You just installed new sod a handful of days ago, and when you gaze out across your lawn, you’re starting to see tufts of shaggy grass sticking up here and there. It’s exciting to see this new growth—because it means the sod is still alive and doing its job—but it already has you itching to get the lawnmower out.
Hold on a second, though. Mowing too soon can cause severe damage and may even kill that newly-stalled, expensive sod.
Which raises the question, “how long should you wait to mow new sod?”
A quick internet search pulls up a range of answers, most of them landing right around the two-week mark.
- 12 to 14 days
- 13 to 15 days
- Two weeks
- Between 10 days and 2 to 3 weeks
- Up to 6 weeks if growing conditions are poor
The truth is, though, there isn’t a hard and fast number of days you should wait. Instead, you should take cues from your sod and let it tell you when it needs mowing.
After laying sod, it needs time to send down roots, anchoring the grass into the soil. Within a couple of days of installation, it begins to send out small white roots, but they need some time to develop and become strong enough to anchor the sod to the ground.
So, how do you figure out when your sod is ready to mow?
The best way to determine is to manually check and see how well your newly installed sod is anchored to the soil. If it is mainly attached, the sod is ready to mow.
- Start checking about 10 to 14 days after installation.
- Reach down and grab a handful of the turf as close to the roots as you possibly can.
- Using as little force as needed, try to lift the sod slab from the ground.
- Move around the lawn, performing the “pull” test in a handful of spots on numerous slabs.
If a good portion of the slabs come up when you pull on them, there isn’t good root attachment.
If the majority of the slabs stay in place, the roots have grown down into the soil and have created suitable root attachment. At this point, it’s okay to start prepping to mow your new sod.