6 ESSENTIAL SOD INSTALLATION TIPS
Installing sod is a great way for any homeowner to instantly transform their landscape. However, making sure that you install it correctly is crucial if you want your lawn to stay lush and green, so here are six essential sod installation tips.
Add Soil Amendments
Soil preparation is incredibly important when it comes to successful grass installation, and making sure that the soil that the sod will be put on is as hospitable to the new grass as possible is essential.
Adding soil amendments like compost, peat moss, or other organic matter like grass clippings and wood ash can help add important nutrients to the soil and improve its water retention, creating the ideal conditions for your new lawn to grow green and healthy.
Proper grading is also essential for successful sod installation. Make sure that the surface you are going to lay the sod on is as flat as possible and free of any large bumps or depressions. Doing so now, before sod installation will ensure that all water is distributed evenly throughout your lawn, preventing your lawn from becoming dry in some areas and waterlogged in others.
Test Sprinkler Coverage
If you have a sprinkler system it's a good idea to check how well it's working before you lay any new sod. Turn it on and dampen all the soil where you plan to install your sod. This isn’t only good for the sod when you lay it but it will also allow you to see if your sprinkler system will cover your whole lawn evenly.
A simple DIY test method is to put tuna cans (or the equivalent) randomly around your lawn area, run your sprinklers for a 10 minute set, and verify that each can has the same amount of water inside. Check edges, middle, and hard to reach places. You may want to reset and run the test multiple times checking all areas. Adjust accordingly.
If you see that you don’t have even coverage, adjust your sprinkler heads or add sprinklers where needed to ensure that the grass in your new lawn gets all of the water it needs, no matter where in the lawn it’s located.
Install Fresh Sod Immediately
Once you have your new sod, it's crucial that you install it as soon as possible. The grass in the sod is living and it should be installed within 12 hours of you receiving it. Leaving it longer than that will only decrease the chances that it takes root properly and increases the chance that the grass simply dies.
Once you do have it installed make sure to water it right away so that all parts of the newly laid sod are equally saturated.Water should soak through the sod and into the soil beneath. You should not necessarily wait until all the grass is installed before watering the first sod installed. Dry soil under the sod will pull moisture out of the sod plants and speed up the drying out process. Water installed areas as soon as possible with a hose if necessary.
Fertilize Sod Right After Installation
Applying fertilizer is another great way to encourage the establishment of roots and the healthy growth of the grass. Fertilizers with high phosphorus content can be particularly helpful as phosphorus is essential for root growth. Just be sure to follow the instructions on its packaging and be careful not to apply too much. Application of a fertilizer with pre emergent weed control will also help reduce weeds that may germinate from the newly disturbed and prepared soil. Each time soil is disturbed new weed seeds are brought to the surface and may germinate.
Water Sod Deeply and Infrequently
As you continue to water your sod, it's better to water it for longer periods of time and at less frequent intervals. When you water for longer, more water sinks deeper into the ground, promoting the growth of deep roots and preventing water loss due to evaporation.