How to Lay Down New Sod
LESLIE: Robert in Oklahoma’s up next and you’re thinking about laying some sod. Brand new yard, huh?
ROBERT: Yeah, I’m trying. (laughing) It’s … we’ve got a slight slope. It’s not a big hill but it’s a sloped (INAUDIBLE).
ROBERT: And it’s Bermuda grass. And in spots it’s real beautiful; dark green and thick. And in some spots it’s just bare rock, dirt, dried soil. (chuckling)
TOM: Hmm. OK.
ROBERT: And I’m trying … for the last two-and-a-half years, I keep picking up rocks and there’s … keep more coming. (chuckling) And I … that’s a never-ending process so I decided to lay down some sod. And I’m trying to figure out … I have no idea what would be the best way to do it and how much top soil … if I should use a lot of top soil or …
TOM: Well, the first thing you need to do is repair the soil. And generally, what you do is rototil that to a depth of about, say, four to six inches. So you might need to rent a rototiller because you have the rocky soil; one that’s not going to, you know …
TOM: … freak out when it hits a couple of those rocks. And once you get it all loosened up and you can rake out the top rocks …
LESLIE: Yeah, take out as many of those larger rocks and anything that might sort of damage into the meshing and the webbing as the sod comes in. You really want to get rid of some of those big things. And also think about sloping for drainage conditions. Make sure, if you have any situations where things might be sloping towards the house, try to fix that grading now. Now is a great time to work on it.
TOM: Yeah, if you’ve got any holes or any depressed areas, now is the time to fill them in. And once you get that all filled in and nice and level, what you want to do is pre-water the soil. So you want to water the soil itself first and then lay the sod on top of that so it’s nice and damp underneath the sod. And you know, putting the sod in is pretty easy. It’s pretty much like putting a puzzle together.
But the key here is that after it’s done, you’ve got to water it a lot. I mean it’s really critical that you water that within 30 minutes of installing it. And you want to give it about an inch of water and keep watering it about two to four times a day. Great to water it at night or early in the morning; not kind of in the middle of the day where all the water’s going to bake off real quick. But you’ve got to keep it real damp and moist while that sod is taking root. The best time to do any kind of a new lawn is towards the fall. And the reason is because the summer sun has pretty much passed. It makes it easier for a lawn to really take hold and grow some pretty deep roots before the sun really beats down on it and burns it out that much quicker.
LESLIE: And Robert, another thing to keep in mind is that when you’re ordering the sod, make sure you ask when it’s going to be delivered. Because it needs to be laid as soon as possible after it arrives.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Exactly. Time is critical.
LESLIE: So if you find out it’s going to show up on a Wednesday and you can’t do anything with it until Saturday, you know, change that. Make sure you get it and you’re able to put it right down because you don’t want it to wait more than about 12 hours after arrival, OK?
ROBERT: Good deal.