Tacoma Landscapings pros have a couple of tips and continue with one realization: laying sod is hard work. You will want to put on suntan lotion out on a hot day. They suggest:
- Wear clothes that are casual, relaxed and surrender to getting dirty.
- Drink lots of fluids.
- Don’t think about a hat or sunscreen.
Lay down your sod lawn in narrow strips, starting with the longest continuous straight edge (whether it’s your house, the driveway or the sidewalk). Lay in straight lines as you continue, but stagger the short ends in a brick-like pattern so that you don’t have a long seam. It is more aesthetically pleasing and having long seams facilitates the channeling of water and lets seams come apart and reveal themselves.
As you lay sod all over the area, tightly assembled in pieces, leaving no gaps. To fill in the gaps created by your brick pattern, take a sharp knife to cut bits of sod. The knife will also slice heads and odd forms around the sprinkler. Clear all pockets of air. Use a one-third water-filled lawn roller. Or there’s a low-tech alternative: walk with your feet close together cautiously yet methodically across the grass. You want to allow the fresh sod to make good contact with the topsoil that underlies it.
When sloped areas are included in the grass, they must be staked. Sod staples are cheap and available at most garden centers for this reason.
Common laying mistakes with sod:
- Buying sod too early
- Overlapping sod
- Leaving gaps between the sod that was planted
- On cliffs, not staking grass
- Allowing the soil to be too deep by sidewalks and driveways, there revealing the edges
- Too little or too much watering
Water and fertilize your sod
Unless you keep a close eye on the water needs of your new sod, all this hard work will go for nothing. You must water shortly after laying sod to ensure your sod does what it’s supposed too.
Expect watering slightly but frequently during the establishment period. Check to make sure that the water is in the ground beneath the sod pieces through the sod pieces and an inch or two to encourage a deeply rooted, lush lawn.
Nor do you want it to dry out or stay moist. Note, dry is poor, mud is better, moist is good to build a green lawn.
Sod with roots
After a few days of steady watering, this is what you want to see: roots are growing. At this stage, you can change to deep watering from regular, shallow watering.
Check by lifting sod corners during this period and resume watering when the sod starts drying out. You will soon see the roots bursting through the sod pieces ‘ edge. The sod will begin resisting your gentle pull at the corners soon after that. You can then return from the watering and go to a watering schedule regularly, but deeply to a depth of about 6 inches of water, so the roots are encouraged to expand. Ice early in the day to prevent disease and evaporation.
Once the new lawn reaches a height of 3-4 inches, you can mow the yard, but do so gently. Those still-tender roots should not be pulled out, but either you or your lawn care specialist should turn the mower on the pavement rather than on grass. Mow tall to promote a root system that is solid and strong.