How to lay sod
Radio interview source: Josh Polz, professional landscaper, Majestic Green
When it comes to planting grass, laying sod might be more efficient than seeding. Josh Polz works for a turf company and says sodding is a great option, especially on slopes where grass seed would wash down hill in a rainstorm. But before you roll out the green carpet, you have to spend some time prepping the area.
"What I would suggest is prepare the topsoil," Polz says. "You know, obviously if you've got clay, it's better to have the sod on 2 or 3 inches of black dirt, and then have a rototiller come in there and loosen it all up. Then put a starter fertilizer on the ground before or after you sod."
Rake it smooth and give the soil a good soaking. Use a sharp knife or a trowel to cut the sod. Start laying the sod strips along a straight line, like a driveway. It looks more uniform if you stagger the seams and add soil underneath if the sod doesn't lie evenly. Be sure the strips are butted up tightly against each other, but don't overlap or stretch them.
If you're laying sod on a hill, lay the strips perpendicular to the slope. This prevents it from sliding when watering. If the slope is very steep, use stakes or lawn staples to hold the sod in place.
And then water it. A lot! You have to practically flood the stuff every day for about four weeks so the roots have a chance to knit with the soil. If it isn't settled in quite right, the grass will tell you so.
"A lot of times when there are edges that turn brown after you sod, it may be because you've overlapped too far," Polz says. "You can get a roller and roll it down after it's been really watered, so it will squish into the topsoil."
You'll know the sod has taken root when you can't pull it up off the ground anymore. However it doesn't mean you can stop watering. Get the sprinkler out every other day for another month or so, paying special attention to the seams between the sod and edges of the yard because they dry out quickly.
Lay a sod lawn: Follow these step-by-step instructions for successfully laying your own sod.
The lawn you long for: Whether you're starting a new lawn or taking care of an established one, here are some tips for keeping it lush and green.
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