HOW TO INSTALL

Sod Installation Tips & Tricks

Sod has the ability to almost immediately transform a landscape, creating an attractive, usable surface long before a lawn started from seed. Excellent, regular irrigation during the weeks following sod installation is the most important aspect of new sod care, but fertilizing using a suitable fertilizer and at the appropriate time also helps to encourage vigorous, attractive grass.

STEP 1 – Measuring Your Lawn Area

Use a scratch pad and a pencil to sketch out your lawn area. With a tape measure, measure the area of your planned lawn. Include these measurements on a sketch of the lawn area, with the length, width and any unusual features.

STEP 2 – Soil Preparation

For the best result rototill or spade to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. Blend any soil amendments as specified such as sawdust, gypsum, compost or topsoil. Smooth the soil removing any rocks, roots, debris, and large clods.

STEP 3 – Grading, Sprinklers & Freshly Cut Sod

Work the soil, level and smooth the area with a rake. Install irrigation and bender board at this time. Make sure the grade is 1 inch below walkways and borders, and 1/2 inch below sprinkler heads. Roll the area with a lawn  roller 1/3 full of water. This will firm the soil surface and reveal low areas that need more soil.

STEP 4 – Fertilize

An application of starter fertilizer should b applied by 5 lbs. per 1,000 sq ft. of lawn area or as specified by manufacturer. This will enhance root establishment. The fertilizer should be applied using a broadcast spreader to avoid uneven distribution.

A healthy lawn is one that has a balanced proportion of top growth to roots. Roots of newly laid sod have been sheared and, therefore, re-establishment of a solid root system is very important. Do not apply a fertilizer, which is high in nitrogen. High quantities of nitrogen encourage heavy top growth rather than root development. Without a well-developed root system, grass is more prone to diseases and stress during adverse weather conditions.

A yearly fertilizer program on an established lawn includes 3 to 4 pounds of actual nitrogen per 1000 square feet, which is applied in several spring and fall applications. Nitrogen (N) is the nutrient needed in the largest quantities, followed by potassium (K) and phosphorus (P). Avoid fertilizing the lawn in the heat of the summer. A slow release fertilizer will reduce danger of fertilizer burn and over stimulation of top growth.

STEP 5 – Turf Installation

Work the soil, level and smooth the area with a rake. Install irrigation and bender board at this time. Make sure the grade is 1 inch below walkways and borders, and 1/2 inch below sprinkler heads. Roll the area with a lawn  roller 1/3 full of water. This will firm the soil surface and reveal low areas that need more soil. Use a sharp knife to the trim corners. Avoid using small pieces at outer edge, as they will not retain moisture. On slopes, place the turf pieces across the slope. keep joints tight.

Caution!! You must start watering sod within 30 minutes of laying first roll.

During hot days, begin watering lawn area as you complete them in small sections. After completing installation, water lawn for 10 minutes. Using a roller 1/3 full of water, roll the entire area to make sure the sod has complete contact with the soil. The surface area should be smooth and consistent. To avoid causing indentations or air pockets, avoid repeated walking or kneeling on the turf while it is being installed or just after watering.

It is common for the seams to be visible at this stage. The seams will disappear when sod has rooted, which is approximately 14 to 21 days.

STEP 6 – Watering Schedule

Soak sod to a soil depth of 6 inches. DO NOT LET SOD DRY OUT!!!

First 14 Days:

  • First day water lawn for approximately 3 hours
  • 60°-70° 8 am watering 20-25 minutes
  • 70°-90° 6 am, 12 pm, 3 pm watering 20-25 minutes
  • 90° and up 4 waterings a day for 20-25 minutes between 6 am and 4 pm
  • Shaded area normally requires watering once per day. Even in hot weather, shaded area will require less water to establish.
  • Windy conditions can dry out new lawn as quickly as full sunlight and heat. Be sure to maintain moisture on newly-laid sod to prevent seams from drying out.

After 14 Days:

  • Lawn requires 1-2 inches of water per week. One watering a day, 20-25 minutes.
  • Shaded areas water as needed to maintain moisture., but avoid over watering. Approximately 2-3 times per week.
  • Optimum watering time: 4-5 am