If you want instant green grass, there’s no better answer than sod – it’s as easy as prepping the ground and rolling it out green side up. If you need grass outside the prime seeding window, sod can be installed any time when the ground isn’t’ frozen. Check out these tips and tricks for idiot proof sod installation!
How to Prep the Soil for Sod
Leveling, tilling, fertilizing, and soil moisture are essential factors for your sod’s success. Sod should be installed on smooth, even ground. The ground should be bare, firm, and free of rocks and dips. That includes removing any plant debris and any rocks bigger than a ping pong ball. If needed, topsoil may be added to level low spots. Soil amendments such as Soil Builder C20 or Lawn Cal, to breakdown clay soils, should be applied before installation.
Buy the Right Kind of Sod
The next step is to buy the right kind of sod! At the Grass Pad, there are three different types of sod – Heat Wave Fescue, Blue Wave Bluegrass, and Zoysia. To match your existing grass, bring a sample in of your current grass and our experts can help. If you’re starting from scratch, we can help you by considering your sun exposure, watering habits and traffic expected in the area.
Figure Out How Much Sod You’ll Need
With the type of sod picked out, you’ll need to know how much to get. To do this you’ll need to know the square footage of the area that you’re sodding. For smaller areas, simply take a tape measure and measure the length and width to get the square footage. For larger areas, step off the area, assuming each step is about three feet. Bring your dimensions into the Grass Pad and our experts can help figure out how much sod you need.
Time to Buy the Sod!
With the ground prepped, and a sample of your grass, head on down to the Grass Pad to pick up your sod. Always call the store first to confirm that sod is available. Grass Pad cuts sod year-round as the weather permits but calling ahead will confirm that sod is available when you arrive.
Reserving Sod – Sod is a very perishable item. Sod is available on a first come first served basis. Grass Pad will not hold or reserve sod for individuals or companies with the exception of sod awaiting delivery.
How to Install the Sod
Roll It Out
Now that you have the sod, roll it out green side up and place the seams tightly together, making sure the seams are staggered.
Edge It In
To prevent the edges from drying out, remove some of the soil so that the sod matches the height of the existing grass.
Staple it Down
On steep slopes, sod staples maybe be necessary to hold the sod in place while the roots develop.
Trim It Up
The sod can be trimmed into shape using the edge of a shovel or a sharp knife. Be sure to trim any sod that overlaps existing grass.
Fertilize and Water, Water, Water!
Now that the sod is on the ground, it’s time to fertilize and water. Spread Golf Course Starter over the newly sodded area evenly at the rate of 3-5 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Then comes your most important step – watering! The new sod needs to stay soaking wet for two weeks. When you water, you want it to be so wet that when you walk on the sod the water would squish between your toes.
Uncle’s Tip: Sod is guaranteed to die if you don’t keep it wet.
How Often to Water Sod After Installation
How much water is enough? Homeowners should plan to water sod at least twice a day for one hour each time during the hottest part of the day. Too much water will never be an issue for sod in the first two weeks. On hot, windy days, sod can dry out in an hour. When temperatures are above 80° after installation, the sod must be kept continually wet for the first month.
When to Mow New Sod
After installation, the grass blades will be horizontal. With proper watering, in 10 to 14 days, your sod will begin to stand up. At this point, it is OK to mow. Mow sod as often as needed with a sharp blade and mower on the highest setting during a time the sod is moist, yet firm to walk on. Water sod immediately after mowing. Continue to feed the area once a month during the spring and fall.