How to Grow New Sod


If you need a new lawn in a hurry, sod is the way to go. Although it is much more expensive than planting grass seed, sod has the advantage of being the quickest way to establish a lawn. It does, however, still require proper care and maintenance. The most important element is watering, which will need to be done daily for several weeks after installation. New sod can be laid at any time the ground isn't frozen, according to the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension.

Step 1

Using a rototiller or another tilling tool, prepare the yard space where the sod will be located. The top 4 inches of soil should be tilled before planting sod, according to the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension.

Step 2

Remove debris such as sticks and rocks from the area.

Step 3

Apply a high-phosphorus fertilizer, such as a 1-2-1, to the top layer of soil. The fertilizer should not be worked into the soil.

Step 4

Roll over the soil with a lawn roller to firm it up in preparation for planting.

Step 5

Water the soil where the sod will be laid immediately before installing it. The soil should be moist but not dripping wet when sod is laid.

Step 6

Lay the first piece of sod along a straight edge, such as that of a driveway or sidewalk.

Step 7

Lay subsequent pieces of sod in a brick pattern. This will prevent large seams, according to the Purdue University Turfgrass Science Program. When laying sod, be sure to abut the ends of the pieces as close together as possible.

Step 8

Fill in any holes or gaps with soil or dirt so it is even with the top of the sod. This will help the pieces fuse together more easily.

Step 9

Roll over the sod with a lawn roller half filled with water to push it into the soil below.

Step 10

Water the sod immediately after it is installed and then daily for the first two weeks. After two weeks, and when the sod is firmly rooted, the frequency of waterings should be decreased, but the duration should be increased.

Step 11

Cut the new grass about one week after it is installed.

Step 12

Keep people and animals off the new sod for about two weeks, until it has a chance to become well-established.

Step 13

Fertilize the grass between five and seven weeks after it is installed using a grass fertilizer. Follow label directions for how much to use.

Things You'll Need

  • Rototiller
  • Lawn roller
  • High-phosphorus fertilizer
  • Soil or dirt
  • Lawn mower
  • Grass fertilizer


  • University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension: Installing and Maintaining a Sod Lawn
  • Purdue University Turfgrass Science Program: Establishing a Lawn from Sod
  • All About Lawns: Planting with Sod
Keywords: laying sod, caring for sod, installing sod, growing sod lawn

About this Author

Meghan McMahon lives in the Chicago suburbs, where she spent six years as a newspaper journalist before becoming a part-time freelance writer and editor and full-time mother. She received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University in 2000 and has written for "The Daily Southtown" and "The Naperville Sun" in suburban Chicago.