Q&A with the yard pros

How big is a roll of sod?

Sod rolls can come in various sizes depending on the harvest equipment or job application. Professional installers may often order what we call ‘big’ rolls for large-scale projects such as an athletic field or golf course. These ‘big’ rolls require specialized equipment for installation and are available either 30” of 42” wide and 100’ long. Most residential customers do not have access to this specialized equipment for installation; therefore, they choose palletized sod. Most of our palletized rolls of sod are 24” wide by 4 ½’ long (9 square feet or 1 square yard).

Is sod in stock all the time?

Sod is highly perishable especially during early spring through early fall when temperatures are at their peak.  Most outlets will have in-stock a limited supply on certain days for homeowners needing to make small repairs.  To ensure survivability of the sod, it is best to order and have it delivered freshly cut.

How do I know how much sod I will need?

Measuring your yard for sod may seem like a daunting task especially with all of those curved planting bed areas. When I measure a lawn, I stand back and look a the landscape for a few minutes and decide how to keep the measuring easy by splitting the area into several rectangular areas. Once I have done this, it is the simple geometry equation of length X width. You may find our measurement tool helpful as well. (link here) If you choose to use the web for your measurements, I would suggest you measure the old fashioned way also to confirm all measurements prior to ordering your sod. Once you measured your lawn, I would strongly urge you to add 10% to the sod order for waste and any last minute changes to the bed lines during installation.

How soon should the sod be installed once it’s delivered?

Please remember that sod is a living product. It should be installed immediately upon arrival at the jobsite.

What do I need to do to prepare for my new sod?

To ensure the health of your lawn, you need to PREPARE THE SOIL. You wouldn’t build a house with without a solid foundation.  Your lawn is the same.  Soil is the foundation of your new lawn.

1. Have your soil tested. We offer this service FREE at any of our outlet locations.

2. Eradicate any perennial plants before tilling the soil. A good example would be killing any common bermuda before converting your lawn to a zoysiagrass. This may take up to 3 applications of RoundUp on a  two-week spray interval.

3. Till the soil to a depth of 4 to 6 inches several day to a week before the sod arrives. This would be a great time to amend your soil based on your FREE soil test results.

4. Remove any large foreign items such as rocks and tree roots and rake smooth.

5. Irrigate the newly prepared soil several days prior to sod arrival. The weight of the water droplets dropping on the soil will not only hydrate the soil but also firm the soil without compacting it. NEVER INSTALL SOD ON DRY SOIL.

6. Lightly rake the soil as you install the sod to remove any imperfections.

How soon can I walk on my new lawn?

Installing sod is different from installing new flooring in your house. The new sod must have time to establish and grow before any activity should take place on the lawn. Here are a few tips for evaluating the establishment of your newly sodded lawn. Visually inspect your lawn for healthy growth over a period of a few days. Pay particular attention to the seams of the sod. Are they slow disappearing? I would also suggest you kneel down and try lifting the corner of the sod in several places though out the lawn. This will give you a better idea of the rooting of the lawn. In an established lawn, you will not be able to pull the sod away from the soil.

How often do I need to water my new lawn?

This is a very in-depth question which I could spend literally hours answering. Knowing that you do not have hours to read a dissertation on irrigation of a home lawn, I will try to brief and highlight the important facts.

First and foremost, you must hand water new sod immediately upon installation. Do not install more than two pallets before taking your lemonade break and using the garden hose and your thumb to thoroughly soak the new sod. Lift a few pieces of sod and inspect the soil underneath to be certain that it is fully saturated. Most irrigation systems will not provide enough water quick enough to keep the new sod from wilting, especially on hot days. Once you have initially hand-watered the new sod, you may use your irrigation system or sprinklers to continue to water the sod to the point of fully saturated soils for the first two weeks. After two weeks, you should start trimming the amount of water back to a normal schedule. Speaking of normal schedule, most grass varieties will require between 1 and 1 ½ inches per week. Avoid short intervals every day and water for long periods 3 to 4 times per week.

I have weeds in my new lawn.  What can I do to get rid of them?

Weeds are certainly a nuisance in any lawn, but to see them in your new lawn can really be a disappointment. We can certainly sympathize with you, but most weeds in a newly sodded lawn should not be your first priority. Establishing the lawn should be the focus. Once the lawn is established we can advise you on how to eradicate the weed issue. Most weeds in a newly sodded lawn are annuals and a result of preparing the soil and then providing a perfect growing environment. In essence you are in a Catch 22 during certain times of the year when sod a lawn. Never use preemergent herbicides on a newly sodded lawn, as most of these will inhibit rooting of the new sod. There are certainly some weeds, which should be addressed immediately regardless of how established your new lawn is. A good example of this would be bermudagrass in your new zoysiagrass sod. In this instance, I would recommend you eradicate the bermudagrass immediately before it spreads.

Which is better, seeding or sodding?

There are many reasons for sodding your lawn rather than seeding. The primary reason is quick establishment. If you really think about it, sod may be more expensive on the front end, but when you weigh all the inputs for establishing a lawn from seed, sod quickly becomes a reasonable bargain. Another reason for the increased popularity of sod in recent years should be contributed to the newer varieties of grasses. Many, if not all of the newer varieties produce a non-viable seed. Therefore, there is no seed available for the improved zoysiagrasses or even for the ever-popular 419 Tifway bermudagrass which you may want for your lawn.

When is the best time to water my lawn?

There has been a long-standing debate as to when is the best time to water your lawn. Some think that water during the early evening will increase the humidity through out the night and cause more fungus activity in the lawn. Others have the belief that if you irrigate during the warmest part of the day the water will magnify the sun’s rays and cause the lawn to instantaneously combust. I feel that that the lawn needs water when it needs water. It’s as simple as that. I personally irrigate my lawn in the early morning hours the majority of the time. Normally the calmest part of a 24 hour period will be during this 3am to 6am window which ensures that 100% of the water I am paying for is absorbed by the soil and not evaporated by sun light or blown away by winds. I will however irrigate my lawn briefly during the middle of the day on occasions. These short irrigation cycles help me eliminate wilting during the hottest periods of the year. I will normally program the irrigation to cycle 2 to 3 times during the mid afternoon period and run the zones for 2 to 3 minutes per zone. This light application of water serves two purposes. First, the water will naturally hydrate the plant and the second, as the water evaporates it will lower the temperature of the grass blade. In essence, I am helping my lawn sweat!

What does it mean to “test your soil?”  Is it necessary?

Soil tests will give you a report of several nutrient levels as well as the pH of your soil. Even if the nutrient levels are sufficient for your lawn, their uptake by the plant may be limited if the pH is not balanced. I have long believed that healthy lawns will overcome many adverse conditions such as drought and severe winter temperatures and healthy lawns begin with healthy soils. So yes, a soil test is a necessity. I would suggest that the soils be tested annually to ensure a healthy lawn. After all, you can stop by any Carolina Fresh Farms outlet and the staff will be happy send your soil test to the lab for FREE!

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