will turn out just fine with how diligent you’ve been. The not staggered rows and varying thickness of the sod is concerning, however so long as things are greening up and taking root, I wouldn’t be too worried. That is a big roller and maneuverability will be a point of contention. Try to make very gradual turns and utilize the 3 open sides to make maneuvers off the lawn. Rolling should help immensely to level the new sod, and also remove air pockets to improve the sod’s ability to establish roots. With all that sandy soil, my only suggestion would be to be very careful with watering. You’ll want to ensure total water coverage especially if you get some blazing hot days in the near future. I truly appreciate your comprehensive comment Richard and I hope I provided even just a little bit of insight! Let me know if you have any further questions!

  18. Angel says:

    Hi I installed the some sod on the 8th of this month and plan on having a rather large party on the 29th. I am about 5 days in and I tell the sod is rooting it’s becoming very tuff to tug. Would foot traffic from a large party completely ruin my sod?

    • Cameron Shimoda says:

      Hey Angel,

      While the large party might not totally RUIN your new lawn, it could create complications… I would just continue to monitor the grass during establishment and make a decision closer to the date of your party! We typically say to walk softly for at least the first two weeks. Depending on how large of a party we’re talking, heavy foot traffic could hinder even the healthiest grass. Perhaps just leave some signs out or let your guests know that it is a new lawn and to be gentle with it! I hope these tips help and I also hope you have a blast at your party 🙂

  19. Carroll Gilbreath says:

    I had bermuda grass installed 7 weeks ago. At what length should I mow the grass? I have been mowing it at 4 inches, twice. I’ve heard that 3 inches is the appropriate height to mow.

    • Cameron Shimoda says:

      Hey Carroll,

      I don’t have extensive expertise on Bermuda grass, but I’m sure the farm you purchased it from would have a recommended maintenance height. Just keep in mind that you never want to take more than one third of the grass blade off when you mow, so if you’re going to bring it down, do it gradually over a few weeks.

      All the best and enjoy your new lawn,

      Cam
      -OrderSodNow

  20. It was interesting to read that you should wait two weeks before using your lawn after laying down sod. My parents just got a new house and are thinking about laying down grass sod instead of growing a lawn. I’ll be sure to let them know that they’ll have to wait a couple of weeks to use it if they go that route!

    • Cameron Shimoda says:

      That’s right Laurel! Be sure to give your lawn time to establish before allowing much if any foot traffic.

      Happy sodding,

      Cam
      -OrderSodNow

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