While Sod For Homes does not provide sod installation services at this time, we are happy to refer you to local landscapers who do. In the meantime, here are some tips to ensure proper installation.
- Loosen the top 6 to 8 inches of soil with a rototiller. Spread approximately 2 inches of finished compost if needed. (Also, adding 2 to 3 inches of sand to claylike soil will improve drainage.) Then, based on the results from your soil test, use a spreader to lay down the appropriate starter fertilizer, and then lime if needed.
- Level your lawn. Use an iron rake to knock down any high spots and fill in low spots so the soil is level and 1 inch below the grade of any paved surface, such as a walkway or driveway. Water lightly to dampen the soil.
- Lay your sod as soon as possible after it’s delivered, preferably the day of but definitely within 24 hours.
- Lay your first row. Find the longest straight edge in your yard. Lay your first several slabs, or unroll the first roll, of sod along it. Keep off the sod while you are installing it and rake out any footprints as you go. Smooth out loose areas or wrinkles, patting down the sod so it's flat against the soil underneath it, with no air pockets.
- Lay the next rows. After laying the first row, use a knife to cut off half of the next piece so you can stagger the short seams, as you would in laying bricks. Make sure to butt sections of turf snugly against each other without overlapping them. Not only will seams be less noticeable this way but the edges will be less likely to dry out and die back. Use the knife to cut out holes for in-ground sprinkler heads as needed, and to trim pieces along planting beds and paved areas.
- Water immediately after installation. New sod should be watered for a minimum of 45 minutes after installation to allow both lawn and soil to gather moisture, which will help with the rooting process. Try to keep foot traffic off the sod for a week. Water every day, even up to twice a day if laid during the warmer months, preferably in the morning: During the heat of the day, you lose a lot of water to evaporation. And if you water at night, the sod goes to bed wet, which can encourage fungal disease. Each watering session should be 20-30 minutes. After the first week, cut back watering to every other day, tapering off to just twice a week by the third week. Then like any lawn, give it an inch of water a week, more during hot summer months.
- Use a lawn roller after installation. This is a particularly important step. It will help your lawn take root and get rid of any air pockets underneath the pieces of grass.
- Wait to mow. It’s a good idea to wait several weeks (possibly even up to five weeks) to mow your lawn after installation in order to avoid cutting the new sod too close to the root. When the grass reaches 3 inches high, it's time to mow it down to 2 inches.
- Fertilize! New lawns thrive with the application of quality fertilizer, which works to help create and maintain a sustainable root system that will keep your yard lush for years to come. Liquid fertilizers tend to work best for new sod, since they are able to penetrate the surface of the soil to help condition the area beneath the surface. Note: A 10 10 10 All Purpose Fertilizer is best. Allow your lawn about four weeks' growth, then feed it again with a starter fertilizer to make up for nutrients that washed away during the heavy watering schedule.
- Enjoy your new lawn!!
Check out this video for additional sod laying tips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIFTgv4T4A8
Source: This Old House