Turfgrass Sod Installation
Before Installation:Make sure your soil is ready for sod. (Click here for tips on how to prepare your soil for sod.)
Soil Preparation check list
Are there any depressions or bumps in the yard?
Are there any dirt clods bigger than a marble?
Is all old vegetation removed?
Are sprinklers in good working order and applying uniform coverage?
Is the soil next to the sidewalks and driveway cut down 1 inch to allow for the sod?
Is there access to all parts of the yard for the installation machines?
If installing yourself, do you have enough help to complete the installation within a few hours?
Fertilize the area with a sod/seed starter fertilizer according to the label directions. Apply fertilizer directly under the sod. Do not incorporate the fertilizer into the soil. It is not necessary for you to water the soil before you lay the sod except under extreme conditions of heat, then a light watering to cool the soil may be beneficial.
Install the sod within 12 hours of delivery. Begin installing the sod along the longest straight line, such as along the driveway, a sidewalk or a lot line. Butt and push edges and ends against each other tightly without stretching the sod. Avoid gaps or overlapping the sod. Stagger the joints in each row in a brick like fashion, using a sharp knife carefully to trim corners, etc. Avoid leaving small strips at outer edges as they will not retain moisture. On slopes, place the pieces across the slope.
Install sod to coordinate with your irrigation zones, so that as soon as one zone is installed you can water it. DO NOT wait until the entire project is finished. If you do not have an irrigation system, set portable sprinklers up as soon as an area is complete. Water to thoroughly wet the sod and the soil underneath.
Complete installation, watering each zone or area as they are completed.
At times of very high temperatures and wind, it may be necessary to lightly water the sod with a hose as it is being installed. This will prevent the grass blades from wilting.
When sodding is complete, keep the entire area saturated, but do not allow water to puddle on the grass. Slopes may need to be watered more often with less water per application to prevent water runoff. Areas along concrete and next to buildings where the sun reflects should be given extra care and water. The initial watering is the most important.
BE SURE THE WATER HAS SOAKED THROUGH THE SOD AND HAS SATURATED THE GROUND UNDER THE SOD. Once you get behind on watering, it may be hard to catch up. You may have to water several times per day for the first 2 weeks.
If your sod is installed before fall, (when grassy weeds stop germinating) you should apply a pre-emergent herbicide or a fertilizer with crabgrass preventer to control any crabgrass, foxtail or other grassy weeds from coming through the seams in the sod. Most lawn and garden centers or hardware stores will handle these products. Read and follow the label directions. This application should be done within three days of installation.
Notice: Buffalograss sod goes through a stress period after installation. Within 5 days of installation, the grass blades will turn 80% brown. Do Not Panic! This is normal. It is very important to keep watering the sod. It will return to green in about 3 to 4 weeks.
Your sod should shoot new roots within 5 to 7 days. To check for root growth, carefully lift a piece of sod and look at the bottom side. White shoots should be showing.
By 10 to 14 days your sod should be rooting down. If you pull up on the sod you should feel resistance. This is the roots from the sod, growing into the ground. At this time you may reduce watering. Keep the soil moist, but not saturated from now on.
Mow your sod as soon as it requires it. Use care the first time not to catch the corners of the sod pieces in the mower. You may want to mow at a greater height until you are sure the sod is firmly rooted. You may begin light activities on your new turf once mowing has started. By 30 days, treat your new sod as an established yard.