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.

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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.

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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!

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20 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,


  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,


  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,


  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,


  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,


  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,


  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,


  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 🙂

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