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SODDING LAWNS - HOW TO LAY SOD

  
Sodding a lawn provides a speedy, albeit more costly alternative to seeding a lawn. Sod farms in the northeastern U.S. grow predominantly Kentucky Bluegrass sod that's sold by "the yard" (meaning square yard) which is 9 square feet.
  

 

Yard of sod

A square yard of sod is 18-inches wide by 6-feet long, equaling 9 square feet. Therefore, to calculate how many yards of sod you need for a given area, find out the square footage and divide by 9.
  

  

  
One 'yard' = Nine square feet of sod
  

  
Pallet of sod

Sod is usually shipped on pallets of 50 yards each. Most sod dealers charge a deposit on the pallets to ensure their return. Sod shouldn't be left stacked on pallets for more than a day or two, so it's best to have your lawn area ready for sodding in advance.
   
Lay sod pieces close together to avoid any gaps between pieces. Any exposed edges should be covered with topsoil to help prevent drying. Sod pieces should also be "bunched up" to ensure they aren't stretched out during the laying process -- stretched pieces shrink and create gaps between pieces of sod.
  
Thoroughly water-in the newly laid sod as soon as possible, and continue watering often for the first few weeks until sod has "knitted down." If possible, roll your newly laid sod a few days after it's installed.
   
Since Kentucky Bluegrass is a thatch producer, be sure to core aerate the sod once or twice a year, and dethatch as needed. Mow at 2-1/2" with a sharp blade.

   

  
HOW TO LAY SOD

  Getting everything ready...
   

Preparation
First, a sod cutter was used to remove the old lawn. Then screened topsoil was spread to fill low and uneven areas. Soil at pavement edges needs to be approximately one-inch lower than the pavement to allow for the thickness of the sod.
Lawn area ready to be sodded
Markings
Sprinkler heads were marked to avoid damage from the sod cutter and provide a visual guide for cutting holes in the sod. A spray can of orange marking paint was used to delineate the edge of shrub beds where sod needs to be cut.
Lawn area marked for sod installation
Delivery
Two pallets of sod (100 yards) on a Ford F-350 dump truck, enough to cover 900 square feet of lawn area. This particular sod was cut in 1/2-yard pieces, each one measuring 18-inches by 3-feet. Sod shouldn't be left stacked on pallets any longer than necessary.
Pallets of sod

 

  
 
Now it's time to lay the sod...
   

First Row
Working from the top of the slope downward, the first complete row of sod is laid. Close attention is given to butting-up sod edges snugly and not stretching the pieces. Joints between the pieces of sod should be staggered, just like a brick wall.
First row of sod laid
Cutting the Edges
A sharp hatchet is used to cut the edges along shrub beds. Later these edges should be covered with topsoil or mulch to help prevent drying.
Sod being cut to size with a hatchet
Finished Job
Sod is thoroughly watered-in with follow-up watering every day or two until the sod knits down to the soil and becomes established. It helps to roll sod several days after it's laid. Since Kentucky Bluegrass is a thatch producer, sod should be core aerated once or twice a year (Fall or Spring & Fall).
Watering the sod
  
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