Planting sod has a lot to do with timing. The planter should not only understand the correct process for planting an instant lawn, but what grasses are best for what locations and the best time to plant.
The most important element when installing an instant lawn is to keep in mind that everything grows in the soil, so it is important to prepare it properly. Do-it-yourselfers should start by installing/checking sprinkler systems and by inspecting the soil for pests.
Here are other basic steps you should follow:
- Remove old turf or plant material. A mattock can be used for this task. Next rough grade it with a rake.
- Apply soil amendments and granular fertilizer before rototilling the soil. Now grade the area. A bow rake can be used to remove large debris.
- A water-filled roller can be used to compact soil and prevent settling. The soil will need to be graded a final time.
- Now it's time to lay the 'instant lawn,' or sod, available in rolls or folded in half. Rolls tend to be about 5 square feet.
- Always lay the sod along the longest direction. And remember: don't walk over it!
- While laying sod, stagger the ends as in a brick wall. Since sod dries from the edges, tuck edges in slightly and firm them by patting them down. A sod knife or any sharp knife from your home can be used (but don't use the good silver!). Cut around all sprinkler heads at this time.
- Roll your instant lawn again with the water-filled roller, both up and down and side to side.
- Water the sod thoroughly after you finish rolling.
Most grass types are available as sod, but some warmer season grasses are planted as sprigs or plugs. There are fewer choices available in sods composed of a mix of different grasses, however. The best time to plant the sod is a little before the period of optimum growth for the particular type of grass. Cool season grasses need to be planted in the early fall or spring; warm season grasses need to be planted in the mid- to late spring.
When planting sod, it is crucial to know the precise square footage needed when ordering, then order a little extra to ensure there is more than enough. Make sure sod pieces aren't kept away from the light or get too hot. Keeping the pieces rolled up for too long can kill the grass. The grass should be an even hue of bright green and a consistent length. If the grass yellows at all it probably means it has been rolled up for too long and will take longer to turn into a good looking, healthy lawn. Before purchasing sod, talk with the grower/seller about what types of grasses are best for the location that the lawn will be.