How to Properly Perform Sod Installation
Sod installation is a great way to get a new lawn without the hassle of growing it from grass seeds. But it takes a little planning and some time to get the job done right.
Before laying sod, you’ll want to prep the ground and choose the best type of sod for your climate. This will help ensure your new lawn looks good for years to come.
Select a Sod that Fits Your Climate
Once you have determined your soil’s pH and fertility level, you can start deciding on the best sod for your area. Some sod varieties do better in hot and dry conditions, while others are more suited for cold or snowy climates.
When deciding on the type of sod you want, consider how much sun it will receive, and if it will grow in any shade. This will affect how well it will grow, and can even determine if you’ll need to water more often.
Order a Soil Test Kit
Before you start sod installation, it’s important to order a soil test kit from a local soil lab. The results of this test will reveal whether your soil needs additional nutrients, such as phosphorus, to support healthy root growth and help your sod stay green.
Getting your soil tested ahead of time will give you the chance to make necessary adjustments to your yard before you lay sod, says Ryan Smith of Ant and Garden Organic Pest Control in Beaverton, Ore. You’ll also be able to order soil amendments to correct any deficiencies before installing your new lawn.
Prep the Sod and the Ground
Before laying sod, prepare the ground by raking away any loose soil and removing any rocks or other debris. This will help ensure the sod is evenly distributed across your yard.
If your lawn has a slope, start laying sod at the lowest point. This will help the sod stay level and prevent it from sinking into puddles of water, suggests Kevin Hoskins, senior turf specialist at DG Turf Farm in Westfield, N.J.
Next, lay sod down in narrow strips. Unlike the rolls that most people buy, these strips are brick-shaped and should be laid in a pattern that resembles a wall. This helps with drainage and allows the sod to fill in more completely, says Hoskins.
When laying sod, use stakes to secure it in place. Stakes should be evenly spaced and set in from the sod strip’s edges by at least 6 to 8 inches.
Begin laying the sod over one section of your lawn at a time, using a sod-cutting tool or sharp-bladed knife to cut in and around edges. This will reduce the amount of cutting and fitting you need to do later on.
After laying the sod, water it heavily to promote a healthy root system and encourage its establishment. If you don’t have an irrigation system, now is the time to add it.
Once the sod is installed, you’ll need to maintain it for a long time, so be sure to use a good quality fertilizer on your new sod. This will help it grow strong and healthy, and will also make your lawn more resistant to diseases and insects that may attack it.