You will notice, many times when talking about grass, we will use the phrase “once established.” What does that mean exactly, and when is new sod considered to be “established?” Also, what does being established have to do with the durability of the grass? Once it’s been installed, it’s already there, right? Not quite.
Many people believe once the roots have attached to the ground, their grass is established; however, that is not the case. Each variety has a different establishment period. Some can take an entire year before it’s considered to be established; whereas others could be just a few months. The point of establishment is when the roots have grown deep, and the grass can sustain itself with limited watering (check with your local municipality for watering regulations to avoid fines!).
The act of harvesting sod from the farm (i.e., cutting it out of the environment it’s grown in so we can bring it to you) is traumatic on the grass, so you want to take as best care of it as possible to ensure it takes root in its new environment. When it initially arrives at your home, your new sod will have 1/2 – 3/4 of an inch of soil attached (its established roots will be left behind at the farm it was grown at), which does not leave enough soil and roots for that grass to thrive in.
The ultimate goal to guarantee a healthy lawn is to have the deepest grass roots possible. The healthier the roots (i.e., the “base” of your sod), the healthier the green leaf (i.e., the part you see) will be. You can actually “train” your sod roots to grow deeper based on watering schedules. The roots will grow deeper in search for water, as in our hot, Floridian climate, surface water will dry quickly, leaving only the water available in deep, moist soil. While we always recommend watering regularly, over-watering can not only saturate your grass and cause diseases, it can also stunt the growth of your root system, as they become accustomed to always having water available at surface-level.
Your lawn will only ever be as green as your root system is healthy.