How to Roll Sod

Three Methods:Preparing the SoilLaying the SodCaring for your Newly Sodded Lawn

Sod, sometimes referred to as "turf", is a thin layer of grass, roots, and soil that is used to repair bald patches in lawns or to establish an entire new lawn. Home builders often use sod to landscape lots when new homes are being constructed. Though more expensive to install, sod yields much faster results than starting a lawn from seed. This article explains how to roll sod.


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    Make a sketch of your yard to scale and measure the dimensions of the area you want to sod. Calculate the coverage area (length by width) in feet (cm), then divide the total area by 9 to determine the number of square yards (m) of sod you'll need. Or, take your sketch to your sod supplier and they can figure it out for you.

Method 1
Preparing the Soil

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    Use a rototiller to loosen the top 6 to 8 inches (15.24 to 20.32 cm) of soil. If you are installing sod in an area with existing grass, kill and remove the old grass first. Remove rocks, sticks, and any other debris.
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    Cover the soil with 2 inches (5.08 cm) of finished compost.
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    Add 2 to 3 inches (5.08 to 7.62 cm) of sand if your soil is largely clay-based to help the soil drain better.
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    Till the soil, compost, and sand (if added) with the tiller.
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    Apply the appropriate type of starter fertilizer and lime based on the composition of your soil using a spreader. You may need to have a soil test done to determine the best fertilizer to use.
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    Level the soil as needed using an iron rake. The soil surface should be about 1 inch (2.54 cm) below any paved surfaces such as driveways or sidewalks.

Method 2
Laying the Sod

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    Identify the longest straight edge in the area to be sodded. Carefully unroll the first roll of sod along the longest straight edge. Do not step or kneel on the sod as you're installing it. Pat the sod down as you go so that it lays flat on top of the soil. Smooth out any wrinkles and loose areas so that there are no gaps between the sod and the soil. Repeat the process until the first row of sod has been laid.
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    Use a knife to cut away half of the next roll of sod to be used to start the second row so the short seams will be staggered. Lay rolls of sod closely next to each other so that the edges are snug but do not overlap.
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    Cut holds for in-ground sprinkler heads, if any, and trim sod rolls as needed to fit around flower beds, trees, and paved areas.
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    Roll the newly sodded lawn with a lawn roller to help the sod connect with the soil in order to begin to establish roots. Lawn rollers can generally be rented for the day from a home improvement store.

Method 3
Caring for your Newly Sodded Lawn

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    Water the newly sodded lawn thoroughly. Avoid walking on the lawn for a week, if possible, to give the sod and soil time to settle.
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    Water the lawn every day, in the morning whenever possible, for the first week. Water every other day during the second week, then twice during the third week. Make sure your lawn has 1 inch (2.54 cm) of water per week thereafter, or more during especially hot, dry periods.
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    Mow the lawn to a height of 2 inches (5.08 cm) once it reaches 3 inches (7.52 cm) high. It's best to use a walk-behind mower the first time you cut the grass since the roots are still being established. Bag and remove all grass clippings.
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    Apply another round of starter fertilizer after about 3 to 4 weeks to replace nutrients lost when the new lawn was being watered frequently.

Things You'll Need

  • Rototiller
  • Sand
  • Starter fertilizer
  • Finished compost
  • Lime
  • Iron rake
  • Garden hose
  • Sod
  • Knife

Article Info

Categories: Lawn Care