Fresh Sod: 7 Easy Steps for Installation!
Laying down your farm fresh sod is only half the battle. Steps 1 & 2 should be completed before the sod arrives, as sod should be laid down as soon as possible after delivery for best results. Once you’ve prepared the area you are ready to lay down your sod! We have provided a detailed guide below on the proper way to prepare the area to be sodded as well as laying down and taking care of the sod.
Step 1: Bare the Area
Your sod should be laid on bare soil. This can be achieved through 3 ways:
i, Rototill, rake the debris, level surfaces and lay sod.
ii, Rent a small sod harvester and remove the old turf to make way for the new sod.
iii, Set your mower very close to the ground. Mow and rake off debris and put down a thin, good quality topsoil before sodding. Don’t forget to sharpen your mower after this step!
Step 2: Grade Surfaces
Carefully level all surfaces that are to be sodded. Soil surfaces should be 1 inch below walkways, patios and driveways to accommodate sod thickness. A light rolling will show soil depressions or surface irregularities. These can then be leveled.
Step 3: Fertilize the Area
Fertilizer will be used by sod over the next few days as it is watered. We suggest using turf starter fertilizer for best results. It can be applied either on the soil surface or on top of the sod after it is down. Apply fertilizer evenly and at the recommended rate. Rake in lightly. We recommend using a high phosphorous fertilizer to promote initial root growth! (Phosphorous is the middle number in the fertilizer code i.e. [10-25-10] 25 is the percentage of phosphorous)
Step 4: Lay Your Fresh Sod
Begin laying sod as soon as possible upon delivery, especially during the summer months to avoid damage from heating. Sod that will remain stacked on a pallet for an extended period of time must be unstacked to allow air circulation. Do not water the fresh sod while it is rolled up.
Lay the first strip of sod along a straight line using string for a guide. Butt joints tightly – do not overlap edges. When laying the second strip, stagger the joints, similar to laying bricks. Use a sharp knife to cut sod to fit curves and edges.
Step 5: Water, Water, Water
Do not wait until the entire area is sodded before watering. As soon as a ‘sprinkler size’ area is laid, begin watering it and then go on to the next section. On hot days do not leave laid sod for more than an hour without water. On cooler days do not leave it for more than 2 hours.
Step 6: Roll Fresh Sod
Roll your new lawn to even out the turf joints and to ensure good contact between the turf roots and soil. This also is effective in eliminating air pockets.
Step 7: Keep Moist
Keep your new sod well watered for at least 2-3 weeks. This will assist the turf edges to knit and the roots to establish.
Sod Tip: Mow your Lawn
For best results, mow your fresh sod 7 days after installation on a 45º to the direction it was laid. Once your sod established, mow your lawn twice a week in peak seasons (May-June) and once a week for the rest of the year. We recommend mowing Kentucky Bluegrass Sod 2 ¼” tall, but no lower than 1 ½” and no taller than 3”. Always make sure your mower blades are sharp. This is key to a healthy lawn as it will help to prevent disease, and improve the aesthetic appearance!
I am looking for roughly 1000 square feet of sod for my backyard. How soon can I have this delivered to Guelph and also is Kentucky Bluegrass o=able to survive in shady areas?
Hey Mark! Thank you for your inquiry! As far as pricing and expected delivery dates are concerned, our online ordering portal at https://ordersodnow.com/ will provide you with those details. Just input your postal code and follow the steps! Kentucky Bluegrass will survive in the shade, so long as it gets at least 3 hours of sunlight per day and proper watering. Be careful under trees though, because trees can outcompete freshly laid sod for nutrients making it difficult to establish. The combination of this nutrient competition and steady shade is deadly for sod. So keep in mind the 3 hours per day, and be weary of laying sod under trees! 🙂
Hey Cam – fancy seeing you on here. Got an order in for Saturday. Hope you’re doing well!
Right on Jordan! Green side up 😉
Hope all is well and thanks for the comment my friend!
I appreciate you helping me learn more about installing fresh sod easily. It really helped when you said that we should not water the fresh sod while it is rolled up. As far as I remembered, my dad did that, so I will inform him about this so he would know it next time.
Anytime Joy! We try to provide plenty of tips and tricks for sod installation. Definitely let your dad know that watering sod while it’s rolled up can be detrimental. 🙂
Mowing after only 1 week sounds sketchy to me. Personally I’d wait 2 weeks, just so tou don’t accidentally turn your sod into mulch.
It can sound scary, but simply raise your mower to the top setting, and walk carefully. It’s also heavily dependent on conditions! If you get heavy rains on the day you planned to mow, it’s a good idea to let it dry out a bit before you mow. Mowing early can greatly improve the sod’s ability to establish.
All the best,
I have an area in my backyard that is 1/3 in a good sun area bu 2/3 under trees and has a slope. I want to sod the whole area. Is this practical or do I have no chance for the sod to survive under the canopy of trees?
Thanks for your comment! That is a difficult scenario to establish sod in… Most lawn grasses need 4-6 hours per day of direct sunlight to thrive. Is there any way that you can have your trees pruned back prior to trying to install sod? This will help immensely with establishment. If you have some very shady areas, could you build a garden bed there instead to fill in with a shade tolerant plant like hostas? Like I said, establishing sod in the shade is very difficult so try to plan accordingly 🙂
I hope everything works out Garth!
All the best,
What is the recommended height the ground should be before sod placement to keep it level if patching your lawn to existing grass?
Typically there is about an inch of soil on a roll of sod, but this varies slightly depending on harvest conditions. Take at least an inch of topsoil off along with the existing grass you are replacing. You can use that same soil (as long as it is not contaminated) to level out the area if you have any depressions.
All the best,
Proper site preparation makes it easier for new grass roots to penetrate. Excellent explanation, it’s simple & focus
Thanks a lot for your feedback!
How long before I can use my yard ( lots of people walking but no hard wear and tear)?
At the very least, wait two weeks from the date on installation. Pay close attention to your lawn during establishment though. Consistently check a corner of your new sod, and try to gently lift it from the underlying soil slightly. If it has taken root and can’t be easily lifted, it should be prepared for some light traffic. Please bear in mind that your new lawn can be fragile for at least the first month. Try to ask your guests to be gentle while they walk if there is going to be a lot of traffic.
All the best and enjoy your new lawn,
I want my house to have very green grass. I like how you mention rolling your new lawn to even out the turf joints and to ensure there is good contact between the turf roots and soil. Thank you for the information. I’ll hire a professional to install SOD around my house.
That’s right Jay! Having a professional install your sod can greatly improve your chances at success. The devil is truly in the details!
All the best,
I like that you suggested mowing your lawn at least twice a week to keep it healthy. One of my friends told me that he was looking that every grass has a unique way to take care of it. Thank you for the advice about mowing the lawn at the correct height.
Thanks Ron! We try to cover all the key points when it comes to lawn maintenance!
How much area does a bag of fertilizer cover?
Our bags are different sizes and the rates are all different! Coverage depends on the amount purchased and the coverage.
Info is included on the product page of the order process.
Thanks and all the best!
Hey guys, going to order sod from you to fill in the area where I removed our above ground pool. Couple questions…How much of the sand should be removed before putting down the fresh soil and when I start laying the sod down,do I start in the middle of the pool area or near the edge and how should I properly trim the ends of the sod when I reach the rounded edges of the area? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
Try and get as much sand out as possible, and mix any remainder with some high quality, nutritious soil to feed your new lawn. Start at any edge and fill in the area with the seams all going in the same direction. Use a box cutter, or exacto-blade to trim the sod. All the best and good luck with your new lawn!
How many rolls on a skid? 70? How many square feet would it cover?
70 rolls to a skid, 10 sq.ft. per roll, and 700 sq.ft. to a skid 🙂
Thanks for reaching out and all the best!
I recently finished my backyard project and I am if after installing new sod does joints gets little bit yellow for while. How would I get to know if my new grass growing properly. I am bit worried cause I installed it by my self by following all the steps that posted above.
Be very careful when watering your new lawn. Yellowing joints is typically a sign that your sod needs more water!
Thanks for your comment!
Hi- just ordered my sod and it’s coming in 2 days along with a bag of 10-10-10 fertilizer which I thought was the suggested one to spread under new sod, but when I started reading the tips for laying sod, it was indicating “10-25-10”. I’m confused as to why the system gave me the 10-10-10 fertilizer with my sod order. Please verify if I should buy a bag of 10-25-10 and used that prior to laying the sod instead of 10-10-10.? Thanks
Both of those fertilizer products, our 10-25-10 and our 16-16-16 are fantastic products and can both help when establishing new sod. Our 10-25-10 is ideal for establishing sod, but 16-16-16 is a balanced fertilizer and will still help your lawn, and you can still use the 16-16-16 in the future for regular maintenance. We don’t recommend the 10-25-10 for regular sod maintenance.
All the best and enjoy your new lawn!
Hi. I just installed my new sod 13 days ago and it slush and green. When I went to mow it at a high setting, some sections were ‘very soft’ when I stepped on it to mow. Is that sign of over watering or simply too wet underneath? The weather has been cool of late so maybe I should water rless
Hello Ivan! I would recommend calling your local sod supplier to get a better diagnosis, but it does sound like overwatering. Be careful when watering before or after a big rain, and pay close attention to the areas of your lawn that are shady. They will be more prone to overwatering since the sun won’t evaporate excess water not absorbed by your lawn. All the best and enjoy your new lawn.
I hired a landscaper to install RTF sod, but he waited 2 days to water it. It is patches of green and patches of brown. Is it ruined? What can I do to save it?
I’m sorry to hear that your landscaper waited so long to water. RTF is little different, but they still should have gotten water to it ASAP. There’s a chance that you can bring your new lawn back, but it will likely require fertilizer and more watering. I would recommend reaching out to the landscaper that laid it, and if nothing comes from that, call your local sod supplier directly to ask about how to bring it back.
Found this website while researching installing new sod in a shady area That’s now just dirt after new patio construction. In Central Texas (Austin) and planning to install some St. Augustine (I have that currently in rest of lawn) in this area.. I’ve tilled it, spread some topsoil mixed with potting soil and leveled/graded by hand. Looking to get a roller for more accurate leveling and for when I do install the sod this week. Is all of this including the fertilizer application the same for my situation? Thanks!
Thanks for the comment! Sounds like you’ve been doing everything according to plan. There shouldn’t be too many variations on this method for your down in Austin, however I would confirm with your local sod farm just to avoid any potential issues. All the best and enjoy your new lawn!
Is it possible to get sod to take on a 1:1 streambank?
Hey Eddie! I don’t know very much about the Streambank Wheatgrass variety, but I’m sure there’s some research/testing being done on it. I would recommend reaching out to your local sod supplier to ask if they have any insight on that particular cultivar! Thanks for your comment and best of luck with your lawn!
Is it too late in the year to put down sod?
It’s actually the perfect time of year to lay sod! Increased precipitation and cooler weather in the fall are both ideal for establishing sod. You can pretty well install sod successfully right up until the snow flies, as long the proper maintenance practices are followed.
All the best and good luck with your new lawn!
When is sod available to be cut in the spring, we are having a backyard wedding on June 5th, will the new sod be suitable for usage?
Hey Mike! Be sure to reach out to your local OrderSodNow supplier to inquire about sod availability! Head over to https://ordersodnow.com/locations for contact details!
My lawn turned grey almost overnight. We only have clover and thistles left. We are about to put new sod down but are getting a bag of top soil first then sod. Very surprised that you cut the grass so soon after installing the lawn. Is it ok to water the lawn early morning, I’m talking 4 or 5 am? We also just removed a stump but have plenty deep roots which we will try to remove. Not sure if removing the stump was the cause of the grass turning gray it literally all died. Any advice?
Good idea amending your lawns soil! That’s the “root” cause of many lawn issues. Mowing your lawn will encourage growth, and it’s an essential step in the installation process. Watering in the mornings is ideal. Removing the stump shouldn’t have affected your entire lawn, but the high traffic could have stressed it out. Be diligent when caring for your new sod, and make sure it’s getting enough sunlight!
I am planning to order some sod through your company. I just want to know when is too early to lay sod in the spring. Would May 8 be an OK day to lay sod? Do we need to wait for the last frost of the season before laying sod? Thanks
Hey Laura, It’s never truly too early to lay sod, but you’ll want to wait until you have consistent access to water before ordering your sod! 🙂
Hi there, How long after laying new sod can I let my two 50 and 60 lb dogs on it?
I would recommend waiting at least 4 weeks before allowing your dogs to go wild on your lawn! Ensure that all areas have established properly and your lawn is looking healthy 🙂
All the best and enjoy your new lawn!
Hello, we are looking at sodding again for the Fourth time. It seems to die over the winter. We have poor claylike ground and 4 dogs that run all over the yard packing the snow into ice. Any suggestions to make this time work?
Thanks for the comment Carolin! Sorry to hear about your lawn troubles… Sounds like a number of factors are contributing to your poor lawn performance. I would definitely recommend adding a layer of nutritious topsoil before laying sod this time. Dogs are also a serious detriment to having a nice lawn. Your lawn needs time to establish properly, and it also requires time to recover after intensive use (like when your dogs are aggressively playing). If you can’t give your lawn relief from your active dogs, you may continue to experience lawn issues. Ensure your new lawn is getting at least 4-6 hours of sunlight per day, and stay on top of watering during establishment! I hope these tips help!
Hello, I recently had a professional landscaper lift my old grass and lay new sod in my back yard in the fall. It looked great right through the next summer. The second summer I treated the lawn with grub control and I suspect that, although I followed the manufacturers instructions for maximum application rates, it killed most of the lawn. I plan on tarping the lawn in late July and sodding it again in mid September. I do have one area of my lawn that consistently struggles and think it is an issue with soil quality. Since I will be tilling the old lawn under I was wondering if you had any suggestions for enriching the soil before sodding other than the fertilizer mentioned in your instructions. I read on another site that adding compost and tilling it under would be worthwhile. Comments?
Thanks so much for your comment, and I’m distraught to hear that your grub control application had a negative impact on your lawn! Be careful tilling your existing lawn into the topsoil, because you don’t want anything decomposing under your new lawn. You can end up with air-pockets or depressions if the old lawn is still breaking down. Definitely adding some compost (or BigYellowBag Black Garden Soil) to your soil will help feed your new lawn throughout establishment. Healthy turf can withstand about 10-15 grubs per square foot, so until you’re seeing concentrations higher than that, you should have nothing to worry about! Hope this helps David and thanks again!
Hi, I live in Ohio and was wondering if this is good time (November) to Sod my Lawn? If I do this is will be first time installing sod in my back yard.
Also I have plans for underground irrigation system next summer, do I need to redo a lot of area if I choose to do the irrigation system after doing sod in this November?
Late fall sod projects are typically fine! Irrigation systems don’t usually require too much disruption of the turf, however it’s dependant on the type of irrigation system! Hopefully you can get more specific recommendations from your irrigation installer.
Thanks and all the best!
Thanks for sharing!