The Q&A Archives: Sodding a New lawn

Question: What is the best way to lay sod?

Answer: Before laying sod, your lawn area should be already tilled. The final finish level should have been made and the level of the grade should be approximately 1 inch below sidewalks, sprinkler heads, etc. (Below the level desired for the final grass lawn.) Also the soil should be moist... This is best accomplished by watering a day or two before installation - Be careful not to water all night and create a soggy mess in which you cannot lay the sod without making tracks in the mushy soil. You want a firm moist soil.

Before starting to lay your sod... Take a rake (or drag for larger areas) and rake the top top soil with a final leveling action. This does two things; First it levels out any small unevenness missed by your final grade in the preparations steps. Second it creates loose soil particles that your new sods roots and more firmly compress into when you lay your sod.

Once you have completed the preparation steps, it is time to start actually laying your sod on your newly prepared lawn area. Generally it is best to start laying sod along a straight line such as a sidewalk, driveway or even the side of a strait flowerbed along your house. As you lay out each piece in a row, firmly push the end together so the spaces between the pieces of sod are minimized. You can lay two or three rows at a time (with rectangular sod), but keep each row staggered so that the joints are at different locations than the adjoining row. If you are using rolls, tightly place the new joint against the already in place piece and then roll out. Buy a cheap carpet knife to use to cut your odd shaped sod pieces. That way the sod can be made to fit around curves, sprinklers, plants and other lawn obstacles. Try to avoid walking on the newly laid sod until after you have rolled your sodded area with a lawn roller.

After you have completed laying your sod lawn, you should roll your sod with a lawn roller. You can rent these hand pulled tools from your local rental store. The action of the roller is especially important with sodded lawns... much more than with seeded areas. The roller causes the roots of the sod to make firm contact with the new soil under the sod. This allows for faster "knitting" of your sods roots into its new soil home.

Water the lawn area you have planted as on a regular basis - usually daily for newly sodded lawns unless rain is occurring. After the first week, start stretching out the time between watering so that the roots will grow downward toward the soil moisture. When you do water, water deeply. Mow your new sod lawn for the first time about 3-4 weeks after planting then at regular times and at the correct height.

Best wishes with your new lawn!

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