How to Plant Grass in Texas

Overview

Most homeowners desire a beautiful lawn with healthy turf grass. In Texas, lawns are either grown from seed, which takes years of maintenance to get established, or from sod. Sod is grass grown on a grass farm. It is dug up in rectangular pieces with soil still attached to the root system. The rectangular pieces are delivered stacked on a pallet and the pieces laid on the lawn. This creates an instant lawn that is actively growing in as little as six weeks. If you are going to plant grass in Texas using sod, prepare the site before the sod arrives.

Step 1

Till the soil in the area where the lawn is to be established. This pulls up or buries all weeds and existing vegetation. Rake the lawn smooth, removing all plant debris, and contour the lawn it so drains efficiently. This may take the work of a professional with heavy equipment such as a tractor with a box blade, but usually can be done by simply raking the soil if you are planting on a small scale. Because the turf grass is about 1 inch thick, you will need to establish the new level of the lawn after tilling that is 3/4 to 1 inch below any concrete driveways of sidewalks.

Step 2

Rake over the leveled ground to roughen the soil so the roots of the sod have contact with the soil. Moisten the soil slightly just before sod installation. The soil should not be so wet it sticks to your feet, just slightly damp.

Step 3

Install the sod as soon it arrives, because it begins to die soon after it is stacked on the pallet. Start laying the sod along a straight line such as a driveway. After laying the first line of sod, begin the next line in a brick-laying style, or in a way where the seams do not match. Butt each line of sod against the new line so there are no gaps between the sod pieces. Don't stretch the sod to make it fit an area, because it shrinks as it dries. Use a carpet knife to cut out pieces of sod for odd-shaped areas. If planting on a hill, start from the bottom and work your way up.

Step 4

Roll over the lawn with a lawn roller after all sod is laid. A lawn roller can be rented from an equipment rental business. It is a round drum with a handle attached that is filled with water for weight. Push it over the newly laid sod to help the sod's roots make contact with the soil. It also helps level out small imperfections in the lawn.

Step 5

Water the new lawn twice a day for the first two weeks if there is no rain. After that, water deeply every 3 to 4 days for two weeks and then water deeply once a week. Watering deeply means that the water should penetrate down to a level of 6 inches. This is accomplished by adding the equivalent of a 1 inch amount of rainfall. To verify watering levels, set an empty coffee can in the range of the sprinkler and water until you see 1 inch of water from the sprinkler accumulate in the can. Mow for the first time in three to four weeks after planting.

Tips and Warnings

  • Adding a high-nitrogen fertilizer to newly laid sod can damage the new roots. Wait until the lawn is actively growing and you have mowed twice before beginning a lawn fertilization program.

Things You'll Need

  • Sod
  • Water source
  • Rake
  • Lawn roller
  • Tiller
  • Carpet knife

References

  • American Lawns: New Lawns Using Sod
  • Texas Cooperative Extension: St. Augustine Grass
  • Plant Answers: Floratam St. Augustine Grass
  • Sodding: How To Sod A Lawn
Keywords: sod texas, grass texas, texas lawns

About this Author

Based in Rockdale Texas, Jim Gober has been writing garden-related articles for 25 years. His articles appear in several Texas newspapers including The Rockdale Reporter, The Lexington Leader, The Cameron Herald and The Hearne Democrat. He is a Master Gardener and Certified Texas Nursery and Landscape Professional. He holds bachelor degrees in English Writing from St. Edward's University and Finance from Lamar University.