Let us see detail steps how to lay sod? Dull surroundings are a total turn off to anyone – whether home lawns or even commercial spaces. Don’t you just admire your neighbor’s well-manicured lawns and wished yours looked just as neat? Well, you can stop wishing and start somewhere. When it comes to a neat-looking and healthy lawn, look for nothing else but sod to lay both on your front and back spaces. Sometimes, you don’t even need a professional to help you in laying the sod, it could be a DIY activity that I promise you will find very gratifying.
What is sod and why should you choose it for your lawn?
I might be speaking about sod yet not everyone understands what it is as we come from diverse backgrounds. Some of us come from areas where there is natural turf growing everywhere and so have never thought about using sod on our spaces.
Sod comes from already established grass and it’s usually dug up with some soil and roots on it. It’s harvested in strips and rolled up ready for either transportation to another site far away or nearby.
Unlike seed which takes longer to grow, usually around six weeks for you to notice the nice carpet-like look, sod once laid provides that instant neat-looking lawn even before the establishment of the roots. Apart from the visual appeal, sod grass is weed free and helps to control dust and eliminate soil erosion.
Sod also gives you the ability to blend different types of grass depending on your preference and the area where you need to lay it. That’s why it can be used in different areas like football pitches, home lawns or even golf courses.
Types of sod grass
There are different types of sod grass found in different regions. However, some of the commonly known types include:
- Fine Fescue
- Kentucky Bluegrass
- Tall Fescue
- St. Augustine
- Perennial Ryegrass
Choosing the best sod for your lawn
There are so many factors that will influence the type of sod to install on your lawn. The soil type matters a lot when it comes to the different types of sod. Some sod grasses thrive well in warm climate while others do well in cold climate.
If you stay in warm areas or are planning to install your sod during the warm season, then consider sod grass like Bermuda, Centipede or Zoysia. For those in cold climatic regions or those planning to install their sod during the cold weather season, you can consider planting Kentucky Bluegrass, Tall Fescue or Fine Fescue.
Also, different sod maintenance practices will depend on the type of sod you have installed and the general weather conditions at the time.
Steps to take in laying down your sod
Don’t know where to start in laying your sod? No worries. Here are steps for you to take from preparing the soil up to laying the sod and ensuring you maintain a healthy and beautiful surrounding for your home and commercial spaces.
Preparing the soil for sod
Before you even think about laying your sod, preparing the soil upon which you will lay the sod is very important. Knowing the type of soil you have will go along way in ensuring that you are providing the right base and environment for your sod to grow.
- If you have an existing lawn, you need to dig it out or use a herbicide to kill it. This is because sod is only laid on bare ground.
- You need to till about four to six inches deep ensuring that you remove any unwanted vegetation and rocks.
- Mix the topsoil with some compost manure using a rototiller, unless the area where you want to put the sod is small. Ensure that you remove any unwanted substances from the soil while doing the mixing.
- You then need to test the soil. You could do this by testing its PH and nutrient content either yourself or by using a specialist. It usually takes roughly 14 days for results to be out, then you can make adjustments if need be before laying down your sod.
- You will then level the lawn by using a rake.
- Also, while preparing the soil, you need to measure the total area upon which you are going to lay the sod. This will make it easier to know just how much sod will be needed. This is mostly measured in square feet.
Laying the sod
You can now order your sod once your ground is ready.
- Make sure that the sod is delivered within 24 hours of cutting it to maintain its freshness. You should also lay it on the same day it is delivered before it starts drying up because it’s very perishable. In case of any delays, put it in a shade and make sure the pieces are well moistened.
- Water the area to dampen the soil before laying the sod.
- You can now begin to install the sod, making sure you start with the longest sides of the lawn from the outer edges. If you have a longer edge, you may need several strips of sod to lay making sure that you pat it down against the soil and press the edges together firmly without overlapping.
- Then lay the inside rows, cutting the pieces appropriately without leaving any gaps to expose the seams. For those who have provision for sprinklers, you need to cut out small holes for the sprinkler heads as required.
- Once you’re done laying the sod, use a roller to press it on to the topsoil. This ensures that the sod’s roots hold firmly against the soil and eliminates any air pockets formed while laying the sod.
Watering the new sod
Cheers to your new lawn! At this stage, the lawn already looks beautiful, yet the sod has just been laid. The key thing now is how to take care of it and maintain the beautiful appearance.
Once the sod has been laid down and compacted, it is now time for watering.
- You need to water the sod immediately after laying it to help it not only settle well on the soil, but to moisten the roots as well.
- Keep on watering at least once every day, especially in the morning, keeping off traffic to let the roots establish for about seven days.
- After that, you can reduce the amount of water so that the surface doesn’t end up being soggy and encouraging fungal development.
While watering, ensure that you do that for a while to allow the water to penetrate to the roots.
For the best results, you can lay your sod during the rainy season so that you don’t have to keep watering. Otherwise, be ready to water your lawn at least once every day in the dry months.
Mowing the new sod
Ensure you mow the new sod at least after two weeks have elapsed since laying it down. Though this may be different for sod installed during winter which takes a bit longer for the roots to establish.
Mow off at least a third of the grass blade to prevent exerting unnecessary stress on the plant.
While mowing, take note of any pieces of sod coming off, because that would mean that the roots have not yet established well or you are using the low settings on your mower which should not be the case.
If the patches are coming out because of slow root establishment, it would be prudent to wait a few more days before you can mow again.
Once the root structure is well established, you can then mow using the low settings on your mower, for a nice, low, and neat finish.
During summer or hot days, mow the grass a bit longer so that they provide shade to the crowns. However, during the cold days, mow it a bit shorter to prompt faster growth.
Being the first time, it is advised to mow along the strips. This minimizes the tension on the grass hence preventing the patches from coming out if they had not held well.
Putting Fertilizer on the new sod.
This is usually done at about four to six weeks after laying of the sod. However, there are also fertilizers designed to be put on the day of installation as well.
This ensures that the sod continues to receive minerals and nutrients that help in root development.
There are different fertilizers designed for the growth and maintenance of the sod. Some fertilizers are specifically made for root establishment while others are for maintaining the rich color of the grass.
Choose fertilizers dense with phosphorous and a considerable amount of carbon and potassium for growth and nitrogen and iron for maintenance.
Don’t worry about finding out which fertilizer is appropriate. The fertilizer containers are usually labelled with the nutrients they contain. If you are not sure about which fertilizer to buy, contact the manufactures or companies like Sod Solutions that specialize in fertilizers for the growth and maintenance of sod.
Sod and Sod Installation Costs
After going through the steps, I know you want to jump right in and start preparing to revamp your lawn/s. But then again, you might be wondering whether this is an affordable venture or not.
Costs for sod installation depend on many factors like:
- The size and shape of the lawn. The larger the area, the more the sod needed. Usually, lawns that are not perfectly shaped like rectangles or squares would cost much higher because of the many alignments that need to be made.
- Type of sod grass. For example, sod grass that is higher disease and drought resistant like centipede is more expensive.
- Location. Different regions charge different prices. You can check this with your nearest sod farmers. Also, if where you are laying sod is far away from the farmers, you might have to cough more when it comes to delivery charges.
- Ground preparation work.
- Whether you are doing it yourself or using professional landscapers.
- Addition of a sprinkler system.
- Maintenance costs that involve watering, mowing, and fertilizing.
Sod is usually measured by square foot and different sod farmers have varying prices depending on the type of sod and location. Though on average, it costs about 30 to 80 cents per square foot of sod grass.
Majority of sod farmers usually sell it in pallets, with a single pallet measuring around 450 square feet and costing roughly 350 dollars.
Professional installers would charge a slightly higher cost because it includes charges for labor and materials used in preparing the lawn and installing the sod.
For those with small lawns, it would be wise to do it yourself and save on labor costs. Also, for small lawns, you do not need any sophisticated machinery to do the preparation, installation and maintenance unlike for people with much bigger spaces.
There is always an advantage of hiring professionals to lay sod especially because you will have that piece of mind that the work will be done just the way you want it. Professionals will also come with all the tools and equipment needed to do the job.
Final Thoughts & Summary Tips
We’ve looked at the different stages of preparing, installing and maintaining sod.
Here are the general tips to ensure that you get the best sod and have a beautiful-looking lawn for a long period of time.
- Make sure you understand the soil type, mineral content and PH upon which you will install the sod.
- Understand the climate or season during which you will install your sod so that you pick the best variety.
- There are so many sod farmers. Do your due diligence and find out the best farmers with quality sod, keeping in mind logistical challenges since sod is very perishable.
- Before purchasing sod, make sure the area is well prepared and ready. Refer to the steps above.
- Follow the steps above for sod installation and how to maintain it after installation.
- Understand the different fertilizers used at different phases of sod growth and development.
- Have the best watering schedule, depending on the type of soil and season.
- You can do the laying of sod on your own for small spaces or hire professionals to do it especially for slightly bigger spaces.