| How to prepare soil for new grass sods
|If your putting new grass sods yourself you might want to plan ahead and consider following some steps:
1. Kill all existing lawn/weed using Roundup to neutralize the soil
2. Use yard roller to smooth-out the soil
3. Use rotor tiller and till the ground
4. Water the ground to loosen up the soil
5. Install new sods with seams criss crossing
6. Use yard roller to even out the new sods
7. Water them thoroughly
After round-up have had a few days to work (mainly so you can see if anything was missed) you would roto till the soil. Apply any soil amendments here (lime, etc) and phosphorous if required by soil test. Rake smooth and then water well once (really well). This will make the ground settle and you may notice "hills and valleys". Re-grade using a rake and then you can roll the soil to smooth it out.
Before you roll it, however, I recommend that you rake it smooth first (use a shovel to even out large "hills/valleys" and use a rake to do a finer grade). When you roll at this point in time, avoid rolling wet soil to avoid compacting the soil before planting. You can even skip the rolling before sodding. Just rake smooth (grade). I actually prefer watering, raking, waiting (repeat as necessary) rather than rolling soil during this stage, but you can roll, just not wet soil. Watering to settle soil is often a better solution.
IMPORTANT: Water the soil the evening before - or a few hours before - installation of sod.
Install new sod with seams criss crossing but make sure the individual rolls/pieces bud up close to each other. Try to avoid wide seams.
Use yard roller after installation to ensure good soil/sod contact. Do this BEFORE you water the sod.
Then water thoroughly. Keep the soil under the sod consistently damp until it has rooted. This can be done by watering daily for 7-10 days. Gradually increase to watering every 2-3 days over a period of another week. and then you can go to a infrequent but deep pattern (weekly) after that. Do not overwater, so the sod is consistently wet (saturated). No squishy sounds when you walk on it. But never allow the sod to dry out. A 30 minutes watering once per day for the first 7 days is recommended.
Tip: lift a corner of one sod piece after a few days to test if rooted. If it comes up (like a carpet) the lawn needs more time. Press the corner back and step on it to ensure good soil/sod contact. Try another corner a few days later.
Most people apply fertilizer after it has rooted. This to avoid burning tender roots with fertilizer before it roots. This is generally accepted. Many professional sod companies recommend fertilizing the soil when you till it, but there is some who disagree. I have used both and you can choose which one suit you.
- never till and roll WET soil (let dry for a few days)
- rolling SOD will ensure good soil/sod contact, however.
- you may have to roll and water portions of the lawn as you go along with your installation. If you have a large area to do, do not complete the entire yard before rolling/watering. Complete a section: roll and water. Then proceed. Otherwise you will find that the early stages dry out. Water the entire lawn when you are completely finished.
- store sod (on pallets) in the shade and sprints/mist with water with water on hot summer days.
- Try to get the sod pieces to lay close (as close as you can). If any wide seams, fill them with soil or sand with a brush (push broom) before watering/rolling (walking along the seams with a bucket with potting soil and scattering it like pigon food is the way to do that).
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How to prepare soil for new grass sods