6 Easy Steps to Laying Grass Sod

Laying grass - Mobile Mower Techs

So, you have bare dirt in your yard, and you want to see beautiful, green grass there. Laying grass sod isn’t hard, but it does require some planning and a little more time than you probably expected. These six easy steps to laying grass sod will help you get that beautiful lawn you want.

Start by Preparing Your Soil and Growing Environment

No sod will thrive if there is something wrong with the soil or the growing environment, and there is probably something wrong with one of them if there’s no grass currently growing.

You’ll need to do a little investigating to figure out and address the problem before you buy your sod.

There are several reasons grass doesn’t want to grow:

  • too much shade
  • too little water
  • too much water
  • bad mower blade height, either too low or too high
  • contaminated or dull mower blades
  • soil compaction
  • the grass isn’t right for the location
  • bad soil pH
  • too little topsoil

Most grass needs at least 3 hours of sunlight a day to thrive. Watch the area at several times during the day. Is there sun or shade there? Can you think of a reason why this area is getting an excessively low or high amount of water? If the lawn patch passes those criteria, start investigating the lawn mower and testing your soil. If you don’t have 4-6 inches of topsoil, you can add some.

When you buy sod, do research to ensure you are buying grass that will grow in your area.

Remove Old Grass

You can’t lay new sod on top of old grass, no matter how pitiful the old grass is. It will interfere with the soil-to-soil contact needed for optimal grass growth and the old grass may try to compete with your new grass and make an ugly mess.

If you’re working with a small area, you can use a flat shovel to remove the old grass in the spot where you want to lay down your sod. For larger areas, you should rent a sod cutter. We don’t recommend the use of chemicals to remove the grass. They’re effective, but they are also harmful to you and the environment.

Till the Soil

Till the area where you want to lay down your sod to give the roots an optimal chance to establish themselves. While you’re doing this, you should also level the ground. A level lawn is easier to mow. If you’re laying sod next to concrete, it is also crucial that you make the lawn level with the concrete because sod that is raised too high beside sidewalks and pathways will die.

Buy the Sod

We’ve reached the most exciting step, buying the sod.

Measure the area you want to lay sod. Sod is usually sold by the square foot or by the pallet or roll. A pallet typically holds 450 square feet of sod. A roll usually covers 10 square feet. Southern grasses come in smaller portions that cover 2.88 square feet.

Plan to buy your sod a few hours to a few days before you plan to lay it, depending on the needs of the grass you intend to buy and the weather. Laying any sod the same day is ideal.

If you’ll be laying sod on sloped ground, buy some sod staples while you’re there.

Laying the Sod

Laying sod is a hot and dirty job, even in mild weather, so wear comfortable, breathable clothes, drink plenty of fluids, and be prepared to shower.

If you’ll be laying more than one small patch of sod, lay your sod in narrow strips and start with the longest, straight strip, such as the edge next to your house or sidewalk. Lay each strip next to the other in a brick pattern to prevent natural lines in the grass. Each strip should be laid very close to the next, even if this means cutting the sod the make it fight tightly. But don’t overlap the sod. You will also need to cut the sod to make it fit around irregular shapes.

You should remove air pockets as you lay the sod with a lawn roller that is one-third filled with water or by gently walking on the sod with your feet, evenly covering the area.

Caring for Your Sod

Begin watering your sod immediately after laying it down. Water it lightly but frequently until you see roots growing. You can lift the edge of your sod to check for root growth. You want the sod to be moist but not sopping or muddy. Watering the sod in the morning is best so the sun doesn’t dry it out. When the roots have grown enough that you feel resistance when lifting the sod, water the sod a little less and water it more at a time.

Be careful with mowing when the sod is still new as it is vulnerable to damage. Wait until it is 3-4 inches tall and mow gently.

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Make sure your lawn mower is in tip-top shape for caring for your new lawn by reaching out to Mobile Mower Techs! It’s so easy. We’ll come to you.