How to sod will help you with option number two of lawn repair. Laying new sod is like rolling out a thick green carpet. Grass sod pieces cost more money and require more prep work, but they are worth it.
We also have a full module on How to Sod a yard for those of you that are doing larger areas.
This section will just be a shortened version to cover some of the basics, while also showing you some sod tips.
Sodding is preferred over seeding if you have pets or need an instant lawn.
So for those of you with an ugly lawn, sodding will change that really quickly. Timing is not as important as with seeding, because you are not dealing with the germination process.
The number one rule for seeding still applies for sodding. “Be there.” Sodding also requires special care until the roots have dropped, and it becomes established.
Don't sod if you plan on taking a vacation. Leaving it to a friend to water, could be disastrous. Believe me, I have seen this mistake made many times.
Sod rolls come by the pallet.
Buy sod directly to save money when possible. Eliminating the middle man can save you a lot of money.
These savings can be as much as 10 to 20 cents a square foot.
If you are seeding a large area, don't try to save money by picking up pallets yourself. Pay the delivery charge, because sod is much heavier that most people think. A pallet of sod that will cover 700 sq. ft. is not appropriate for a half ton truck, unless you want to risk spring, shock damage, or possible fines.
Sod should always be laid right away so have as much help as you can. Buy some beer if you have to and bribe friends and family to help you. If you can't lay it within 24 hours, cover it from the effects of the drying sun and winds.
Don't forget to purchase a good starter fertilizer to put down before you sod.
Try to plan your sodding day to good weather. This means cloudy, overcast, and less windy days are the best time to sod. Sodding in rain just creates a mess, and should be avoided at all costs. The soil will stick to your shoes and boots pulling up big clumps of muck, that you won't be able to rake smooth again.
You will have to water new sod a lot at the start, so remember to try and do it in the morning or evening. Both if you can. Watering in the middle of sunny and windy days is a waste of water. Strong wind can blow water droplets away from your yard, and the sun will cause water to evaporate quickly.
Also remember that if you don't water your lawn right away with a really good initial soaking, it WILL dry out and shrink. This will create larger seams between the pieces that will take much long to disappear.
When laying your sod, pick a good straight line as a starting point, like up against a house, driveway, or fence. Stay off the sod you just laid, by working away from your previous pieces.
Use full pieces up against buildings, driveways, or other structures, as much as possible. They will have a better chance of survival, and establish better than small cut pieces will. Lay sod across slopes when you can, and always stagger the seams.
If it is a really steep slope, you may have to use stakes to keep the sod from sliding down the hill.
Make sure you have some very sharp knives for cutting the sod. Utility knives are cheap and work well. You can also purchase replacement blades which are easy to change. (You will go through a few sodding a big yard). Using dull blades on your sod will tears the grass and roots.
If you want to get rid of sod seams quickly make sure you butt the ends together. Use two hands to roll the ends of the sod under. This will make the sod lay flat.
The other thing you can do is to fill in the seams with left over soil. Make sure your sod pieces are all a snug fit before you do this.
Take a shovelful of soil and shake it along the seam to fill it in. Press the soil in with your foot or hand. This will fill the small void between the seams, allowing the grass to migrate into this soil. This is very time consuming but worth the effort, as your seams will vanish way faster.
Train the roots of your lawn. You will hear “water deeply and infrequently”. Everybody says it, but they don't always explain it. This is called “training your lawn”. Try to water to a depth of 4 to 6 inches, then allow it to dry out. This will train your roots to grow deeper into the soil, making your lawn heartier and more drought tolerant.
Shallow watering will cause the roots to grow closer to the surface where the available water is. This makes the root system weaker and less drought tolerant. A weak root system will not be sufficient enough to support the growth of the blades above. This will affect the health of your lawn.
So there are a few tips to help you with sodding your yard. If you are looking for the full module on sodding, it can be found at Sodding Lawn. There is also helpful information about watering and caring for your newly laid sod at the end of this full module.
We hope you found this article helpful. You can contact us at any time with your questions by using our Contact Us page. We also welcome any and all suggestions or feedback you may have.
Thanks so much.
The Dream-yard Team
Table of Contents: Lawn Problems
C. Lawn Repair
E. Replace Lawn
H. How to Sod