Installing sod to your site or property can be a very rewarding project that will provide improvements instantly. Not only will it improve the aesthetics and beauty of your home but also improve the environment by reducing erosion and providing millions of plants that will help cool your home and produce oxygen. If the installation is done correctly, it will be a project that will last for many years to come. The simple steps to proper installation of sod are Preparation of the Site, Amendments to the Soil, Measuring for your Sod, Laying the Sod, Rolling the Sod, Watering the Sod and Feeding your Sod. There are individual guidelines available from us to assist you with each of these steps. Here we will concentrate on Laying the Sod. We will assume the soil preparation and amendments have already been accomplished.
Purchase only enough sod to be able to install it all within four (4) hours of having it delivered or picked-up at the farm. This time frame can be expanded if you are doing the project during the ideal times of the year; i.e. in the late fall, winter, or early spring when temperatures are still cool. Sod can even be installed on frozen ground provided the soil preparation and amendments were completed prior to the ground freezing.
Start laying your sod next to a straight edge such as the street, curb, sidewalk, or driveway. To avoid creating a stumbling site, and an area which will collect water, lower the soil level ½ inch along the straight edge pavement and feather the slope back approximately two feet to your original soil level. This will not be visible once the project is complete.
Start with a full roll of sod and roll the entire pad out. Place the beginning edge of the second roll next to the ending edge of the first roll and roll this pad out. Use caution not to allow spaces or cracks between the sod rolls. Also use caution not to overlay the edge of one pad onto the other pad. Sod laid on sod will cause death of the sod area that is over lapped on both strips. Continue this till you reach the end of your first row.
You can trim the last roll of sod, or trim around any obstacle, easily using an old paring or butcher knife. Simply mark or grasp the sod in the area in which it needs to be trimmed and roll the sod back onto itself. Using the knife, cut the sod from the root (soil) side by drawing the knife as many times as need to cut through the roots. Once this is completed the sod can be easily separated by pulling the two pieces apart with a little tension to separate the grass leaves.
Start your second row by taking a full roll of sod laying it next to the first roll in your first row. Now fold the sod back on itself to the middle of the roll. Using the knife cut the roll in half, leaving the beginning half in place and set the other half aside to use as the beginning of the fourth row. Now continue to lay full rolls of sod as you did in the first row, using caution not to leave gaps and avoiding laying sod on sod on both of the edges which are adjacent to sod which is already installed.
Start your third row with a full pad like you did with the first. Start your fourth row with the half pad which was cut to start the second row. Continue this pattern until your project is complete. When finished, the sod should have the same pattern as a brick wall.
If you are installing sod on a slope, such as a ditch bank, install the sod across the slope. The “brick wall” type pattern will prevent water from running straight down the hill between pads. If the slope is steep, it may be necessary to stake the sod in place until the roots have a chance to get established. Non-treated wooden stakes ¾” x ¾” x 6” long work well. They can be installed low enough that mowers can be used over them and, once the sod is rooted, the stake can be removed or driven on into the soil.
Roll the sod with a hand powered lawn roller to insure good soil to sod root contact and water as explained in our other “Home Owner Guides”.
Enjoy your new or repaired lawn with the confidence that you did it yourself!