Laying sod can transform a dull, barren lawn into a lush, green lawn in no time. Although prices vary, you can expect to pay around 40 cents per square foot for sod that you install yourself. For a 1,000-square foot lawn, that works out to $400. Lay the sod in spring when cool-season grasses are dominant and at any other time of the year where warm-season turf reigns supreme. Here are a few lawn care tips you need to know.
Lawn Care: How To Install Sod
Do a soil test
Testing your soil is the best way to ensure that you have the right environment for growing turf. Turf grasses thrive in well-aerated soil that is slightly acidic (between 6 and 7).
Lawn care specialists suggest to get a soil test kit at your local extension office. Take soil samples from the areas you will be sodding to perform a soil test. Mix the soil and place it in a soil test bag.
The test will cost you at least $15 (price may vary depending on where you live). The results will be returned in two weeks. It may take longer to adjust the soil to match the specifications. It is important to plan ahead and not do the soil test right before sod arrives.
Take measurements of the area you’ll be sodding
Take measurements of the area where you will be sodding. Measure carefully so you don’t end up with more sod than is necessary. You should order about 5 percent more than the area you measured so that you have enough sod for cutting and fitting around curves. If you live near a sod farm or garden center, you can purchase sod directly from them.
Your lawn should be described to the supplier. This includes hardiness zone, sun vs. shade, and how often you will use it. These questions will determine which grasses you’ll use in your sod. Sod must be delivered within 24 hours after it has been cut. It is best to lay it on the day it arrives.
Incorporate Organic Matter into Soil
To loosen soil to 6-8 inches in depth, use a rototiller. You should remove any rocks and other debris that you find. Toss in 2-3 inches of organic matter. Organic matter improves soil aeration, water retention, and increases soil microbial populations. Organic matter is good for soil health. Based on your soil test results, you can apply lime or fertilizer to the soil.
Rake Soil Level
Rake the soil to the desired level and make sure it is one inch below any sprinkler heads or paved areas like sidewalks, patios, driveways. Raking helps to even out the surface. It also creates soil particles that grass roots can sink into. When you lay sod, the soil must be moist. It should be watered well for 24 to 48 hours before it is ready for installation.
Lay the turf on an edge that’s straight like a patio or fence. Lay the pieces one by one, working with them in a single piece. Avoid walking on sods when you’re laying it. Rake out any soil footprints whenever you go. Smoothen wrinkles in your sod. Place the sod gently so that there are no air pockets between soil & sod.
Lay Sod in Rolls
The next piece of sod should be cut in half. Lay it on top of the first one, staggered like a row of bricks. To cut through the sod, a cheap carpet knife is a good choice.
Make sure you have tight seams
Align the edges of sod tightly, but not overlap. To ensure that the edges are snugly fitted together, push your thumbs along them.
Place small pieces in the middle
You will be able to find small pieces of turf. You can make a lawn look sturdier by using small pieces of turf to fill in the gaps.
Lay out your curves with a hose and then use a lawn mower to cut along the curve. Use a carpet knife to cut through sod that is surrounded by trees, irrigation heads, or other obstacles.
Complete the Seams
Use a strong push brush to sweep commercial topsoil and potting soil along seams. Be careful not to push away any loose turf edges.
Push sod against the soil below with a lawn roller. The secret to roots quickly integrating into the soil is to have a tight connection between soil and sod. The first three weeks of sod’s establishment are best when there is little traffic. Children and pets are also included.
Sprinkle some Sod
You should water your new sod well. Keep it hydrated until rain comes. Your new sod should not be flooded by water. Reduce the amount of water you are giving to your new sod. Reduce watering to once a week after the first week. Reduced watering will encourage grass roots to sink into the soil. Deeply rooted grass is key to lush, healthy and thick grass. You can water your grass once a week. Then, start watering again.
When the grass is at least three inches tall, and the time has passed since the sod was laid, you can start your first mowing. Install a grass catcher and a walk-behind mower to bag the clippings. The lawn is now too young to allow clippings to lie. You can either add your clippings to the compost pile or use them to mulch around shrubs and vegetables. You can risk cutting up new rooted grass if your mower blade is not sharp.
After four weeks of growth, apply a starter fertilizer. During the first four weeks after installation, you should avoid any heavy activity. Enjoy your new lawn.
Like our Facebook page for more great info about sod installation.