How to Lay Sod
Cultivated turf allows you to enjoy a lawn of instant beauty and maturity without the usual time-consuming hassles of seeding. When purchasing turfgrass sod, consult a member of the Turfgrass Producers International (TPI) in your area, to be assured that you are getting the finest quality turf available. The following are the basic steps to a beautiful lawn. Check with your local TPI member for any further recommendations for your specific area.
STEP 1 – Measuring and Ordering
With a tape, measure the area of your planned lawn. Include these measurements on a sketch of the lawn area, with the length, width, and any unusual features. Your local TPI member will be happy to assist you in determining the amount of turfgrass sod you will need from your sketch.
Schedule your order for delivery of turf after preparatory work is completed and you are ready to install. Prompt installation on the day of delivery is crucial to a strong beginning for your lawn.
STEP 2 – Soil Preparation
For best result, rototill or spade the area to a depth of 10 to 15 cm. (4 to 6 in.). Eliminate drainage problems by having soil slope away from foundations, etc.
Soil test your lawn area with the assistance of qualified service in your area. Then rake in fertilizer, lime, peat, compost, etc. as need to a depth of 7 to 10 cm. (3 to 4 in.). Rake and smooth the soil removing rocks, roots, and large clods. Roll the area lightly with a lawn roller 1/3 full of water. This will firm the soil surface and reveal low areas that need more soil. Keep the grade 2 to 3 cm. (1 in.) below sidewalks or driveway.
Water the prepared area to settle soil and provide a moist base for turf. Moistening to a depth of 15 cm. (6 in.) is recommended for most soils. However, consult with your local TPI member regarding your specific soil needs.
STEP 3 – Turf Installation
Install your lawn immediately upon delivery. Begin watering lawn within 30 minutes of installation. Turf is a living plant that requires ground contact and moisture to survive!
In hot weather, protect unlaid turf by placing stacks in shade, covering with moist burlap sacking, and/or sprinkling.
Begin installing turf along the longest straight line, such as a driveway or sidewalk. Butt and push edges and ends against each other tightly, without stretching. Avoid gaps or overlaps. Stagger the joints in each row in a brick-like fashion, using a large sharp knife to trim corners, etc. Avoid leaving small strips at outer edges as they will not retain moisture. On slopes, place the turf pieces across the slope.
To avoid causing indentations or air pockets avoid repeated walking or kneeling on the turf while it is being installed or just after watering.
After installing the turf, roll the entire area to improve turf/soil contact and remove air pockets.
STEP 4 – Watering
Give your new lawn at least 2 to 3 cm. (1 in.) of water within 1/2 hour of installation. Water daily, or more often, keeping turf moist until it is firmly rooted (about 2 weeks). Then less frequent and deeper watering should begin.
Weather conditions will dictate the amount and frequency of watering. Be certain that your new lawn has enough moisture to survive hot, dry, or windy periods. Water areas near building more often where reflected heat dries the turf.
During the first three weeks, avoid heavy or concentrated use of your new lawn. This gives the roots an opportunity to firmly knit with the soil, and insures that the turf will remain smooth.
Your new sod lawn increases your property value significantly. With proper care, it will remain a great asset, providing beauty, a clean playing surface, and an improved environment.
Mow often, generally removing no more than 1/3 of the grass height at a mowing. Keep your mower blade sharp. Follow local TPI mowing recommendations for your type of lawn.
Fertilizer and chemical applications will depend on climate, sod type, soil, insects, weed and disease conditions.
For fertilizer and maintenance requirements, consult your local TPI member or an extension agent.