Sod and Sod Installation
Sod is grass that has already been planted by seed on a farm and then
harvested by slicing a very thin layer of topsoil and then either rolled
of stacked and sent directly to the installation site. It should be
installed as soon as possible. If you must hold the sod a few days before
installing, store it in a single layer in a shaded spot. Moisten it
often so it doesn't dry out.
Preparing for sod installation
The area to be sodded should be prepped by breaking up and loosening
the soil. Using a rake, level the area and remove all debris. Note:
To allow for the thickness of the sod, soil level should be 3/4" below curbs, walks, and drives.
Regardless of the
time of year you plant the sod, spread a complete fertilizer over
the soil at the rate of application recommended by the fertilizer
manufacturer for spring and fall feeding before installing sod.
Using a rake, work
the fertilizer into the soil. A complete fertilizer contains
the three important grass food elements, nitrogen, phosphorous, and
potassium (potash). Fertilizers lacking any of these elements are
not complete. Read the analysis on the package before purchasing.
For example: 10-10-10 and 10-6-4 are complete fertilizers.
Should the weather be exceptionally hot and the soil dry, it
is wise to moisten the soil slightly before laying the sod.
When laying the sod, make sure that all edges are butted firmly
together and the corners are flush. Overlapping edges will cause
uneven turf and make rooting difficult. When the sod is laid, it may appear to have different colors. You shouldn't be alarmed at this as the color will vary slightly because of how the sod was stacked and stored prior to installation. In a few days of regular watering, the color should even out.
Start watering IMMEDIATELY after the sod is
laid. For the first
7 — 10 days, keep a close eye on your turf. Give it just enough
water to keep it from drying out. After that, apply an inch of water
every 7 — 10 days.
To measure an 1" of water coming from a sprinkler, place a coffee can on the
lawn in the midst of the sprinkler. A good watering once per week
is usually better for your lawn than light daily watering. Once your
lawn is established it is generally better to water in the morning
By about the 10th day, allow the sod to dry out enough to mow
it. Make sure your mower is in good mechanical condition with a sharp
blade. Set your mower on the highest setting and mow the lawn very
carefully. The frequency in which you will have to mow your lawn
depends on weather conditions.
The following advice may be helpful: Mow
the lawn before the clippings are longer than 1". In the spring
and fall, mowing may have to be done twice a week due to rapid growth.
Mowing heights should be 2" — 2-1/2" in spring and fall and
2-1/2" — 3" during the summer months, this of course depends
on the variety of grass..
Vigorously core cultivate the sod as soon as it has knitted
to the soil (about 2 months). Core cultivation will remove cores
of sod and soil and deposit them on the surface. Core cultivation
should be done in the spring and fall every year.
Following initial fertilization, wait 6 weeks and fertilize
again with a complete fertilizer. Repeat every 6 weeks for the
remainder of the growing season. Next year, begin the cycle in late
May or early June.
Weed and crabgrass control chemicals should not be used in the
first year. The use of weed and crabgrass control chemicals should
only be considered in extreme situations and then only as a spot
treatment. Before applying any chemicals, read and follow all label
Is a sod lawn less work?
A professional laid sod lawn needs no special care except for initial
watering because it is a healthy, mature lawn when installed, whereas
a sprigged or seeded lawn requires years of nurturing to reach maturity.
Sod is grown under expert supervision from top quality certified sod
seed. After it has been installed, just water, mow and fertilize your
sod lawn as needed and it will remain a healthy, green carpet of
grass, requiring very little maintenance.
Post-harvest care is crucial since sod is a perishable crop. Sod must be lifted and laid within 24 hours and is usually sold within a 150 mile radius of the production fields.