Sodding a Home Lawn
Sodding is just one method of establishing bluegrass, ryegrass and fescue. The advantages of sodding include: immediate pleasing turf, smothering existing weed seeds in the soil, and preventing erosion of valuable topsoil during establishment. However, its disadvantages include limited varieties to choose from, initial cost, and the high amount of labor involved in installation.
Sod can be successfully established in nearly any growing season. However, it is best to choose high quality sod that is actively growing at the time of establishment. Sod is perishable, and should not remain on the pallet or stack for more than 36 hours. The presence of mildew and distinct yellowing of the leaves is usually good evidence that the sod has been stacked too long.
The first step to sodding a lawn is to take a soil test. Testing helps determine if any of the essential nutrients are deficient. If soil amendments are needed, incorporate them before sodding.
Properly prepared soil is essential for rapid, uniform sod establishment. Compacted soil severely limits root growth resulting in thin, weak turf that is full of weeds. At least 6 inches of nutrient rich and aerated soil is needed to grow a healthy lawn. Soils can be improved through the addition of weed-free organic material such as peat moss, compost, or well rotted manure. Avoid over-working the soil. A cloddy (1 inch diameter) soil is preferable to a powdery fine soil. Hand raking may be necessary to remove larger clods.
To lay the sod, start with a straight edge such as a driveway or sidewalk. Unroll the sod pieces tightly against each other, but do not overlap. Using a sharp knife, cut pieces to fit curves or small areas. After the sod has been laid, fill cracks with organic material and roll it to ensure good contact with the soil. Approximately 111 square yards are needed to cover 1,000 square feet.
Moisture is the most vital element for sod establishment. After laying and rolling the sod, thoroughly soak the area. Keep it continually moist with frequent light waterings. Monitor establishment by lightly pulling up a corner and inspecting the root system once a week. As the roots develop and grow, water less frequently.
A common mistake is to wait too long before mowing new sod. As soon as cool-season grasses reach a height of 3 inches, mow with a mower set at 2 inches. Continue mowing at this height through the end of the season.new grass. Use lower rates of fertilizer by cutting the rate in half and making two applications four weeks apart.
Fertilizer is an essential part of establishing the new lawn. If a soil test is not taken, a lawn starter fertilizer can be applied according to package directions. While fertilizer is necessary for healthy, green growth, too much can burn the tender new grass. Use lower rates of fertilizer by cutting the rate in half and making two applications four weeks apart.