How to Place Sod Grass

Overview

Conveniences of sod include quick establishment, avoidance of weed problems, and flexibility. Sod may be placed with good success any time during the growing season when soil can be worked. Furthermore, sod is an especially good choice on steep slopes where grass seed might wash away before it could take root. When purchasing sod, select a high-quality variety suitable for your climate and growing conditions. Sod containing two or more varieties of grass provides for a wider range of adaptability, according to Rutgers University.

Step 1

Test soil to determine what nutrients may be lacking in the soil where you wish to place turf. Amend the soil as needed. Work in organic matter such as peat moss or compost if the soil is primarily sand or clay. Till the soil to a depth of about 5 inches.

Step 2

Rake the soil to fill in any depressions, smooth out the area and create a slope away from any buildings, if applicable. Sprinkle the soil lightly with water.

Step 3

Lay the sod the day you bring it home or have it delivered. Begin laying sod by a straight edge, such as a sidewalk or driveway. Push sod piece edges together tightly and take care not stretch them. Stagger the joins of sod pieces in a brick-like pattern in order to avoid a long line of continuous seams. Cut sod as needed, using a knife or spade, to fit smaller spaces.

Step 4

Fill lawn roller about a third full of water and roll it over the newly placed sod. Pushing the roller requires nearly the same techniques as pushing a lawn mower except you'll want to go over the entire area two or three times. The roller will smooth the site and improve sod to soil contact. For small lawn spaces, in the absence of a roller, place new boards on top of the sod and walk back and forth on the boards a few times to help press sod flat.

Step 5

Water the sod within 30 minutes of placement. Water at least once per day, in the absence of rain, for two weeks after installation in order to keep sod moist (though not soaking wet) and encourage roots to grow down into the soil.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't allow sod to sit for days before placing it. Timely installation will promote better establishment and overall health of the sod.

Things You'll Need

  • Tiller
  • Soil amendments (based on needs revealed in soil test)
  • Rake
  • Sod grass
  • Garden hose
  • Sprinkler or sprayer attachment
  • Sod
  • Sharp knife or spade
  • Lawn roller

References

  • Rutgers Cooperative Research Extension: Sodding: Steps to an Instant Lawn
  • Texas A&M: Turfgrass Establishment
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Seeding and Sodding Home Lawns
  • Louisiana State University: Using Sod for Quick Repair of Damaged Lawns
Keywords: place sod, install sod grass, lay sod

About this Author

Ann Wolters, who has been a freelance writer, consultant, and writing coach for the past year and a half, has had her writing published in "The Saint Paul Almanac," and in magazines such as "Inventing Tomorrow" and "Frontiers." She earned a master’s degree in English as a second language from the University of Minnesota and taught English as a foreign language for nearly seven years.