Measuring and Installation Guide
Installing Your Sod
When to Install Sod
Sod can be harvested and laid year-round as long as the ground is not too wet or frozen. Fall and winter are the best times to install sod due to cooler temperatures and more rainfall. This gives the new sod the most time to take root before the onset of the summer heat. Spring and summer are also good times to install sod. However, more attention needs to be given to watering new sod for the first few weeks.
Step 1: Soil Preparation
Soil preparation is a very important step in sod installation. It needs to be well drained and ideally, you should have clean topsoil tilled to a depth of 4-6”, leveled and smooth (the smoother the better). Although most new homes in our area don’t come with good topsoil, a workable soil free of large rocks (2-3” and up) will do. If your yard consists of red clay and rocks, it is a good idea to cover your yard with a minimum of 3” of topsoil. After your yard is graded and just before you lay the sod, it is beneficial to apply a starter fertilizer. Apply the fertilizer following the manufacturer’s directions just before you lay the sod.
Step 2: Laying the Sod
Step 3: Watering the Sod
Watering the new sod is very important in temperatures above 90 degrees. Any given piece of sod needs to be watered within 20 minutes of being laid. Ideally, watering should begin as soon as an area large enough to put down a sprinkler is ready. This way you can get a head start on watering while you’re laying the sod. It is imperative that you thoroughly soak your sod and the soil beneath the first time you water it. This will help rid the sodded area of air pockets, which dry out the sod. Make sure that your sprinklers overlap. In hot weather, any piece of sod that doesn't get enough water will turn brown. Just because sod turns brown doesn't necessarily mean that it’s dead. Keep watering it and within two weeks it should turn green again.
How often you need to water new sod depends on the weather. If it is hot and dry, you may need to water newly laid sod twice a day. If it is cool, you may only need to water every three to four days. A good rule of thumb is to simply make sure that all of the sod and two inches of soil beneath remain moist at all times. After about two weeks the sod will begin to take root. When this happens you can apply less water. In hot weather, established turf needs about 1” of rain or irrigation to thrive. However, you should water any time the sod has a dry pale blue-grey color or if it does not spring back after you walk on it. Avoid walking on new turf for the first three weeks. This gives the roots an opportunity to firmly knit with the soil and keeps your yard level and smooth.
Step 4: Mowing Your New Sod
It is important to wait until your sod is firmly rooted to the soil before you mow it for the first time. This may take two to three weeks. Before you mow, make sure that your yard is firm enough. If it is too wet or too soft, quit watering for a day until it firms up. Set your mower to a height of about three inches. It is not good to remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade at any mowing. However, since it has been weeks since this grass has been mowed you may need to make an exception. If you don’t use a clipping bagger and you have excess clippings it may be necessary to remove them after the first mowing. Continue to mow your sod about every five to seven days.
Step 5: Fertilizer and Weed Preventer