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Preparing a Yard for Sod

Read This to Know All About Preparing a Yard for Sod

Laying sod is proceeded after the plantation site is cleaned and prepared properly. The steps for preparing a yard for sod includes uprooting existing plants, tilling the soil, supplementing organic matter, soil leveling and watering.
Gardenerdy Staff
Last Updated: Oct 23, 2018
Designing a landscape seems to be incomplete, unless you include a lawn with green turf grass. Nonetheless, starting a lawn from grass seeds requires a lot of patience and time.
new sod grass
Many hobbyists prefer sod for a fully functional lawn in less time. Preparing a yard for sod needs specific tools and gardening basics. Lawn grasses need light, well-drained soil, proper aeration, fertile soil for good growth.
Why Sod is Preferred over Grass Seeds?
While starting a lawn from seed, major challenges are sowing grass seeds, inducing them to germinate and transplanting the seedlings in bare patches for ensuring uniform growth. In addition to these, the grass seeds come along with seeds of various weeds, which after sprouting compete with lawn grass for space, water and nutrients.
Taking all these into consideration, maintaining a lustrous green lawn from seeds will take several years. An easy, yet expensive way to get green lawn within a short time is laying sod.
How to Prepare a Yard?
Measuring yard area
Before you order for sod, mark and measure the yard area, where you are to install it.
Multiply length and width values to calculate area. Thus, you get a brief idea on how much sod you will need for covering your lawn. The actual steps to prepare a yard for sod depend on whether you are laying it over a spare yard or an existing old lawn. Basic steps of how to prepare soil and site for installing sod are described here.
Go for Soil Testing
Soil testing
While preparing a yard for fescue sod or other types, collect soil sample and get it tested at a reliable laboratory. Based on results, you will know about soil pH, drainage problems, nutrient deficiency, fertility, etc.
According to these and the grass variety, you can decide the amount of organic matter and topsoil to be supplemented in soil prior to installing sod.
Get Rid of Unwanted Plants
grass killer spray
Uproot old, unwanted plants completely from the yard. If you have stubborn turf grass like Bermuda, taking professional help will be a wise idea.
A grass killer can be sprayed in correct amounts, preferably one month before laying sod. Follow the manufacturer's directions while applying the grass killer. You may require to spray it twice to get rid of Bermuda grass properly.
Loosen Soil
Loosen Soil with rototiller
Tilling is a basic step in yard preparation for laying sod. To accomplish this task without major hurdles, you can make use of a rototiller (available in rent).
Also, this is an excellent alternative to hiring professional serviceman for removing existing vegetation. Rototilling loosens soil to several inches of depth, and brings soil from the deeper layers to the surface.
Soil Amendment Step
farmyard compost
As a part of preparing lawn for sodding, add ½ inch organic matter (farmyard compost, peat moss). In case of acidic soil, sprinkle dolomite lime to increase soil pH within the near neutral range.
Some people prefer adding 1 inch topsoil in the yard, which is not always necessary. Following this, spread a layer of slow acting, granular lawn fertilizer which is about ½ inch thick.
Level Yard with a Rake
Rake soil
Using a rake, smoothen soil and level it properly. In the process, organic matter and fertilizer are mixed with the soil. If you are planning to install lawn sprinklers, you can install the same in this step.
You can remove soil from elevated spots and deposit in low-lying areas. If available, use a lawn roller filled with water to smoothen the yard evenly.
Drench Soil with Water
watering soil
The last step for preparing yard for sodding is, water the yard thoroughly so that the top 6 inch portion of the soil is saturated. Watering step is usually done one day prior to laying sod.
installing sprinkler
This keeps the soil prepared for sodding and ensures quick rooting of the grasses. Installing sod over dry soil is not recommended, as it impairs root growth later. With this step, you are ready to lay sod in your yard.
Follow them and the chances of newly installed sod getting acclimatized to the soil are higher. You can always get the sodding project done by a professional. But, it is quite expensive and not many people can afford it. After installation of sod, water the lawn on a daily basis for the first few months to promote quick establishment of newly laid grasses.