How to Install Sod
Garden Clippings for August 5, 2017
Sod looks easy enough to apply, just like wallpaper. But we know that friendships have been strained and marriages have suffered when two like-minded people get together to hang wallpaper.
Not so with sod. In fact, I dare say that relationships are strengthened when two or more people tackle the dirty job of laying sod.
Step one is base preparation. Use a wide rake to level the soil under your new sod. Remove the clay clumps, stones, debris and weeds. Unless your existing soil is wonderful, I recommend adding an inch or so of screened top dresser soil before putting down sod.
Adding fertilizer to the soil before the sod goes down is a good idea. Turf starter fertilizer, strong in phosphorous, is formulated to encourage root growth. Apply the fertilizer with a broadcast spreader and follow label directions. Most formulations call for 2 kg fertilizer to be applied over 100 square metres.
Take your time leveling the soil. Keep the soil half to one inch below the level of sidewalks and curbs.
Lay your sod immediately after it arrives. Sod left on a pallet in the hot sun for more than 6 hours deteriorates quickly. Cooler weather is more forgiving.
Put on and old t-shirt and get started. Lay down the first roll and stagger the joints as you add more. Be sure to slide each roll tight against the last so as to avoid gaps between the rows. Use a sharp spade or old butcher knife to cut the curves and angles along the edges.
Watering is the most important part of the job, and should be done immediately after the sod is down. If you begin your sod job in the morning and stop for lunch, put the water sprinkler on the part of the job that’s been completed.
At the end of day one, be sure your new sod gets about half an inch of water. If helpful, put a shallow tin can on the lawn to measure the progress. Be careful to reach all the ends and corners of your new sod.
For the first week it is important to water every day. Municipalities that put water restrictions in effect will allow daily water sprinklers for newly installed sod and gardens. For week two and three, be sure to water every other day, depending on the weather.
Rolling sod after its application will serve to eliminate air pockets and will cause the roots of new sod to adhere to the soil underneath. Use a manual drum roller, fill it with water and walk in both directions.