While many people feel all it takes to have a nice yard is rolling some turf out on the ground, the truth is that sod installation takes a bit of preparation and maintenance says Tampa sod company Council Growers. Without the proper preparation, the grass will grow unevenly, making it harder to mow, and you will end up with areas that dry out and die no matter how hard you work at keeping everything green.
To ensure that your lawn looks great, here are a few tips for preparing the area before having the sod delivered, how to properly lay the sod, and maintenance required for the first couple of months. Remember, the sooner you get it rolled out and placed, the less chance for it to start to die.
Till and Aerate the Soil
The ground in your yard has become compacted over time. The roots from the sod need to be able to grown down into the ground easily. Using a rototiller, turn the top five or six inches of soil to ensure it is well aerated. This will not only break up the dirt so roots can grow, but will also provide the roots with oxygen for breathing.
Test the Soil and Add Needed Nutrients
Once you have tilled the ground, take a shovelful of the soil to the local cooperative extension, or to a lawn and garden store, to have it tested. The results of the test will indicate whether you need to add lime, peat moss, clay, fertilizer or compost, and how much you should add to make the sod grow lush and thick. Mix the needed nutrients into the soil, the rototiller can be used to ensure good mixing.
Rake and Level the Area
Once you have the soil and any nutrients mixed, use a rake and level the ground. The more even the area, the better the sod will latch on and grow. Having small dips and hills will have areas of the sod that do not touch the ground so the roots will never take hold. In addition, trying to mow the lawn will be more difficult when there are little dips or low areas.
Unroll the Sod
As soon as the sod is delivered; place the roll at one end of the longest stretch in your yard. Carefully unroll it, making sure to lightly press it so there is contact with the soil underneath. Cut the roll when you reach the other end and start back on the next row. Take some extra time to butt the rows tightly up against each other. When you reach the end of the roll, start with the next one, being sure to place it tight against the end of the previous roll. Do not pull the rolls too tightly or stretch it or the roots will not reach the soil adequately.
It is important to water the newly laid sod within 30 minutes. Water the sod to a depth of about one inch every day for the first two weeks. You should then water the lawn at least twice a week to about two or three inches. To determine how deep you have watered, stick a finger down into the soil, it should feel damp the whole length of your finger.
After the initial sod installation, try to keep from overusing the lawn for at least three weeks. You will probably need to mow it at this time. Keeping the grass between two and three inches tall will ensure that it will continue to grow. Check the soil after a couple of months, adding fertilizer if needed. When you take the time to prepare the soil and maintain the new growth, you will have a lush, full lawn that looks great.