Proper soil preparation is the most important step for a successful lawn. The goal is to provide a good base in which the grass roots can vigorously establish and grow.
- Begin by removing all old lawn, rocks, weeds and any other debris.
- Using a sod cutter, cut out all of the existing lawn. You can usually find a sod cutter at your local equipment rental store.
- Kill or pull all existing weeds.
- Remove all rocks or other debris.
- Establish your rough grade, directing drainage away from any buildings and eliminating any low spots.
- Spread 3 to 5 yards of soil amendment for every 1000 square feet. Rototill into your existing ground 4 to 6 inches deep.
- We recommend using a high grade of compost as your soil amendment which must be rototilled into the ground, it cannot be simply added as a layer above your existing soil. We use an organic Bio-compost from A1 organics on all of our installs.
- Rake and fine grade the surface to smooth uneven areas. Finished grade should be 1/2 inch below sidewalks, driveways, sprinkler heads and patios.
- As a final step we use and recommend the use of MYKE Turf which is spread like a fertilizer at a rate of 4 lbs. per 1000 square feet on top of the final grade. This promotes healthy root growth to aid in faster establishment of the new turf and reduce the water needs of the turf due to the healthier and denser root growth. MYKE Turf is available for purchase from us for the do-it-yourselfer.
Green side up!
Sod is a living plant and should be installed as soon as possible after delivery.
- Begin installing sod along an edge, furthest away, to minimize the amount of traffic on the prepared soil and newly installed grass.
- Stagger the sod in a brick like pattern so that the seams are offset. Keep ends and sides of the sod butted together tightly without overlapping. If you are installing sod on a sloped area the rolls should be laid perpendicular to the slope, as to prevent water run off.
- Sod may be cut with a knife to conform to curved boundaries. It is easiest to cut from the dirt side of the sod. Knives are available from us for a cost of $10.
- In warm and dry conditions we recommending a light watering of the installed sod as you work to keep the sod from drying and shrinking during the installation. Once all the sod is down water completely per the guidelines below.
Watering Your Sod:
Water, Water, Water!
The following information is provided as a general guideline. Remember that no two lawns are exactly alike and conditions can vary greatly from one area of your lawn to another. Newly planted sod needs to be watered much differently than established lawns. It is highly recommended you have a sprinkler system in place before installing sod. Due to the increased water needs of the new sod, watering by hand or with a garden hose sprinkler will be very time consuming for the first few weeks.
Many factors will affect the water needs during the establishment and even after the sod is established. Areas of your lawn that are on higher ground and/or are more exposed to sun and wind will use significantly more water. Lower areas and areas that are well shaded and protected will not need as much water. Maintaining consistent moisture levels in all areas of the lawn will ensure proper establishment. In order to achieve consistent moisture levels fine tuning of the irrigation system and close observation will be required for success.
- Immediately after all the sod is installed, water the lawn until it is good and soaked, usually 45 to 60 minutes. This is the most important watering because the ground is dry, the soil amendment is dry and the sod itself is dry. This initial watering is vital to ensure the sod and soil beneath are good and soaked.
- During the first 2 weeks, while the sod’s root system is being established, heavy watering is necessary. The new sod needs to stay moist 24 hours a day. We recommend watering a MINIMUM of 2 times per day for at least 20 to 40 minutes. Variations in soil conditions, temperature and sprinkler type will affect the number of cycles and length of time that your sprinklers should run. The key is maintaining consistent moisture throughout the lawn.Also during this time any use of the lawn should be avoided to give the roots an opportunity to become established and to insure the lawn will remain smooth. On hot days (90 degrees and over) or windy days you may need to water 3 to 4 times a day so that the sod is not allowed to dry out between watering. During the 3rd and 4th week you should be transitioning from heavy watering to a normal routine. Begin by eliminating one run cycle of the system every 4-5 days until you have reached one per day and then begin gradually eliminating days from the schedule until you have reached your preferred watering schedule. We recommend an every other day schedule, watering early in the morning.
- It is important to note that areas of your lawn that are well shaded will use significantly less water so be careful to not overwater these areas. Overwatering will keep the sod from growing roots which will lead to dead spots.
- Watch your sod closely for signs of dehydration (not enough water). Signs include: a purplish tint, blades turn gray and footprints are left when walked upon, the sod rolls begin to shrink and gaps form between rolls, or grass blades turn straw in color. If any of these signs are prevalent, the sod is not getting enough water, increase your watering times!
- If you are not convinced your issues are due to lack of watering, try this test. Place like-sized containers in the problem area and another in a good and green area. Water for 15 to 30 minutes then measure and compare both containers. If the problem area is not getting the same amount of water than your sprinkler heads and system may need adjustments.
- The 1st mowing should occur within the first 10 to 14 days after installation. Do not let the lawn get too long where the blades begin to lay down or your mower cannot handle the job. It is necessary to stop watering for a period of time to allow grass to dry and the ground to firm up enough to be mowed.It may also be necessary to mow the lawn in two passes for the first mowing, you do not want to mow more than the top 3rd of the blade at one time. So if it is very long, raise the blade on the mower and mow, then lower the blade (no shorter that 3 inches) and mow again. Mowing off too much of the blade at one time can cause shock to the lawn and may create a dead spot in the lawn. If the grass appears yellow after mowing you are cutting off too much.
- New sod should not be fertilized for at least 6 weeks following installation and we do not recommend use of any starter fertilizer with the installation.
Special considerations for fall installations:
Sod installed late in the season will likely not have a chance to become fully established before the winter sets in. In these instances you will need to be sure to water the sod several times over the winter especially during extended periods or dry weather. You do not need a heavy watering as the frozen ground will not absorb much water but keeping the surface moist will insure that the sod is ready to go when spring arrives. Even established lawns can die during a dry winter so a little water in these times will ensure a healthy lawn the next spring.
FOR INFORMATION AND ADVICE ON CARING FOR YOUR ESTABLISHED LAWN PLEASE VISIT: CSUTURF.COM