Maintenance

Maintaining Your New Sod

With proper care, your new lawn will provide beauty and increased curb appeal for your home or business. The following are some basic tips to encourage a healthy lawn.

Watering

Once your new sod has been installed it is very important that it receives the proper amount of moisture. As soon as your new sod has been laid you should begin by applying water twice a day, giving the sod about 2-3 cm (1 inch) of water per session. It is best to water in the early morning and late evening. This watering schedule should be maintained for about one week.

After the first week you can reduce your watering to once daily, but still providing 2-3cm (1 inch) per session. This schedule should be maintained for about another 7-10 days or until the new sod has firmly rooted into the ground.

Weather will also affect the way that you care for your new sod. Use common sense when adjusting watering for changes in weather. A strong wind on a hot day will dry out sod very fast and watering should be adjusted accordingly. If there is more than 2-3cm (1inch) of rain that falls in a day, you may only have to water once or not at all. A good rule to follow is that your new sod should not be allowed to dry out at any time until firm roots have established.

Once your new sod has become established, with firm roots and new grass growth is visible, you should reduce your watering sessions. Watering twice a week for about 30 min sessions should be sufficient to maintain a healthy lawn.

Try to avoid excessive use of your new lawn for at least 2-3 weeks. This will ensure that the roots are firmly established and that your lawn will remain smooth.

Fertilizing

You will not need to fertilize your new sod for at least 4-6 weeks. The new sod will have had plenty of fertilizer applied to it before it was cut, and Aspen Grove Landscaping will have applied a starter fertilizer to the soil before installing the sod. This fertilizer is high in Phosphorus (the middle number in the ratio) and will help in establish root growth.

After about four to six weeks, you can start a regular fertilizing program with a product that has a higher Nitrogen ratio. (the first number in the ratio)

The three main nutrients required by turfgrass are included in most lawn fertilizers. These are nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium.

N (Nitrogen)
Promotes leaf and blade growth and increases density of the turf.
P (Phosphorous)
Essential for healthy root development and aids in drought tolerance.
K (Potassium)
Important for resistance against disease and stress.

Mowing

You can begin mowing your new sod as soon as the roots have established in the ground, this ensures the sod will not not be sucked into the mower or displaced. A good rule to follow is to not remove more than 1/3 of the blade of grass at one cutting, and mow more frequently to get the desired height, rather than removing too much at one time.

It is also important to keep new sod a bit longer in length until the roots become more established. This allows the new sod to focus on root development, rather than recovering from a cutting. Keeping the grass longer will also help to keep the sod from drying out as fast.

Maintaining Your New Trees & Shrubs

Calgary’s climate presents unique challenges for growing trees and shrubs. The weather is often unpredictable and rapidly fluctuating temperatures can result in heavy snow in mid-May to warm Chinooks in the depth of winter can make. However with proper care and maintenance it is possible to have healthy trees and shrubs.

Watering

It is crucial to properly water your trees and shrubs throughout the first and second year after planting. Too much or too little water is the main reason plants do not survive their first year.

Large Trees

For large trees, water every couple days for the first few weeks. Fill tree well up with water until overflowing. If there is no tree well, then let garden hose trickle 2 ft from trunk of tree for 15 minutes. When in doubt, wait a couple days, then dig down a foot deep beside the root ball of your tree. The soil should be moist – if it’s hard and dry then increase the amount of water. After three weeks of watering 2-3 times a week, you can decrease watering to once a week, unless it is really hot – then you may want to water every couple days.

Shrubs

For shrubs, water everyday for the first week. Then gradually decrease to once a week for the rest of that year. Again, if it is really hot, then watering every day or two may be necessary. Location, species and soil will play a large role in how much water a shrub needs.

A good rule of thumb is 1 Gallon (4.5L) of water per foot of height or spread (whichever is greater) once a week. For example, if you have a shrub that is 2ft tall, then it would need 2 Gallons (9L) of water once a week. Keep this rule of thumb going for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd year. After that your shrubs should only need water during periods of hot summer weather, during blooming and fruit production, and just before freezing.

To increase chance of survival of your tree or shrub, decrease amount of water in early fall so that the plant growth slows down. This will prepare the plant for dormancy. Keeping in mind that you will need to water them a week or so before the ground is going to freeze. If the plants go through winter with dry soil they are more likely to get winter burn, suffer or even die. Do not water your tree or shrub during a Chinook. This may cause your frozen root ball to thaw out. The idea is to keep the root ball frozen until springtime, when energy from the roots goes back up into the branches to create new growth.

Fertilizing

Aspen Grove Landscaping will fertilize and water every shrub and tree when planted, so it is not necessary to fertilize again until a couple months after planting. During the first year, fertilize every 2-3 months, and after that just in the spring and fall. Using organic substances (eg. compost, manure, bone/blood meal) for fertilizer is safer, and also easier to use. Synthetic and chemical fertilizers are beneficial when used carefully and in the recommended quantity. If too much is applied it can burn the roots.

Pruning

We recommend to not do any pruning for the first year after planting. You do not want to cause any shock to the shrub/tree, as it is trying to become established in it’s new ‘home’. Pruning is an art and a science, doing it improperly can result in problems. Knowing when, how and where to cut demands that you understand the species of tree or shrub that you are pruning. Some require more work than others. Pruning is not essential for your plant’s survival, however it can dramatically change the look of your garden and aesthetics of your plants. When pruning always remember to remove damaged, diseased, or dead branches.