Rolling Out a New Look – How to Prepare to Lay Sod
To seed or sod? That is the question. And while many landscape professionals will suggest that seeding is better for a number of reasons, there are likewise many reasons to consider building your lawn with sod. For example, if you’re a new business owner, sod looks great for your ribbon cutting ceremony. Of, if you’re hosting a house warming party, sod will make your new home look exceptionally beautiful. Case in point, sod is a great way to get a lush lawn in place in a short amount of time.
There are, however, some things to know before investing in sod and ways to prepare for installation to ensure its long term health.
1. Research growers. You will want to make sure that the supplier is well regarded and seems to know their stuff. Check out how they produce the sod, how they care for it, and what their delivery procedures entail.
2. Check the seed type. Ask for sod that is well suited for your property’s conditions, particularly if your lawn will be in shade or all day sun. If you haven’t done so already, contact your local university extension to get your soils tested, too.
3. Make a plan. If you are installing the sod yourself, get familiar with what the procedure will entail and try to estimate how long it will take. Sod sitting around in rolls for days can breed mold, invite insects, begin composting, and dry out the roots. Look for a place to stage the sod between delivery and installation. This should be a spot that’s out of the sun where the roots can stay moist and you can maintain and care for it until it’s time to put it in place. Read and follow all the supplier’s instructions.
4. Remove old vegetation. Use a weed killer to take out whatever might be growing in the spot you want to sod. You will want good root-to-soil contact, so do not rely on just covering the weeds with the roll to eliminate their unsightliness. A non-selective weed killer will help clean the slate, but ask the professionals at your local garden center for the right product.
5. Treat the soil. Remember that soil test? The results will help you determine what amendments your soil needs for optimum lawn growth.
6. Till. Loosen the top few inches of soil to work in the treatments you may have applied in the previous step and then rake it to remove any debris that might stand in the way of that very important root-to-soil goal.
7. Your supplier will likely suggest a compatible fertilizer to use with your new sod. Follow their recommendations closely, particularly if a warranty is at stake.
You are now ready to “roll”! Be sure to follow proper protocols for placement, watering, mowing, and any other recommended care over the life of your new lawn.