Installation and Preparation
When it comes to installing your sod, you need to be prepared and ready to go to insure that your sod grows correctly and strong. Follow these steps to make sure your new sod grows good and last for years to come.
Step 1, Preparation
Prepare Your Soil:
1.) Rototill or spade to a depth of 6 inches.
2.) Remove sticks, stones, roots, and other debris.
3.) Spread organic matter as needed, such as nitrogen fortified redwood, agricultural gypsum, and rototill or mix with a spade into the soil.
1.) Smooth the soil by raking.
2.) Grade surface to inch below driveways, sidewalks, sprinklers, etc.
3.) Firm soil by rolling. This is important!
4.) Fill in the low spots and roll again.
5.) Pre-irrigate the lawn surface area the night before installation.
Step 2, Installation
1.) Install your lawn immediately upon delivery.
2.) Start laying sod along a straight line, such as a sidewalk or driveway. Do not lay sod on bone dry soil.
3.) Make sure all joints are butted together, do not overlap, or leave spaces between the rolls of sod.
4.) On the second line, stagger the joints as in laying bricks. Continue to stagger the joints with each new line.
5.) Use a sharp knife to cut sod around trees, sidewalks, sprinklers, etc.
Step 3, Watering & Fertilization
Watering is the most important factor in establishing and maintaining your lawn. There will be variations depending on how well you prepared, soil constitution, and drainage. The following suggestions are basic rules of thumb, and may vary.
1.) For the first 10-14 days after installation, water your lawn for 20 minutes, 3 times a day. Ideal times are 7am, 11am, and 3pm. Never water at night. The morning of the second day your lawn is in, before you water, push a long screwdriver into several areas of your lawn. If you meet resistance, increase the watering. If your lawn is soggy or you have standing water, reduce the water and refer to the troubleshooting portion of this literature.
2.) After day 14 (after your first light mowing), water once a day for 15 minutes. Do not water on the day you plan to mow. 3.) When your sod is established, reduce your watering to 30 minutes (mid-day) every second or third day. This will depend on how warm your particular region is.
4.) The basic premise is that the deeper the roots, the sturdier the lawn. This is accomplished by roots “chasing” the water. In other words, you want to provide less frequent, deep watering. Frequent, shallow watering encourages roots to be “lazy” and remain closer to the surface, vulnerable to disease or dry conditions. The ability of your lawn to absorb deep, infrequent watering is a direct result of your preparation.
1.) We have found that the use of “pre-plant” fertilizer, unless completely dissolved into the soil, may clump and cause “hot pockets” between soil and new sod. Please follow instructions carefully if you choose to use it. Keep in mind that your sod has been on a constant feeding program by the grower, and there is substantial nutrients in the base.
2.) It is recommended that upon establishment of your lawn, and after 2-3 mowings, you provide the first feeding (30 days). 3.) All feedings should be with a balanced (16-16-16 ±) time release fertilizer (this feeds roots also).
4.) Apply fertilizer when blades are dry and immediately provide a long, deep watering.
5.) Ammonium Sulfate or other high nitrogen” fertilizers increase top growth (more mowing and more thatch), while providing little nourishment to roots. A high nitrogen fertilizer will have an inflated first number compared to the rest of the reading i.e. 21-0-0 or 26-4-4, etc. Use a more balanced fertilizer.
6.) Again, a rule of thumb- Feed in April, July, and October. This provides nourishment throughout the peak growing season, and nutrients to the last Winter. Feeding throughout cold months is of no benefit.