Sod provides immediate gratification when it comes to starting a lawn. The rolls of grass come with a higher price tag than starting a lawn from seeds, nevertheless. Installing sod properly protects your investment by ensuring the sod takes hold and grows into a lush, healthy lawn.
Period it Right
The timing of your sod installation influences how well your bud will take root in your lawn. Avoid putting sod in place during extreme temperatures; either low or high temperatures can negatively affect the bud’ growth. You’ll have the best luck during the busy growing season of the type of sod grass you choose. For example, warm-season bud, such as St. Augustinegrass (Stenotaphrum secundatum), sturdy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 10, is best installed as sod in mid- to late spring.
Prepare the Ground
The new sod requires a clean slate with healthy soil to grow well in your lawn. Remove all existing weeds and grass in the region. Loosen the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches by running a rototiller over it. Add about a 2-inch-thick layer of compost to the whole lawn to add nutrients to the soil, working the compost in the existing dirt with the rototiller. Then use a rake to level the dirt. If the lawn has any dips or valleys, they may need to be full of additional soil. The lawn should slope gently away from the home and other structures. Water the soil the day before installing sod. If you put in the sod on a hot day, water the dirt again right until you lay the sod.
Roll From the Sod
New sod works best when establishing a lawn. Sod from a nearby, reputable sod farm that is cut no longer than 24 hours until it’s delivered is the most popular option. Time the sod delivery for the morning you plan to lay the sod so you can install it right away. With a straight edge of the lawn as your starting point can allow you to install the sod pieces evenly. Put the initial row of sod set up along that straight edge, unrolling the sod. Abut another bit of sod against the previous sod piece’s edge. The sod will remain healthiest in the event you do not step on it as you work. Should you leave footprints or impressions from the dirt, remove them with a rake until you place sod over those places. Stagger the bits of sod in following rows so their seams are offset, like the way rows of bricks are laid. A sod-cutting knife or carpet knife works well to cut back rolls of sod as necessary to fill spaces.
Care for your New Lawn
After all the sod is set up, examine the grass with a lawn roller that is one-half filled with water. The roller smooths the sod and helps the grass roots make solid contact with the dirt. New sod requires tons of moisture to assist the roots grow. Water the grass at least once daily. If the grass dries out from the end of the day, irrigate again so that the sod stays moist for the first 10 to 14 days. Staying off the sod as much as possible for the first month is essential. Mow the sod as frequently as you would an established lawn — cutting as soon as the bud is about one-third taller than desirable. Using caution when mowing helps stop pulling up the sod at its edges.