wikiHow to Choose Sod for Your Yard

One Methods:Warm Season Grasses

If your lawn is patchy, worn out or dying, you're probably thinking about replacing it. Some homeowners opt for reseeding their yards, but many choose to lay new sod. Sod offers many advantages over a reseeded lawn. Sod is grown professionally under optimum conditions, making it weed-free and strong. The grass plants are sown closely together, which eliminates bare patches and makes it difficult for weed seeds to germinate in new installations. If you want to know how to choose sod for your yard, follow these guidelines.


  1. Image titled Choose Sod for Your Yard Step 1
    Determine what type of sod is best for your yard. You'll have to weigh several factors before choosing a variety of grass that will become your new lawn, but climate is a primary consideration. Lawn-care experts separate sod types into 2 broad categories.
  2. Image titled Choose Sod for Your Yard Step 2
    Choose these grasses for regions with cold winters and hot summers that have regular periods of rain. They also can go dormant during droughts. These types experience 2 periods of shoot growth annually: in mid-spring and early fall. Some of the most common cool season grasses are bluegrass (Kentucky and rough), ryegrass (annual and perennial) and Bentgrass.

Warm Season Grasses

  1. Image titled Choose Sod for Your Yard Step 3
    Select warm season grasses for the hot, humid climates of the southern United States. They have a single, expanded shoot-growth episode during the summer. Most varieties require special care during the winter months, when blades tend to turn brown and areas of the lawn may require reseeding. Popular warm season grasses include St. Augustine, Bermuda, Carpetgrass and Centipede.
  2. Image titled Choose Sod for Your Yard Step 4
    Consider what the function of your lawn is, taking into account its size and orientation. Certain grasses can withstand foot traffic better than others but wither in shade. Some sod flourishes in sunshine but shouldn't be installed over wide areas.
    • Heavy use: If you have kids who play in the yard or frequently entertain outdoors, consider grasses that can withstand foot traffic. Bermuda and Zoysia bounce back from stress better than many other types.
    • Sunlight: If your yard has a northern exposure or is heavily shaded, St. Augustine and Centipede mixtures are excellent options. Bermuda only thrives in bright sunshine.
    • Soil: All grasses will do well in rich topsoil, but homeowners in arid and subtropical regions may have limited options when choosing new sod. Bahia is popular because it can grow in infertile or sandy ground. Centipede, the "lazy man's" grass, also can withstand acidic soil.
    • Large areas: Centipede is a popular choice in warm regions because it requires no liming and occasional mowing. Expensive sods, like Zoysia, can be cost-prohibitive for large yards.
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    Assess how much time you'll be able to devote to your lawn. Sod is in peak condition when it is first laid, so it usually requires only periodic watering. Once it takes root in its new environment, it will need more care. Check with an expert before you make a final selection. Some types require grow faster than others, requiring extra mowing and edging. Others may need additional fertilization, irrigation and aeration.
  4. Image titled Choose Sod for Your Yard Step 6
    Inspect the sod thoroughly. Sod usually is delivered in rolls ranging from 2 feet (0.61 meters) to 10 feet (3.05 m) long and 1 foot (0.3 m) to 2 feet wide. Some of the key things to look for to ensure the health of your sod shipment include:
    • Uniform, deep-green blades at least 2 inches (5.08 cm) long.
    • A thick matrix of roots that don't tear easily.
    • A set-up in no more than 1 inch (2.54 cm) of rich, damp soil.
    • Lush rolls with no bare patches or thatch.


  • If you're not sure what type of grass is best suited for your yard, cut out a small section of your existing lawn and bring it to your local nursery. An expert can tell you what type of grass it is and make suggestions on whether that variety or another might work better for you.
  • Before installing new sod, check with a lawn-care professional for tips on soil preparation. You want your sod's root structure to take hold with the base soil as fast as possible. For that reason, don't attempt to lay sod when the ground is frozen.
  • Transitional grasses may work best in areas that have cold, but not subzero, temperatures during the winter. Kentucky Bluegrass, Annual Ryegrass and Tall Fescue often perform best in these regions.

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Categories: Lawn Care