Having a lush green lawn is the dream of every homeowner. But before you learn how to make the most of your home garden, you should know how to lay sod. Sod is the first seedling of grass that develops a root system to give you the main grass of your lawn. While DIY installation of sod has become popular, especially during the pandemic, it is advised to hire professional landscapers to avoid the risk of wasting money on the wrong grass or installation. If you have decided to take up this project, this article will cover everything you need to know about installing sod.
Tools You Need
Materials you need
Steps for Laying Sod
If you want to build your lawn on your own, follow these steps for installing sod:
Step 1: Prep the Area
Before sod lawn installation, ensure that the top soil is properly raked and evenly spread. Once that is done, sprinkle some water to compact the top soil and moisten it. If you see any small gaps, fill them with topsoil.
Step 2: Lay the First Roll
The first roll should be laid alongside the edges of your lawn like the driveway or the curb. Ensure that it is laid out in a straight line. Follow the brickwork pattern while laying the sod.
Step 3: Position and Unroll Each Roll Row by Row
Once you have unrolled the first row, place your next roll beside the first row and unroll right alongside the first row to make sure there are no gaps. If you are sodding a sloped area, lay the sod horizontally and use stakes to position the sod tightly.
Step 4: Ensure that The Sod Installation Is Done Right from The Edges
Be extra conscious around the edges of your sod. Cut off any uneven edges using a knife and shape the area to contour the curb or the driveway.
Step 5: Level Your Sod with a Lawn Roller
It is important to level the sod once it is laid out. This can be done with a lawn roller. Roll to remove any air pockets. This will also help ensure that the sod is properly attached to the soil. If the new sod seems extremely dry, water the sod rolls before running the roller on them.
Step 6: keep Your Sod Well-Nourished and Hydrated
Once you have installed the sod, immediately water the new sod. Watering the sod will also help it stay fixed on your lawn. Use a sprinkler to avoid the concentration of water in one area of your newly sodded lawn. Water the lawn up to 1 inch and check the penetration by lifting the corners of the sod.
Tips from Sod Farmers
Sod farmers know how to bring out the best from your DIY installation of sod and ensuring that the groundwork is durable for years to come. Here are some tips that you must keep in mind:
Measure Your Lawn Accurately
Take measurements of the area to be sodded with a tape measure. Sod is more expensive than seeding your lawn, and you should only buy what you need to cover the desired area of your property. Ensure that you are purchasing the right type of sod grass for your needs.
Prepare the Soil in A Timely Way
Do not keep the soil you bought for hours before you finally lay it on your lawn. Sod should be laid immediately after it arrives so it is fresh and lively. It is better to prep the lawn before the sod is bought. It is also recommended to remove any remaining pieces of grass if you are not sodding over your existing. Clean the lawn of any rocks, old roots or tiles. While prepping the top soil, add herbicide products to eliminate weeds. However, this should be done 10 to 14 days before the actual sod installation. The amount of fertilizer is recommended to be 1 pound per 100 square feet.
Make Sure that The Sod Is Installed Properly
The installation should be done in a way that there are no gaps. All the pieces should be tightly put together. Once the lawn is sodded, the entire lawn can be watered to up to 10 inches. For the roots to be established, it is important to water the lawn twice daily for 10 to 15 minutes.
Don’t Let Sod Dry Out
Ensure that the sod does not dry out. Do not keep the dod out in direct sunlight without water. Keeping the sod moist is an important part of instaling it correctly. At the same time, ensure that there is no pool of water on the lawn.
Try to Keep Garden Wildlife Away from The Freshly Sodded Lawn
It is common for wild bunnies and racoons around your area to be attracted to the fresh sod soil of your lawn. However, they can nibble and damage your soil and their urine can damage or burn the new sod. This is why should try to keep them away by using garden fences or wires.
Don’t Use a Lot of Chemicals
Always consult a professional before buying or applying any fertilizer to your lawn. With so many fertilizers available in the market today, it is important to use the right for your sod preparation to maintain the natural qualities of your lawn.
Don’t Overdo the Rolling of The Lawn After Freshly Installing the Sod
While rolling of the lawn is important to evenly spread the sod, overdoing it may damage its surface thereby hampering the root establishment.
Don’t Buy Just Any Grass
Buying the right grass is one of the most important tips for laying sod. You should check the type of sod and its nitrogen quantity. You should also inspect the sod to make sure it is free of weeds or it can damage your lawn and cause additional expenditures.
If the ground is prepped right, sod can be installed at any time of the year. However, it is always better to avoid sodding during heavy rainfall or snowfall. If the weather is hot and dry, you should avoid sodding. The best times to sod are during spring and early autumn. This is because the temperature is cool and the rainfall is in the right amount which helps the sod grow roots faster. The best time to lay sod also depends on the kind of grass you are growing. For instance, if you are planning to grow grasses like centipede and zoysia, you should consider slightly warmer temperatures of later spring.
Before you put sod, putting topsoil is important. You should not just spread the topsoil but also level it. Ensure that the ground is covered with at least 3.5 inches of topsoil before you sod it. However, ensure that your last layer of topsoil is 1inch below the edges of your lawn and 1 inch below the driveway, curb and curb. Rolling and compacting the topsoil is an important part of getting it ready for the sod.
Preparing the topsoil is the most important step learn when you are learning how to lay sod. While the topsoil should be moist, it should not be too wet or else there will be mud and laying the sod would become difficult.
While laying sod on existing grass is a popular thing to do among homeowners, it is not the right thing to do. Planting sod on existing grass can hamper the root system, increasing your landscaping efforts and costs in the long run. While sodding on existing grass seems like a quicker way, it may not bring the desired results or may damage your new sod altogether. However, in some cases, old grass can provide nutrients to your new sod and help it grow faster. It is always better to test the nutrient value of old grass and check for any weeds or chemicals that may harm your new sod.
A shallow root system can grow within 2 weeks of laying the sod however, for the root system to be established deeply, it can take up to 6 weeks. During this time, you can reduce the gap between the two daily watering sessions. However, it is still important to ensure that you do not overwater your sod.
While walking on the freshly sodded lawn is a beautiful feeling, you should wait before you do so. You should wait at least 2 weeks before you do so. Walking on the lawn right after sod installation can damage the roots. It takes anywhere between 2 weeks to 1 month for your sod to firm root system. So, while it looks ready for foot traffic, it is not ready yet. You should also avoid digging holes for a mailbox or other garden furnishings if you have sodded it recently.
After laying sod, you should wait for approximately 2 weeks before you mow the lawn. You should allow your grass to grow for up to 4 to 5 inches before mowing the lawn. Mowing the lawn before time can hamper the natural growth of your sod and repress its natural speed of growing. However, during the installation of your sod, you must cut out the extra grass along the curb, sidewalk or driveway of your house.
Once new sod has been laid, you must water your lawn twice a day for 15-20 mins for at least 2 months. Since this sod is fragile, overwatering may cause the soil to die. Overwatering can drown and kill the roots of the sod. This may block the oxygen for the roots which will eventually kill your sod. Even if the water is gone a little above the limit, it can lead to a very shallow root system and your grass may not grow healthy.
Yes, dog urine can kill new sod. This is because of the presence of nitrates in dog urine that are high in amount. A small number of nitrate compounds can be bearable and even good for your new sod. But the number of nitrates in dog urine is high and when it is concentrated on one area, it may burn the sod.
While two months is the recommended time for your dog to be away from your new sod, it is important to at least let the sod set in for two weeks before you allow your dog on it. This is the period required by the new sod to get established into the depths of the soil and start its probiotic activity. At this time, the sod is fragile and prone to urine damage.
While seeding is cheaper, it is also time-consuming and more prone to weeds than sod. Planting sod may have a higher initial installation cost but it requires comparatively lower time to mature. Going for sod over seed also has a quick turnaround time.
Yellow sod means that the sod is dying. However, you can revive it again. Start by identifying the cause of yellowing and test the soil. Using grass-starting fertilizers, mulch and fresh soil can help regrow your lawn. Always consult a landscaper before using any chemicals on your lawn.
Learning sod installation can be tough, especially for new homeowners. Since buying sod and other lawn supplies can be an expensive affair, it is always suggested to consult professional landscapers for this job. At JHC Landscaping Services, you don’t have to worry about the complexities that come with any lawn work. As a professional landscaping company, we not only help you get the right sod for your lawn but also ensure that your lawn remains lush throughout the year.