Sod Installation Guide

Installation is available only through the Lawrence/Kansas City location. For those of you who are installing on your own, a guide and tips are below.

Your soil needs to be clean (i.e.-no plant material, trash, or sticks on the surface). This ensures your roots make direct contact with the soil. Debris can create air pockets, which can lead to slow or no rooting.

The soil should not be compacted. Compaction prevents root penetration and will lead to stressed or dying sod. As a general rule, roto-tilling 2 inches deep and then lightly raking and leveling the area is the best way to prepare your soil.

Sod is perishable and as a result it is vitally important that you lay the sod the same day it is delivered. In 90 degree and above temperatures it may be necessary to lay your sod within hours of delivery. In extreme temperatures it is also recommended to water each roll of sod with a garden hose as you lay it, or install one sprinkler zone at a time rather than watering at the end of installation.

The first time you water, you need to completely soak your new sod. You want the sod to make a “squish” sound when you step on it. Usually 1 ½ -2 inches of water will be adequate. What you are trying to accomplish is the removal of all air pockets between the sod and your soil. Remember the importance of root to soil contact.

After the initial heavy watering, you need to keep your soil and sod extremely wet. Depending upon soil type and weather conditions, this should require watering 2-5 times a day for approximately 20 minutes each time. Remember to test the moisture level with the “squish” test. If you see puddles or standing water, then you are watering too much and you can lessen your frequency.

When you can pull up on a piece of sod and you feel the resistance of the roots in the ground, your sod is ready to be weaned off of the heavy watering cycle; typically this process takes 2 weeks. Reduce your watering schedule gradually over the 3rd week, and adopt a ‘normal’ watering schedule.

You can contact the Sod Shop for recommended watering rates for each season.

The first time you mow, remember to mow only the top 1/4 or 1/3 of the blade of grass. DO NOT SCALP your new lawn. After the initial mowing adopt a regular mowing schedule. One rule of thumb for normal mowing is to never cut off more than 1” at a time. A recommended mowing height for a Fescue lawn is between 2 ¾ -3” tall.

Once soil is prepared and before sod is installed is the perfect time to apply your starter fertilizer. We recommend Fertilome New Lawn Starter, which can be purchased at the Sod Shop. After the initial starter fertilizer, contact the Sod Shop for a Preferred Contractor who can set up a professional lawn care plan for your new lawn or if you want to do it yourself, come to our shop and we can help you build a plan, free of charge.

Be sure to read our Turf Maintenance Tips.

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