How to Properly Prepare Your Lawn for Sod or Turf Grass

Posted on: 15 August 2016


Sod or turf grass is a good choice for when you want the look of a new lawn without waiting for seeds to take root and sprout. Sod can also thrive more readily than fresh seed, as you don't have the risk of seeds being eaten by birds or washing away when you water the soil. However, the way you prepare your lawn for sod or turf grass will have a great impact on how well the lawn takes root and continues to grow. Note a few tips for preparing your property for putting down new turf and ensuring it has a proper foundation.

Level the lawn

Once you've picked up loose rocks and twigs or given the lawn a good raking, you'll want to turn it to aerate it and make it loose enough to hold new roots. When doing this, you also need to level the lawn or soil so that it has an even surface for fresh sod. If the soil dips or lifts in any area, this can mean uneven root growth of your fresh turf grass; one section may not reach the soil properly so that the roots wither and die, and another may see the roots unable to spread out so they cannot get proper moisture. You don't need to check the lawn with a leveling tool, but walk over it and check small sections at a time for any noticeable dips or hills.

Use a starter fertilizer

You may know to set down a layer of fertilizer on the property in order to provide fresh turf or sod with nitrogen and other key components needed for healthy growth, but be sure you check for a starter fertilizer. Some fertilizers will have a higher nitrogen level or more phosphorus or other chemicals that are meant for strong and healthy lawn, whereas fresh turf is still very delicate. Using anything other than starter fertilizer can mean seeing burned patches in the lawn and having the fresh turf wither.

Irrigate and settle

Fresh turf needs very moist soil for healthy growth, so you'll want to irrigate the lawn area but then allow the water to settle. Note the recommendation for your type of turf grass and climate in particular; you may need to thoroughly water the property and then wait several days for the water to settle to the subsoil, and then possibly water it again. This will ensure those roots are thoroughly hydrated once the sod is planted and they can grow easily.