Starting Over With Sod

Why wait when a sod project provides an instant lawn

Laying sod
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One of the most common lawn renovation projects is laying sod. There's no easier way to establish an instant lawn than sodding. Despite the relative ease, it is still quite possible to do it wrong. The key to a successful sod job is technique and after care. Laying sod, and taking care of it until it has established itself is not rocket science but a few helpful tips can save the embarrassment of failure not to mention the money involved in such a project.

The Importance of Soil Testing - I cannot stress this enough. Especially when starting a lawn over with new sod, a soil test provides a snapshot of what's going on in the soil and what it's requirements might be. There may be deficiencies or abundances in certain lawn nutrients that are crucial for a successful lawn. A soil test will allow you to hone in on the appropriate fertilizer and potentially save the cost of applying unnecessary products. Growing a great lawn is mostly about getting the soil right so the grass will be healthy and ward off pests, reducing the overall cost and effort of lawn maintenance. So it all begins with a soil test.

Choosing the Right Grass - Before the hard work of laying sod can begin, it must be determined what type of grass will be used for the project. The most common sod choice for cool season grasses is Kentucky bluegrass, usually with ryegrass and fescues blended in. Sod from warm season grasses are not blended species but a single grass-type like St. Augustine or Bermuda grass. Keep in mind the geography and climate, overall and on a smaller scale, like the lawn's exposure to the sun and potential for shade.

Soil Preparation for Seed or Sod - The soil has been tested, the appropriate sod has been chosen, but there is still work to do. Sod should not be laid on unprepared ground. An assessment must be done and as much preparation as possible should be performed. Relieving compaction, incorporating compost or peat moss, and leveling the area with a rake are all important for the sod to establish itself and thrive. Failure to properly prepare the soil could result in lackluster results and may be a waste of time and money.

How to Lay Sod - Finally, it's time to lay sod. Seems easy right? Don't be fooled, there are a few tricks to laying sod that can make or break a successful lawn project. Seams that aren't staggered may pull apart and cause gaps, and failing to establish a nice, straight line to work off of can result in a messy, disorganized job that looks like it was done by amateurs.The most important rule of laying sod, green side up.

How to Care for New Sod - Once the sod is laid, the work is not over. In fact the most important work has just begun, keeping the sod alive. The first 48 hours or so after sod is laid are the most crucial. The most important thing to do is keep it moist. The sod must not dry out or it will not sprout new roots and establish itself. The new sod should be watered to the point that it is moist on the underside where it meets the soil. This can take more water than it seems, so be sure to adequately water.

Lawn Care Conversions and Math- What is the area of the yard? How many square feet of sod is needed? How much starter fertilizer is needed? Sodding a lawn is not the most complex project out there, but it doesn't hurt to keep current with some simple conversions and terminology. Knowledge is power and it never hurts to know as much as possible about a project. An informed customer commands respect and may even save a little money.