How to Prepare a Lawn for New Sod by Killing Weeds First


Renovating a lawn with sod involves killing the existing grass, including any weeds, and replacing it with the new turf. The result is a lawn that is weed free and more pleasant to look at. Although grass can be seeded, or plugs may be sprigged into your lawn, the fastest method to create a new lawn is to lay sod. The sod is an instant transformation. The trick is to properly prepare the lawn and kill the weeds first.

Step 1

Pour a non-selective herbicide that contains glyphosate into the holding chamber of a spray applicator.

Step 2

Prime the pump of the applicator by grasping the handle and pumping it up and down until the pressure has built in the applicator.

Step 3

Hold the sprayer's holding tank in one hand and the wand applicator in the other. Activate the applicator by pressing the trigger on the wand. Pass the wand over your lawn slowly in sections to distribute a fine mist of poison over the existing grass and weeds. Make a second pass working a pattern that runs perpendicular to the first pass.

Step 4

Wait for the grass and weeds to die. Grass and weeds will turn brown and become brittle when they have died. According to Colorado State University Extension, Glyphosate is only effective on actively growing grass and weeds. A second application may be necessary if new weeds sprout.

Step 5

Remove the dead grass and weeds by pushing a sod cutter over your lawn. A sod cutter operates similarly to a lawn mower.

Step 6

Roll up the dead sod strips and discard them. You should not compost the dead sod due to the presence of herbicide on the dead grass.

Step 7

Lay new sod in staggered rows over the soil. Roll over the sod with a sod roller to force the roots into contact with the soil. Water until the sod is saturated to help the grass establish roots.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always wear protective clothing including long pants, long sleeves, gloves, goggles and breathing protection when applying herbicides. Take a shower immediately afterward to remove any residue from your skin.

Things You'll Need

  • Non-selective herbicide containing glyphosate
  • Pump applicator
  • Sod cutter
  • Sod
  • Sod roller
  • Garden hose
  • Sprinkler


  • Colorado State University Extension: Renovating the Home Lawn
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Lawn Renovation

Who Can Help

  • University of Missouri Extension: Cool-Season Grasses--Lawn Establishment and Renovation
Keywords: laying sod, applying lawn grass, killing weeds

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."