By laying sod you can have an instantly grassy and lush yard. You can install sod yourself, although it does require planning and work.
Order the sod, so that you can lay it as soon as the ground is prepared. But do not have it delivered or pick it up before preparations are complete; sod rots if it sits in the sun for too long before you lay it. For best results, plan on laying sod the same day it arrives.
First, prepare the soil:
- Get rid of existing weeds and grasses on the site. Use a herbicide that does not leave a toxic residue.
- Till the lawn area, and clear it of rocks and other debris.
- Test the pH of the soil. You can have your soil’s pH tested by a garden center or agricultural extension or you can buy an inexpensive soil pH test kit.
- If needed, as determined by soil testing, apply organic amendments and/or top soils to change the soil composition and texture.
- Wait a week, then spread any initial soil fertilizers and till your lawn area a second time. At this time, also install any lawn sprinkler systems, sidewalks, or other walk/patio surfaces that you want in your lawn.
- Do a final rake or drag of the area before laying sod to ensure that the ground is level and that all larger pebbles, rocks, and sticks are removed from the area.
Now that the soil is ready, proceed to laying sod:
- Water the lawn area the day before your sod arrives. Use several short irrigations, an hour apart, to soak the ground to a depth of 15 cm (6 inches) or more while preventing runoff. This will allow the sod to root more quickly.
- Install sod along the longest straight line from back to front. (A sidewalk, driveway, or flowerbed against the side of the house makes an excellent guide.) Follow these guidelines:
- Work from this straight line to avoid stepping on the freshly placed sod.
- Butt edges and ends together tightly.
- Lay strips of sod in a brick pattern (staggering the locations of joints) to minimize visible lines while the sod takes root.
- Avoid splicing curved and angled areas with small pieces and strips. The bigger the piece, the better it will root.
- Use a sharp sod knife to make clean, defined edges around trees, sprinklers, and contours.
- After laying sod, go over it with lawn roller. The roller, which you can rent, is specially designed to help sodded lawns take better root by forcing the roots in the sod to make contact with the soil below.
- Water thoroughly after laying sod. Keep new sod very wet for 10 days to 2 weeks. Water 3 to 6 times a day depending on the weather. After a week or so, check rooting progress by gently tugging on individual strips. If the sod doesn’t come up easily, the rooting process is well under way. If the sod hasn’t begun to root or shows gray, dry looking areas, increase the water. Keep foot traffic off the sod until it is well-rooted.
Check out this useful laying sod grass video……
After laying sod, take care of it:
- Keep grass height high for the first few cuttings. Let it reach a height of 10 to 12 cm (4 to 4.75 inches) before mowing. Take two cm (0.75 inch) off the top, wait a few days, and do it again. Mow when grass blades are dry, then water the grass. Low-cutting new sod can disturb the strips and damage new roots.
- After the sod is established, usually a month or so, water according to weather and soil conditions. Watch the weather and adjust to establish a responsible, efficient watering schedule. Watch your lawn carefully, check water coverage, adjust sprinklers as needed, and use hand watering to deal with any “hot spots” (smoky gray areas) that arise during hot or windy weather.
- Fertilize lightly after the second mowing with a seasonal lawn fertilizer. To avoid changing fertilizers every season, use a premium lawn food that conditions your soil while providing long-lasting, complete, and balanced nutrition for your grass year-round.