How to Prepare Soil for Grass Sod

Leveling, tilling, fertilizing and soil moisture are important 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. Soil amendments such as Soil Builder C20, gypsum, for clay soils, should be applied prior to installation. If you are concerned that your soil PH is off, we recommend performing a soil test before drastically changing the PH of your soil. Your local extension office can help you with a soil test if you bring in a soil sample. If you are unable to amend the soil before putting down sod, you are still able to add amendments after the sod is installed. 

See Related: Soil Builder C20 – Microbial Aeration

How to Install Sod

Sod rolls should be unrolled green side up and placed tightly together with the seams staggered. The outermost edges of the piece of sod should not be exposed, cover them with soil or place them at ground level. Sod staples may be necessary on steep slopes to keep the sod rolls from moving during the first few weeks. The staples should be driven into the sod on the top edge of the sod after it has been rolled out. Sod is easily cut with a sharp knife – be sure to cut any overlapping sod so that all pieces rest on bare soil. 

Fertilizing New Sod

Sod must be fertilized at installation. Apply Loveland Golf Course Starter or Renovator the same day as installation at the rate of 3-5 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Water the fertilizer in with at least 1/2″ of water and reapply 4 weeks later.

How Often to Water Sod After Installation

The most important step in any successful sod job is watering. Fresh sod must be watered at once and kept spongy wet continually for the first 14 days to help the roots establish. Homeowners should plan to water sod at least twice a day for one hour each time during the hottest part of the day.

How much water is enough? New sod should be spongy wet to the degree you could not walk on it with bare feet without it squishing between your toes. 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, 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.

Crabgrass Control For Spring Sod Installation

(March – June) Apply Loveland Golf Course Starter or Renovator at the time of installation. Two weeks later, apply Loveland Prevent crabgrass pre-emergent over the top of new sod. Prevent will suppress crabgrass, foxtail and other ugly grassy weeds in the seams and cracks between the rolls. If you are confused on which to use, just give us a call. Our green shirt team will help you build a plan to fit your needs.

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