Here at Suffolk Sod Father located in Medford, Long Island we have perfected the installation of sod during our 20 years as sod installers. We are happy to share our tips with you and provide a helpful "how to" guide on laying your sod lawn.
1. Square footage measurements – When starting your sod project you must take into account all landscape structures and flower beds. Then, using a measuring wheel or tape measure, accurately measure the area to be sodded. Add 5% to this number to allow for cutting around structures & beds. This number represents the square footage of sod you will need. If you are unsure most sod suppliers can help you if you provide them with an accurately marked drawing.
2. Soil Preparation- Preparing the base under your sod is crucial! As the grass grows the roots must be able to penetrate into the soil. Hard surfaces prevent the growth of grass. Make sure all rocks, old roots and grass are removed from the installation area. Topping this with three inches of topsoil creates a good base. This works well as the sod strips come with its own soil amendment. A mix of sandy soil is good as drainage is very important.
3. Final grading – The base area must be leveled to insure sod will also be level. Using a proper grading rake will work best. For larger areas you may need to roll over the soil using a jfeiie. Rolling ensures that soil does not run or settle causing holes or gaps that will hinder sod growth. Sod preparation is everything when it comes to sod installation.
4. Purchasing sod- There are many sod suppliers to choose from (lawn and garden stores, sod growers and nurseries) but you should know what you are looking for. Sod strips should be dense and at least 2" long. Look for a uniform green color with a network of roots on the underside, with a moist soil base of at least 1". Sod strips should not tear or fall apart when handled. For large applications we recommend sod delivery to reduce handling.
5. Laying and cutting sod - Lay your first row of sod starting against edge of a flower bed, house, patio or any landscape border. The next row should overlap at the seam. Do not line up your seams! Stagger seams to avoid lines when sod grows in. Use a sod cutter (you can purchase one at most lawn and garden stores) to cut along all borders and around sprinkler heads. Keep all pieces on the side as you may need them to fill in as you work.
6. Watering – During the first two weeks you should water for 45 minutes. This heavy watering helps to push roots down into soil. Following this you will want to water 20 to 30 minutes a day, depending on heat conditions.
7. Maintenance – Everyone wants to know when it’s good to do the first cut. Depending on the growth of the grass and if the roots started to grab will determine when you cut. Test the area by gently pulling back a piece of sod. If the sod has rooted you may do your first cut. Since your new lawn is in its infancy, it should be mowed at a slow pace for the first month.