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A common misconception is that high summer is the best time to lay sod, but the cooler Spring and Fall seasons are best suited for turfgrass installation. Sod rolls are living, breathing entities and with cooler fall temperatures and occasional rain, the sod has less risk of drying out and the stress of cutting and transporting the turfgrass is minimized. Plants will divert energy to the root system in cooler months also, faster and deeper root growth. New sod will still need regular watering after installation, but less vigorous watering is needed in cooler months, saving time and water.

Site Preparation

Measure the area and order roughly 5 percent extra to allow for curved and uneven areas. While sod is often laid on straight loam, it is best to add some nutrients to the soil to aid the long-term health of the turfgrass. A compost and peat moss mix, such as BigYellowBag Alberta Gold, is perfect for this application. 2 to 3 inches of good quality soil amendment will help improve soil aeration and water retention and enhance the microbial population in your soil.

The ground where the rolls will be place should be properly prepared before laying sod rolls. Remove all rocks and debris from the area, along with weeds and make sure you prep area is raked flat. Correct drainage problems by grading to avoid water puddling in low areas and ensure water moves away from sidewalks and driveways.

Installation

Start laying turf along a straight edge, such as a driveway, fence, flower bed or patio. Work with whole pieces, laying them end to end one at a time. Try to avoid walking on the sod as you lay it and rake out any footprints you make in soil as you go. Place sod carefully into place, to minimize air pockets between soil and sod and smooth out any wrinkles as you go.

Lay Sod in Rows

Cut the next piece of sod in half and lay it against the first, staggering the joints like in a course of bricks. A sod knife or carpet knife works best to cut the rolls.

Tight Seams

Align edges of sod together tightly but without creating overlap. Push your thumbs along the edges to fit the rolls tight against each another and to make sure there aren’t any air pockets or bare soil showing along the seam. As the lawn establishes these seams will disappear.

Watering

Irrigate newly-laid sod with 0.2 inches of water daily, watering once in the morning and once in the afternoon, for two weeks following installation. More water will be needed during hot and dry weather to make sure roots do not become dry. The frequency of irrigation can be reduced if roots are established within 10 to 14 days.