Ch. 12, pp. 18 - 20
seeding | installation tips |
Never layer the soil with a topical amendment. Always
till it in. Level the soil as best as possible. The new soil needs
to settle naturally or by watering again. Rake to remove rocks and
so the soil has small groves in it. Place the seed on the soil
using a seed spreader. Put 1/2 of the seed down in one direction,
perhaps lengthwise, and stop. Then put down the other 1/2 of the
seed in the other direction. Lightly rake the seed in, and roll
the soil lightly with a roller. Placing a thin layer of compost or
composed steer manure on top of the seed will hold moisture and
aid in seed germination. Do not apply more than 1/8 to 3/16 of an
inch of composted steer manure.
Water 3 to 4 times daily for short intervals until the
seed germinates. Do not allow puddles to form. If they do the seed
will run down to the low spots and uneven grass density will
occur. Standing puddles of water will "drown" seeds and
kill them. When the plants emerge reduce water frequency but
increase application duration so that water will wet the entire
depth of the rooting area.
Installation of sod can be a rewarding and satisfying
event in landscape enhancement. Below are some of the most common
concerns you need to know about sod installation.
- Storage -- Sod should be stored in a shaded area and/or
covered when possible. Water the entire pallet of sod during
the course of installation, especially if the sod is exposed
to direct sunlight and winds. Wet all the soil and green
- Ground Preparation -- Soil preparation for laying sod is
the same as for seeding grass. Refer to above section on soil
preparation for planting turf.
- Finished Grade -- The final grade should be smooth and
level where possible. Avoid sharp dips and "lumps"
at grade level. Remove as many stones as possible. Hand raking
helps provide a uniform surface. If the soil is too soft the
sod will sink and edges will dry out. Roll if necessary at
- Direction and Patterns -- Start by laying the sod with the "long"
edge of the sod running with the length of the site (if the
site is not drastically sloped). A sidewalk may be used as a
starting point, if it is long and straight. If there are not
straight lines to work from place a string-line across the job
site. Make sure that the last row of sod strips are at least 6"-
8" wide where they will lay. Thin strips struggle to grow
and dry out quickly. On hilly and highly sloped areas, start
the sod running lengthwise across the hill. This will prevent
the sod from sliding down the hill. Stake sod pieces with
nails or wire strips on steeper slopes.
- Joining Sod Pieces _The ends of the sod must be
staggered--like cement blocks in a wall. This prevents the sod
from sagging downhill on slopes and the ends from drying out
as well. Staggered ends also allow the sod pieces to "disappear"
- Handling Edges -- The cut edges should be slightly curled
downward before the sod pieces are finally set in place.
Curling allows the sod to have "extra room" at the
edges, and allows the soil edges to meld after proper rolling.
This minimizes drying out which can occur at the edges if the
sod shrinks after placement.
- Clean Cuts -- Cut around obstacles (fixtures, walkways, bed
edging, etc.) with a sharp knife. If the sod is "undercut",
drying out will occur. If the sod is over cut, the sod may be
elevated within the piece, and be slow to root, or worse, dry
out and die. Make cuts around objects first, since recutting
is possible before the rest of the sod in that row is
- Rolling -- Roll over the sod soil in two directions. This
forces the sod into the prepared soil bed for quicker rooting;
Rolling also pushes the sod pieces together which helps
minimize drying out.
- Irrigation -- Water the sod 3 to 4 times daily for short
intervals for 10 to 14 days. Avoid soaking the sod
continuously and at night. After the sod begins to "knit"
and is hard to pull up, begin to water once per day, for a
longer period of time. Then, decrease irrigations to every
second or third day.