Laying sod can be a great way to get a thick and lush looking lawn without having to plant seed and wait for it to grow. With sod, you will need to prepare your soil, lay the sod, and ensure it gets proper early maintenance to grow well.
A thick and full sod lawn can thrive within two to three weeks and be ready for normal lawn usage at that time. Nothing beats the instant gratification a few rolls of sod can provide to a bare or spotty lawn.
Prepare the Soil
Preparing the soil for sod is the first step, and the most important part of the process. You will want to ensure the first 6 inches of soil is properly tilled and loosened up. This helps provide a good foundation for roots to grow into once the sod is laid.
After you have tilled the first 6 inches, evenly spread two inches of compost and two inches of drainage sand on top. Till this into the soil a second time and make sure it has thoroughly mixed evenly before you stop tilling.
At this time, you can go one step further and add both lime and a starter fertilizer to the soil. This will help give your sod roots a good head start, but is not necessary if you want to shorten the early preparation process.
Lay the Sod
After the soil has been prepared and is free from divots and slopes, it’s time to start laying the first row of sod. You want to find a straight edge in the lawn, which can be a fence line, driveway boundary, or other straight barrier.
Start by unrolling the first roll of sod against this straight line and smooth out the wrinkles. Pat down the sod as you are unrolling it to ensure it is free of air pockets and has a good contact with the soil underneath.
From here, continue unrolling additional rolls of sod snugly against the previous row. The snug placement will ensure there are no obvious seams covering your lawn. Make sure no parts of the sod are overlapping another as this can lead to dead spots and poor root formation.
Maintain the Sod
Once you have the sod laid down in straight and snug-fitting rows, it’s time to start with early maintenance. Proper maintenance right from the start will ensure you have a healthy and well formed lawn over time.
Daily watering is the first step once the sod is laid. You want to ensure it is thoroughly watered and remains moist, but isn’t flooded. Watering is best done in the morning to prevent rapid evaporation.
Mowing is also important and should be done within the first week. The sod will still be very fragile for the first two to three weeks, so when mowing it’s important that you use a push mower instead of a riding lawn mower to prevent heavy damage to the roots.