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New Sod

A hand in a glove rolling out sod for lawn installation.

New Sod Guidelines

Preparing Soil for Turfgrass Establishment
  • Site preparations for sodding are the same as preparations for establishment from seed. The soil surface should be smooth and dry or slightly moist, but not wet. Cool-season grasses may be sodded at almost any time of the year that the soil is not frozen. However, late summer, spring or fall are the optimum times. Sod is typically cut into rectangular strips that are delivered folded or rolled on pallets. Once delivered, the sod should be laid within 24-48 hours to avoid decomposition within the rolls or folds and death of the turf. When placing the sod, lay in a staggered, brick-like pattern so that seams do not line up. Place the strips tightly against one another along all edges to avoid drying and to speed up “knitting together” of the strips. Once placed, roll the lawn surface with a light roller before watering and press any raised areas down to avoid scalping by mowers. Finally, walk the entire area and fill in any small openings between turf strips with soil.
  • Begin watering new sod within a half hour after it is laid on the soil.  Apply at least 1 inch of water so that the soil beneath the sod is very wet.  Ideally, the soil 3 to 4 inches below the surface should be moist.
  • Your new lawn needs to be watered twice per day, for 10-20 minutes per session every day for at least two months.
  • Make absolutely certain that water is getting to all areas of your new lawn, regardless of the type of sprinkling system you use.  Corners and edges are easily missed by many sprinklers and are particularly vulnerable to drying out faster than the center portion of your lawn.  Areas near buildings dry out faster because of reflected heat and may require more water.
  • Runoff may occur on some soils and sloped areas before the soil is adequately moist.  To conserve water and ensure adequate soak-in, turn off the water when runoff begins, wait 30-60 minutes, and restart the watering on the same area.  Repeat this start and stop process until proper soil moisture is achieved.
  • Newly established turf is very sensitive to most herbicides and weed control should be avoided until the area is completely established. A good rule of thumb is to wait until after the third mowing before considering applying any herbicide. As always, thoroughly reading and carefully following the instructions on herbicide labels is critical.