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Why You Should Keep Your Dog off New Sod: Paws Off the Grass

Are you a proud new homeowner with a backyard that’s just been fitted with fresh, gorgeous strips of sod? Or maybe you’re renovating your lawn and have just completed the installation of expensive and lush green grass.

Either way, if you own a furry friend, it’s essential to consider whether or not to let them play on the new grass. This article explores the potential damage your pet can cause to new sod and how long to wait before letting them go wild on it.

It may seem like a trivial concern at first glance, but it could save you plenty of money in replacement costs down the line if you take preventative measures now. One thing is certain: dogs love nothing more than running on fresh grass.

But allowing them to romp around too soon can be harmful both for the grass and your wallet. So, let’s dive into why it’s important to consider keeping your furry friend off new sod until it’s properly established.

What is new sod?

New sod is the grass that has recently been installed and has not yet had time to establish its roots in the soil fully. It usually comes in rolls or pieces and quickly transforms a lawn or garden area.

New sod can be made from different types of grass, including Bermuda, fescue, or St. Augustine. New sod differs from established grass because it has not yet had time to develop a deep root system, which makes it more vulnerable to damage from foot traffic, pets, and other sources of stress.

It also requires special care in order to thrive and grow into a healthy lawn. Proper watering, fertilization, and mowing are essential for helping new sod establish roots and become strong.

The Importance of Properly Caring for New Sod

Proper care is critical for new sod because it needs time to establish itself in the soil before it can withstand the normal stresses of everyday use. New sod may struggle to take root, grow unevenly without proper care, or even die altogether. Watering is one of the most important components of caring for new sod because young grass needs plenty of moisture to establish its roots.

Typically, you should water newly installed sod twice a day for the first two weeks after installation. After that period, you can gradually reduce the watering frequency as long as your lawn continues to grow well.

Fertilization is also essential when caring for new sod since young grass needs nutrients to develop strong roots and blades. You can use organic or chemical fertilizers on your lawn but follow package instructions carefully so you don’t over-fertilize your lawn.

Mowing helps maintain healthy turf by promoting vigorous growth while preventing weed infestations from taking hold in your yard’s lush surroundings. Be sure not to cut too low too soon though; wait until your newly installed turf has reached a height of approximately 3 inches to start mowing.

Why should you keep your dog off new sod?

New sod is a costly investment that requires attention and cares to establish properly. Unfortunately, dogs can cause significant damage to new grass if allowed to play on it too soon. Not only can they leave urine spots or dig holes, but their running and playing can also uproot the newly laid sod before it has had time to establish its roots in the soil properly.

Allowing your dog to run around on new sod too soon may also cause soil compaction, which makes it more difficult for the grass roots to penetrate deep into the soil. This can lead to patchy and uneven growth as some areas of the lawn receive more nutrients than others.

The Potential Damage That Dogs Can Cause To New Sod

The potential damage that dogs can cause on newly laid sod is immense. Dogs love nothing more than running around, digging holes, rolling, and playing in the yard. All of these actions result in a lot of foot traffic, putting pressure on the freshly laid turf, killing some of it instantly.

Additionally, their urine and feces contain high amounts of nitrogen which could burn or discolor parts of your lawn, leading to yellowing spots. Their urine could also make it harder for grass seeds in those areas affected by nitrogen buildup to grow well if you plan on planting seeds there again.

The Risks of Allowing Your Dog to Play on New Sod Too Soon

If you allow your dog onto freshly laid turf before it has had time for its roots system to develop adequately, then they risk doing irreparable harm. The roots need time (usually around one month) for their growth so that they can anchor themselves firmly into the ground before any traffic goes over them.

If you let them out before this period is up, they could easily pull up chunks of grass or even destroy the entire area. The best way to keep them safe is by keeping them off the grass and providing an alternative outdoor space for them until the time has elapsed.

How long should you keep your dog off new sod?

One of the most common questions pet owners have when installing new sod is how long they need to keep their dogs off of it. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer since the time required for the roots to establish can vary depending on a variety of factors. However, as a general rule of thumb, it’s recommended that you wait at least two weeks before allowing your dog to play on newly-laid sod.

After two weeks, check the roots by gently pulling up a corner of the sod. If it resists being lifted, then it should be safe for your dog to play on without causing damage.

If there is still some resistance but not much, wait another week or so before trying again. If it lifts easily or comes up in clumps, then it needs more time to establish.

Why it’s important to wait until the roots are established

It’s essential that you allow time for root establishment because this ensures that the grass takes hold and becomes better able to withstand daily wear and tear from pets like dogs running around in circles or digging in one spot over and over again. Newly laid sod is delicate and can be easily damaged if not given enough time for its root system to develop.

Once established, though – usually after two weeks – newly-laid sod becomes much more resilient against pets playing rough around them or walking on them, and it will be able to withstand their activities without showing any visible signs of wear or tear. So, while it may be tempting to let your furry friend out on that fresh patch of grass right away, waiting a couple of weeks until the roots have been established is the best way to ensure your lawn stays healthy and looks great for years to come.

Alternatives to keeping your dog off new sod

It’s understandable that you don’t want to keep your furry friend from enjoying the outdoors, especially during the warmer months. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can exercise your dog without causing any damage to your newly installed grass. One option is taking your pup on a walk around the neighborhood or local park.

This allows them to get some fresh air and exercise while giving the sod time to root itself properly. If you have a larger yard or space available, consider creating a designated play area for your dog that’s away from the new sod.

You can section off an area with fencing or even use temporary barriers like planters or hedges. Be sure to include toys and other objects that will encourage play and exercise.

Ways to protect the grass while still allowing your dog outside

If keeping your pup off of the new sod altogether isn’t an option, there are still ways you can protect it from damage. One method is using a temporary barrier like chicken wire or plastic netting over the top of it. This will prevent dogs from digging into the soil and help protect any exposed roots.

Another option is investing in a specialized cover for new sod that’s made specifically for pet owners. These covers are typically made of mesh material that allows water and sunlight through but still prevents dogs from digging into or running across the grass.

Ultimately, protecting new sod requires vigilance on behalf of pet owners. With proper training and care, however, it’s possible for both pets and homeowners alike to enjoy their outdoor spaces without compromising either one!


New sod is a significant investment that requires proper care to establish strong roots and grow into lush, green grass. By keeping your dog off new sod until the roots are well-established, you can prevent damage and ensure your grass is healthy for years. Remember to provide alternative exercise options for your furry friend during this time.

While it may be challenging to keep your pup off the new sod initially, the benefits of waiting far outweigh potential damage costs. Avoiding costly repairs or replacements down the line will save you time and money in the long run.

And ultimately, by properly caring for your new sod, you’ll have a beautiful yard that both you and your dog can enjoy together. So be patient, wait until those roots take hold, and watch as your lawn flourishes into a beautiful oasis!

About Author

Skyler Day is a dedicated garden enthusiast who finds joy in all things related to planting and gardening. With a green thumb and a wealth of knowledge about plants and gardening techniques, she loves to share her tips and tricks with fellow enthusiasts. When she’s not in the garden, she enjoys hiking and exploring the great outdoors.

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