Lawn Care Tips: Installing Sod Grass Instruction

This article shows you how to install your very own sod lawn.

There are few things more satisfying to a homeowner than to look out upon a healthy, lush lawn. It is even more satisfying if you installed the lawn yourself. While there are multiple ways to create a beautiful lawn, one of the most popular is by installing sod.

Sod installation is a time-consuming but fairly simple process. However, because it is time-consuming, it is important to follow the appropriate steps so that once you are finished, you will be able to enjoy a worry-free lawn for years to come.

The steps for installing a sod lawn include:

1)Selecting the proper sod

2)Preparing your lawn for sod installation

3)Installing the sod

4)Tending to the sod after installation to ensure sod survival

The first step to consider in sod installation is to select the proper sod. This is a fairly simple step, but absolutely crucial. The easiest way to determine which type of sod is best for your lawn is to speak with the people from whom you will buy the sod. Growing conditions, soil, and grass types vary by region, and sod growers make it their business to know which is best for their particular area.

Once you've decided which breed of sod to buy, make sure the sod itself is free of defects. Take a tour of different farms in the area. Most sod growers are proud of their operations and will be happy to show you their sod fields. This also gives you a chance to examine the growing conditions for the sod - if you see sod full of weeds, insects, or disease, you know to buy from a different farm. It doesn't make much sense to replace your weed-filled, patchy lawn with sod that is weed-filled and patchy! After selecting and buying the sod, arrange to have the sod delivered at a future date - estimate enough time to allow yourself an opportunity to fully prepare for installation.

After you have selected the proper sod for your project it is time to prepare your existing lawn for installation of the sod. First, use some type of herbicide to destroy the existing weeds and grass on your lawn. You do not want this old growth to interfere with the rooting and growing of your new lawn. You may have to apply the herbicide a number of times over a span of a week or two to fully destroy the old growth.

After this is complete, you must prepare the soil for installation. This is probably the most time-consuming, but most important step in the process. Good sod will not grow well on bad soil; when the sod is harvested almost three-fourths of it's root system is chopped away, and it needs proper soil quality to re-grow those lost roots. You may want to consider getting your soil tested for acidity and clay levels. Many sod companies offer these services. The results of the test may indicate that you need more fertilizer or to add top-soil to the already existing soil. Even if you don't want to test your soil, it is important to, at the very least, till the soil to a depth of about five or six inches. Extract any large rocks you can find. Rake the soil until it is smooth, mixing in any top-soil or fertilizer you have decided to use. One or two days before the sod installation, water the soil thoroughly. This will help to settle the soil and to provide a moist foundation for the sod to draw water from.

Now that the soil is prepared, you are ready for the actual sod installation. This is a fairly easy process. When the sod is delivered, make sure to put it in a cool place and keep it moist by covering it with damp cloths or spraying it lightly with a hose. Begin the installation right away. You don't want it to start dying before you even get a chance to install it! The sod will arrive in rolls. Find the longest straight line near your lawn. This can be a sidewalk, a deck or porch line, or the driveway. Unroll the sod along this line, doing your best to stay as close to the edge as possible. This will lay the foundation for even sod lines all the way across your lawn. Install the rest of the sod. Try to lay the sod as if you were laying bricks for a wall; this will help prevent a straight line of broken turf across your lawn, which could lead to problems in the future. Do your best to not dig your heels or knees into the sod as you're installing it. Use a sharp knife to cut the sod around any obstacles, such as trees, sidewalks, or sprinkler heads. Once your lawn is covered, use a sod roller to eliminate air pockets, even out the lawn, and anchor the sod firmly to the ground. There are both hand rollers and riding rollers; both should be available for rent at a local store.

Immediately after installation, water your lawn generously, giving a half-inch to an inch of water. Make sure the sod stays constantly moist for the next two weeks, being especially careful if the weather is hot. Although it is okay to spend time on the lawn if you have to, it is better to try and keep activity to a minimum for the first ten or fourteen days, while the sod is taking root and the strips are growing together.

That's all there is to installing your own sod lawn. It's a lot of work, but not too complicated, and once you're finished, you'll be the proudest homeowner on the block.

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