With summer on the way, the last thing anyone wants is a sad, brown lawn. We want summers spent lounging on lush lawns with something cheerful to drink and kids playing in the pools.
One of the best ways to get that summertime daydream is to put down sod.
Sod is strips of grass designed to be laid down on a yard. It means you can have a beautiful lawn in an instant, and you can do it yourself. Read on to learn how to install sod yourself.
Advantages of Sod
Getting grass started can be a challenging thing to do; more often than not, you wind up with a dead yard and a lot of frustration. Grass seed may never sprout or may not be thick enough.
Plugs might never spread, take a lot of work, and can also die.
Sod has the best chance of establishing successful growth and can be planted spring through fall. It stands less chance of sprouting weeds in the summer than grass seed.
And many kinds of grass, such as Bermuda, zoysia, and centipede, can’t be planted from seed – only from sod.
Prepare the Surface
The first thing you want to do when you’re getting ready to install sod is to prepare your dirt. Start by taking a soil sample and having it analyzed.
This will tell you whether you need to adjust your soil to be more acidic or basic or have more of certain important nutrients.
Once you know what your soil quality is like, use a rototiller to loosen your soil down to a depth of six or eight inches. Remove any debris, and mix in a layer of two to three inches of organic matter.
Then rake the ground out level, smoothing out any clumps and ensuring everything is loose and even.
Lay the Rows
Once your ground is level, well-nourished, and loose, it’s time to start laying your sod. Find the longest straight edge in your yard and lay your first line there, smoothing out any wrinkles that form.
Be careful not to step on the sod as you lay it, and rake out any footprints as you go.
With the first row in place, cut your second row in half and start laying your strips of sod down in the same pattern you might lay bricks.
Make sure you get the seams of the sod as snug against each other as you can without overlapping them, and use a carpet knife to cut any holes or curves needed.
Settle the Grass in
Once your sod is in place, you want to do everything you can to encourage the roots to take to the soil as quickly as possible.
This will ensure that your grass stays healthy and gets the best possible start. Shop here to get the best sod to start with.
Start by putting down commercial potting soil on all the seams. Brush it into the seams, being careful not to disturb loose sod edges.
With the soil in place, use a sod roller to press your sod down into the dirt in a gentle, uniform way.
Water (No, Really)
The most important thing you can do for your new sod is to make sure it gets plenty of water. The roots on sod are very shallow, so without proper watering, the sod can dry out and die.
Watering will settle the soil and help your sod form deep roots that will keep it green and lush.
For the first week, you have your sod, water every morning to avoid losing water to evaporation or encouraging fungal disease growth.
After the first week, reduce your watering to every other day to encourage the grass to put down roots. Water twice a week for the third week, and after a month, cut back to watering about an inch a week.
For the first month or so your sod is in place, you want to keep as much traffic off it as possible, including children and pets.
This will help keep the blades and roots healthy until it has a chance to get itself established.
You should also avoid using a riding lawnmower on it for the first several weeks.
Mow your grass once it gets to be about three inches high, no sooner than ten days after you install the sod.
Bag your clippings instead of letting them fall on the lawn; when it’s so young, it can’t deal with the extra material. And after about a month, apply a starter fertilizer to the lawn to give your grass its best start in life.
There are a few secrets that can help you make sure you have the most success with your sod installation.
The biggest key is to make sure everything gets enough water, starting with the dirt the day before the installation. Set a sprinkler up on your sod once you get the first large area in place, and move it as you continue to install.
Monitor your sod closely for the first several weeks; even lawn care experts can’t tell how damp a lawn is by looking at it.
Use a soil probe after watering to make sure your sod is wet three to four inches below the surface. And in shady areas of your lawn, water less often and reduce fertilizer by 25 percent.
Learn More About How to Install Sod
Installing sod can be done in a weekend and can give you the beautiful lawn you’ve dreamed about for years.
Remember to give it enough water and prepare the soil, and your sod should get a wonderful start.
Knowing how to install sod can make your summers beautiful and filled with amazing memories.