Because sod is already developed into a thick, green carpet that can be placed on a soil bed in sections, sod is a quick way to establish a new lawn. But unless you do all you can to make sure that the roots of sod become established, that carpet of lawn will quickly die. You can help sod become established with a few easy tricks.
In many new houses, topsoil actually does not exist on a lawn because many builders dump the soil from home excavations directly onto the lawn of a new home. Because of this, you may need to add several inches of topsoil to your lawn before adding sod. Sod will not thrive if planted on top of subsoil lawns. You can be certain if your lawn soil is composed of topsoil instead of subsoil by having the soil tested by a laboratory that specializes in soil testing. Most state agricultural colleges maintain soil-testing facilities that you can access through your county extension agency.
When it comes to nutrients in the soil, lawn grass is a heavy feeder. Before you lay your sod, you can start a lawn out right by incorporating fertilizer into the soil of your sod bed. One balanced, pH-neutral amendment that is filled with nitrogen is compost. Compost is rich in organic materials that will increase drainage and improve the structure of your topsoil as well.
Once sod has been installed on your lawn, you must force the roots of the sod into contact with the soil so that they can take root. Roots that do not touch the soil will not become established and will die. In order to force the roots into the soil, roll over the sod with a sod roller. You can rent a sod roller from an equipment store. Many sod rollers contain rollers that are composed of hollow drums. To weight down the sod roller, you must fill the drum with water.
Sod lawns need to remain constantly damp while the roots become established. In order to make sure that the lawn remains wet, you will need to water it multiple times daily with small amounts of water. Check your sod up to four times a day and water it with ¼ inch of water per square inch of soil. After the roots have become established on your lawn, gradually decrease the frequency of watering until you are using only 1 inch of water per inch of sod every seven to 10 days.