wikiHow to Grow Sod

Three Parts:Growing Sod in a GreenhouseInstalling SodMaintaining Planted Sod

Sod is the secret of many beautiful yards and gardens. Instead of laboriously growing grass out in a hot dry yard, purchase sod from a supplier or grow your own in a greenhouse. Once your sod is ready to install, prepare your yard by tilling it and removing debris. Next, roll out your sod and cover your yard completely. Maintain your sod by watering it often and letting it stay at least two inches (5 centimeters) long.

Part 1
Growing Sod in a Greenhouse

  1. Image titled Grow Sod Step 1
    Determine how much sod you need. Use measuring tape to measure the length and width of the area you want to cover with grass. Next, multiply these two numbers to find out how many square feet of sod you’ll need. For example, if you have a yard that’s 9 feet by 8 feet (2.7 meters by 2.4 meters) you’ll need at least 72 square feet (6.48 square meters) of sod.[1]
    • It’s better to plan for too much sod than too little, especially if you have a strange yard shape. You may need to cut away pieces of sod.
  2. Image titled Grow Sod Step 2
    Choose a type of grass for your yard. If possible, choose a native grass. Native grasses will already be acclimated to your local climate and soil. However, if you don’t like any of the native grasses in your area, choose a grass based on your region. If you live in a region with cold winters and hot, rainy summers, choose a cool season grass. If your region has a hot, humid climate, choose a warm season grass.
    • Cool season grasses include Kentucky bluegrass, ryegrass, and fescue.[2]
    • Warm season grasses include Bermuda grass, St. Augustine grass, and centipede grass.[3]
    • Each type of grass has a different growing time during the year, usually in the spring or summer. Plan to plant your sod during this growing time.
  3. Image titled Grow Sod Step 3
    Decide what kind of soil to use. The kind of soil you need to use will depend on what kind of grass you use. Check on the back of the seed bag to see what blend of soil you’ll need for your grass seeds. It will most likely be a blend of topsoil, peat, and fertilizer.
    • If you’re not sure what kind of soil to use for your grass, visit a local greenhouse. The gardeners will be able to point you in the right direction, especially if you’re using native grass.
  4. Image titled Grow Sod Step 4
    Gather your gardening tools. You will need long planting trays with irrigation holes at the bottom, shelving for your greenhouse, duct tape, your soil mix, a spray bottle, and grass seeds. To figure out how many trays and shelves you need, refer to your yard square footage. For example, if you want to cover 72 square feet (6.48 square meters), you will need:
    • 36 1 foot by 2 feet planting trays (.3 meters by .6 meters)
    • Enough shelf space in your greenhouse to accommodate all of the trays
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    Set up the shelves in your greenhouse. Each shelf should have about 12 inches (30 centimeters) of vertical space between them to allow the grass to breathe properly. Line the trays along the shelves to make sure you have enough room for all of your sod.
    • If you don’t have enough space in your greenhouse to grow enough sod, either grow the sod in batches or purchase it instead.
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    Create rows of soil. Line the trays up end to end along the greenhouse shelves. Cut the ends off of the inside trays and tape them together to create longer trays. Next, fill the long trays with soil, leaving about ½ an inch (1.3 cm) of space at the top.
    • The length of these trays will depend on how long your greenhouse shelves are. Make each tray as long as possible, but be sure that it fits on your greenhouse shelf.
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    Plant the grass seeds. To plant your seeds, follow the instructions on the back of the package.[4] Usually, you will be asked to sprinkle a layer of seeds on top of the soil. Next, you will gently cover the seeds with another small layer of topsoil.
    • Follow the seed instructions exactly. If you don’t, your seeds may not grow at all.
    • Seed instructions can also include “reseeding.” This involves sprinkling more seeds over the sod after a few weeks of growth.
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    Water the sod. Fill a spray bottle with fresh water or place a gentle spray attachment on the end of your hose. Soak the sod planters until the top two inches of soil are moist. Repeat this process daily for the first week.[5] After the first week, water the grass every other day.
    • The sod should be moist, but not spongy.
    • Check the moistness of the sod periodically throughout the day. If you live in a hot climate, you may have to water it several times.
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    Harvest your sod after 12-16 weeks.[6] To do so, gently lift the soil and grass away from the planting tray. You can either roll up the grass to transport it or cut it into sections and stack them. Use a wheelbarrow to move the sod from place to place.
    • Make sure your yard is ready for the sod before moving it. Otherwise, it will dry out.

Part 2
Installing Sod

  1. Image titled Grow Sod Step 10
    Determine when to install sod. Your yard needs to be completely prepared for the sod before it’s installed. Otherwise, the sod may dry out while it sits in the sun. [7] If you’re ordering sod, schedule the delivery date accordingly. If you’re growing your own sod, make sure your yard is prepared before the sod is ready to harvest.
    • Prepare your yard one to seven days before installing the sod.
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    Till the yard. First, remove any rocks or debris from the area. Next, use a rototiller to till the yard. Go to a depth of four to six inches (ten to fifteen centimeters.) The rototiller will loosen the soil and bring up any large rocks and debris underground.[8] Remove any unearthed debris after tilling.
    • Rototillers can be rented from your local home improvement store.
    • Avoid tilling any underground sprinklers. If you do, you may damage the pipes.
  3. Image titled Grow Sod Step 12
    Rake the area. Use a rake to even out the soil. If there are any deep recessions or holes, fill them in with soil.[9] The more even your lawn is, the better your sod will look.
    • If there are deep holes in your lawn, consider filling them with handfuls of loam as well as soil.
  4. Image titled Grow Sod Step 13
    Lay down your sod. Use a wheelbarrow to transport rolls of sod to your yard. Next, place the roll at the edge of the prepared area and slowly roll it out. Make sure the edges of the sod line up with the edges of the yard. If you need to cut a piece of sod, use a sharp utility knife.[10]
    • Trim the sod around sprinkler heads and other surface features on your lawn.
    • Discard or compost any leftover sod.
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    Roll the sod with a lawn roller. This will press the roots of the sod into the soil and give your yard an even appearance. Lawn rollers can be purchased online or from a garden supply depot. Alternatively, rent one from your local home improvement depot.
  6. Image titled Grow Sod Step 15
    Water the sod daily for seven days. Your new lawn needs at least 1 inch (2-3 centimeters) of water every day for the first week. Before watering, stick a rain gauge in the middle of the lawn. Next, turn on your sprinklers or evenly spray the lawn with a hose. Use the rain gauge to monitor how much you’ve watered the sod.[11]
    • If you don’t want to use a rain gauge, check the moistness of the sod by stepping on it. It should give slightly and appear spongy.
    • If you get an inch of rain, don’t water your lawn that day.

Part 3
Maintaining Planted Sod

  1. Image titled Grow Sod Step 16
    Water your grass once a week. After the first week of growth, begin watering your lawn once a week. Give your sod an inch (5cm) of water every week. Use a rain gauge stuck in the grass to measure the water level. Watering the grass deeply and infrequently will encourage root growth and crowd out any pesky weeds.[12]
    • If you get an inch of rain, don’t water lawn that day.
  2. Image titled Grow Sod Step 17
    Mow your lawn. Start mowing the grass once it gets taller than 3.5 inches (about 9 centimeters.) This usually happens after the third week of growth. Mow off about an inch of growth. However, never cut your lawn shorter than two inches. If you do, the grass won’t be able to grow deep roots.[13]
    • If your grass has deep roots, it will grow thicker, greener, and need less watering.
    • Only mow a dry lawn.[14] This will create a clean cut along the blades of grass.
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    Monitor your lawn. If an area of your lawn has wilted or turned a straw color, it’s not getting enough water. Adjust your watering regime accordingly. Similarly, if cracks are appearing between the sod pallets, the yard needs more water. Increase the number of times you water your lawn each week.
    • If the average temperature is above 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius) your lawn may need to be watered more than once a week.[15]
  4. Image titled Grow Sod Step 19
    Get advice from local gardeners. If your lawn still looks sick, talk to local gardeners at a home improvement depot or other successful lawn owners. They will be able to give you advice that is specific to your region. Ask about the kind of soil they use, how often they water their lawn, and what kind of grass it is.[16]


  • Avoid watering your sod at night to prevent the growth of fungus.
  • Don't let your yard dry out. If you plan to be out of town, make sure that you enlist the help of a friend or neighbor to water your lawn on schedule.

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