The majority of Florida has the benefit of year-round warm temperatures, which makes installing sod any time of year possible. Only those living in the most northern regions of the state need to plant the sod in late summer to very early fall, allowing for establishment before freezing temperatures of winter. Sod might be more expensive and labor-intensive than seeding or plugging, but it gives instant coverage and prevents soil erosion.
Inspect the sod before purchasing to check for unwanted weed growth, insect infestation or brown areas where the sod is stressed or diseased. Florida sod has a shelf life of approximately 48 hours when piled on a pallet before it begins to dry out and die. Plant the sod as soon as possible, or store the pallets in a cool, shady area, keeping the sod moist.
Prepare the area by raking it clean of sticks, rocks, weeds or other unwanted vegetation. Spray a non-selective herbicide over the vegetation and do not water for four to five days, allowing the vegetation to die. Clear the dead vegetation from the area and saturate the soil with water daily, waiting one to two weeks before installing the sod.
Mark off areas around trees and flower beds with a can of spray paint. This will give you a guideline when laying the sod in place upon the ground.
Spread approximately 2 to 3 inches of topsoil or compost over the soil, working it into the soil to a depth of approximately 1 inch, as Florida soil is basic sand and requires extra nutrients. Rake the area to even up the soil. Water the area thoroughly and keep the soil moist before laying the sod.
Place a piece of sod on the ground, starting at a corner or edge of the area. Continue placing pieces of sod next to each other, butting each one close to the other. Kick the sod pieces together with your foot to ensure a secure fit, with each piece lying flat upon the ground. Continue until you have completely covered the area with sod.
Cut the sod with a large knife or machete to fit around trees, flowerbeds or concrete pathways.
Water the sod immediately, being sure to saturate the roots. Continue watering the sod one to two times per day for the first week. Decrease the watering schedule to two to three times per week, depending on you local Florida weather conditions.