Fresh Sod: 7 Easy Steps for Installation!
Laying down your farm fresh sod is only half the battle. Steps 1 & 2 should be completed before the sod arrives, as sod should be laid down as soon as possible after delivery for best results. Once you’ve prepared the area you are ready to lay down your sod! We have provided a detailed guide below on the proper way to prepare the area to be sodded as well as laying down and taking care of the sod.
Step 1: Bare the Area
Your sod should be laid on bare soil. This can be achieved through 3 ways:
i, Rototill, rake the debris, level surfaces and lay sod.
ii, Rent a small sod harvester and remove the old turf to make way for the new sod.
iii, Set your mower very close to the ground. Mow and rake off debris and put down a thin, good quality topsoil before sodding. Don’t forget to sharpen your mower after this step!
Step 2: Grade Surfaces
Carefully level all surfaces that are to be sodded. Soil surfaces should be 1 inch below walkways, patios and driveways to accommodate sod thickness. A light rolling will show soil depressions or surface irregularities. These can then be leveled.
Step 3: Fertilize the Area
Fertilizer will be used by sod over the next few days as it is watered. We suggest using turf starter fertilizer for best results. It can be applied either on the soil surface or on top of the sod after it is down. Apply fertilizer evenly and at the recommended rate. Rake in lightly. We recommend using a high phosphorous fertilizer to promote initial root growth! (Phosphorous is the middle number in the fertilizer code i.e. [10-25-10] 25 is the percentage of phosphorous)
Step 4: Lay Your Fresh Sod
Begin laying sod as soon as possible upon delivery, especially during the summer months to avoid damage from heating. Sod that will remain stacked on a pallet for an extended period of time must be unstacked to allow air circulation. Do not water the fresh sod while it is rolled up.
Lay the first strip of sod along a straight line using string for a guide. Butt joints tightly – do not overlap edges. When laying the second strip, stagger the joints, similar to laying bricks. Use a sharp knife to cut sod to fit curves and edges.
Step 5: Water, Water, Water
Do not wait until the entire area is sodded before watering. As soon as a ‘sprinkler size’ area is laid, begin watering it and then go on to the next section. On hot days do not leave laid sod for more than an hour without water. On cooler days do not leave it for more than 2 hours.
Step 6: Roll Fresh Sod
Roll your new lawn to even out the turf joints and to ensure good contact between the turf roots and soil. This also is effective in eliminating air pockets.
Step 7: Keep Moist
Keep your new sod well watered for at least 2-3 weeks. This will assist the turf edges to knit and the roots to establish.
Sod Tip: Mow your Lawn
For best results, mow your fresh sod 7 days after installation on a 45º to the direction it was laid. Once your sod established, mow your lawn twice a week in peak seasons (May-June) and once a week for the rest of the year. We recommend mowing Kentucky Bluegrass Sod 2 ¼” tall, but no lower than 1 ½” and no taller than 3”. Always make sure your mower blades are sharp. This is key to a healthy lawn as it will help to prevent disease, and improve the aesthetic appearance!