How to Install and Maintain Your Sod


1.  SOIL PREPARATION: Begin by making sure your soil is loose and debris free.  This includes “chunks” of dirt or weeds.  If the soil is dry or the weather is hot, it is best to moisten the soil first.  Level soil off to about an inch below curbs, drives, and sidewalks.


2.  FERTILIZER:  Incorporate (at the rate according to manufacturer’s directions), a starter fertilizer into the top inch and a half of soil.  This fertilizer should include nitrogen, phosphates, and potassium.


3.  INSTALLING THE SOD:  Start from one area and work out.  When starting, “stagger” beginning sod edges to help prevent shifting and gaps.  This is accomplished by starting the second row about 12 inches in further than the first row.  Keep all edges butted next to each other without a gap, but do not overlap edges.


4.  IMMEDIATELY WATER   sod so that it does not dry out.  Be sure to water the edges well.  After initial watering, it is important to keep your sod watered.  Watch it closely.  Apply an inch of water at a time each week, rather than small amounts at a time.  The reason for this is the roots of the sod will head toward the water.  When an inch of water is applied, the water soaks down into the loosened soil, allowing the roots to also grow down into the fertilized soil.  When only small amounts of water are applied, the roots start heading up, and will die.  Measuring when you have applied an inch of water is as easy as setting a small coffee can within the sprinkler’s watering range.  When there is an inch of water in the can, empty it, move the sprinkler to the next area, and start again!  If it rains, the coffee can will keep track of it for you, too!


5.  MOWING:  Make sure your sod’s roots are established enough to mow by kneeling down and grasping a handful of grass in each fist.  Pull up to make sure it is firmly knitted in enough to mow.  This usually occurs between ten days and two weeks.  Make sure your mower blades are sharp.  Set the mowing height at the highest level, and be cautious.  If the height is to low, you may lift up and scalp areas of your lawn.  Over the next weeks (depending on the rate of growth), gradually lower mowing height until you reach about 2 1/2 inches.  Do not remove more than one inch of growth at a time.


6.  CORING:   Core-cultivate your sod once it has knitted firmly to the soil.  Repeat in the Spring and Fall of each year.


7.  MAINTENANCE  FERTILIZER:  Apply the starter fertilizer after the first six  weeks according to manufacturer’s directions.  Granular fertilizer generally needs to be watered after the application to avoid “burning”.  After the first growing season, apply after coring each Spring and Fall.


8.  WEED CONTROL CHEMICALS:  Weed control chemicals should not be used in the first year.


9.  CONTACT  Keller’s Turf Farms for any questions about your new sod.



You can expect years of beauty, enjoyment, and added value to your home and property by following the steps listed above.  (Be well prepared, use common sense, and diligently water and maintain.)