How to Lay and Care for New Sod


While you may think that sod will require less care than grass seed, the truth is that sod installation requires just as much preparation. Diseases, weeds and other problems can damage your sod if the site is improperly prepared. This extra work is worth the effort, though, when it results in a lush, full lawn much more quickly than a seeded yard.

Step 1

Water your yard thoroughly one to two days before installing your new sod. Moist soil will help your sod's roots to become established more quickly.

Step 2

Rake the yard to level out uneven areas and loosen soil particles to allow the sod's roots more contact with the soil.

Step 3

Water the site again just before you begin sodding if the ground is dry.

Step 4

Use a straight edge such as a sidewalk or driveway as your starting point for laying the sod.

Step 5

Lay out the pieces of sod in a row, pushing the edges together firmly. Stagger your rows to keep the end joints at different locations from the previous rows; this prevents the joints from forming large bare areas while the sod grows and fills in.

Step 6

Use a razor knife to cut odd-shaped pieces of sod around curves, sprinklers or other lawn features.

Step 7

Use a lawn roller on your sod to press the sod firmly into the soil. This will hasten the process of knitting the sod's roots to the soil underneath.

Step 8

Water your sodded lawn daily for the first week if you do not get any rainfall. Gradually increase the time between waterings starting in the second week; this decrease in watering encourages the sod's roots to grow downward toward moisture deeper in the soil.

Step 9

Fill in the cracks between sod pieces with topsoil about a week after you install your sod. This will smooth out your lawn and help your sod fill in the cracks more quickly.

Step 10

Wait three to four weeks after installation before mowing your new sod. This length of time is necessary to allow the sod's roots to knit firmly to the soil. If you mow too soon, your mower may pull the sod up and damage the roots.

Step 11

Give your yard a second application of fertilizer about four weeks after installation.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't walk on your sod until after you've rolled the lawn to prevent disturbing the roots.

Things You'll Need

  • Rake
  • Razor knife
  • Lawn roller
  • Fertilizer


  • Seedland: How to Sod a Lawn
  • A-1 Grass: When Can I Fertilize and Mow My New Sod?

Who Can Help

  • Pacific Sod: 10-Step Installation
Keywords: putting down sod, mow new sod, sod installation, laying sod

About this Author

Angie Mansfield is a freelance writer living and working in Minnesota. She began freelancing in 2008. Mansfield's work has appeared in online sites and publications such as theWAHMmagazine, for parents who work at home, and eHow. She is an active member of Absolute Write and Writer's Village University.