How To Prepare For Sod Installation

If your lawn is in need of some love and you are considering laying new sod, before you begin, it's important to learn how to prepare for sod installation. While sod, which is already planted grass attached to a thin layer of soil, comes ready to lay, for best results, the surface it will sit on must be prepared as well. As sod should be installed immediately after it's received, preparing the area ahead of time is a must.

To prepare for sod installation, you will need the following.

  • Measuring tape
  • Herbicide
  • Rake
  • Rototiller
  • Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Top soil
  • Sod roller
  • Fertilizer
  • Broadcast spreader
  • Sprinkler system (optional)

Steps to prepare for sod installation

  1. Use the measuring tape to determine the size of the area you wish to fill with sod. Be sure to order enough sod to fill that area plus a bit extra just in case.
  2. Apply the herbicide to the area to kill any existing grass or other plants. Remove any rocks, garbage or other items from the area the sod will fill.  
  3. Rototill the area to loosen the existing ground. Be sure to break up any large clumps.
  4. Rake the area to create a level surface. Use the shovel and wheelbarrow to transport soil from high spots to low spots. Fill low spots with additional top soil if necessary.  
  5. Fill the sod roller between 1/3 and 1/2 full with water and roll over the area. Use the rake and shovel to level the area if needed.
  6. Spread top soil over the area, creating an area at least one-to-two inches thick. Using the broadcast spreader, spread the fertilizer over the area per the directions on the package.  
  7. Moisten the soil a bit and use the rake to work the fertilizer in. Allow to set for up to a week, keeping the area slightly moist. Install any sprinkler systems if desired.
  8. Rake the area one final time just prior to sod installation to loosen the soil, level the surface and mix in the fertilizer. Moisten the soil slightly, then install your sod.

Tips: If desired, grade the lawn to allow proper runoff using a one-to-two percent slope. Be sure to select a starter fertilizer with potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen for best results. Store sod in a shaded area and keep moist if it must sit prior to installation.


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