Getting Started Sodding Your New Lawn

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This article will teach you how to sod your lawn.
by Brett · All Zones · Planting · 0 Comments · August 27, 2010 · 22,112 views

Sodding A LawnIf you want an instantaneous lawn, installing sod grass is the way to go. Sod grass is field-grown at a sod farm and then cut with machinery into carpetlike sheets that are usually about 1" thick, 1-1/2 feet wide, and about 2 to 6 feet long. Some farms cut the sod into easily manageable "squares" that are about 18" wide and 24" long, while other farms cut the sod into "rolls" that are up to 6' in length when rolled out, and some offer both. When planted at the right time, and adequately watered, sod grass will "root in" within a few days, to a week.

The Two Basic Types of Lawn Grass

When it comes to lawn grasses, there are two basic types: "Warm season" grasses, such as Bermuda, Centipede, Zoysia and St. Augustine, which thrive and are green during the warmer months of the year, but go dormant during the Winter. And "cool season" lawn grasses such as Fescue and Bluegrass, which thrive during the cooler seasons, but slow down their growth during the heat of Summer. Consult with your local independent nurseryman or professional landscaper to determine what type of lawn grass might be best for your area, and your needs.

When To Sod A Lawn

Cool Season Lawns - Fescue and Bluegrass are best sodded from early to mid-Fall, or from early to mid-Spring. This will allow your new turf to establish a good root system before winter, or during spring before summer heat arrives.

Warm Season Lawns- Bermuda, Zoysia, Centipede and St. Augustine should be sodded from late spring through early fall, when soil temperatures are warm enough (above 68 degrees F) to promote quick rooting, and given time enough to establish themselves before winter arrives. In order to fulfill a contract, contractors might install dormant sod during the winter, which has been overseeded with ryegrass.

Decisions, Decisions

Planting a new lawn from scratch, and doing it right, can be a big job - especially if it's a big lawn. If the lawn you intend to sod is large it may be necessary to tackle the installation in sections. You might also consider getting several competitive bids from local professional landscape contractors, who have the equipment and expertise to do even large lawn sodding jobs in a relatively short period of time. Also consider an irrigation system. It's a lot easier to install irrigation before the sod goes down.

Always get several references from landscapers or any other contractors who might do work for you. Never pay for the entire job up front. A deposit for materials is standard.

Getting Started

If necessary, you'll need to start by removing old turf and weeds. Weeds can be sprayed with an herbicide, or removed with mechanical equipment. If you go the herbicide route, select an herbicide that degrades quickly (does not last long in the environment), such as glysophate (Roundup or Killzall). Mix according to the manufacturer's directions, and completely cover all grass plants and weeds with the solution. Glysophate is a potent, nonselective herbicide that will kill or severely injure all foliage it touches. When spraying chemicals over large areas, wear clothing that covers your skin completely, as well as eye protection. Afterwards, take a shower and wash clothing separately.

You may find that it takes several applications of glyphosate to get the job done - particularly if you are trying to eleminate common "weed-type" Bermuda grass. If the turf has not completely died after 2 weeks, reapply the herbicide and wait 7 days after the last application before tilling the dead turf into your soil. Take care to follow the manufacturer's safety precautions.

You might also want to consider having your soil tested for pH and to identify any nutrient deficiencies. Soil test kits can be purchased at most local nursery and garden centers or your local Extension Service might provide soil testing services. The results of these tests will let you know if the pH or nutrients levels are off and what nutrients or elements need to be applied.

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