Sodding a lawn is a beneficial way to get a lush, green, healthy lawn quickly, but it takes more expenses than seeding a lawn. In warmer and humid conditions in locations such as St. Augustine, Florida, it is important to understand how to pick out, prepare and plant sod on your landscape for your particularly region and climate. When choosing sod, take into consideration the varieties that work best in this region. The warm season grasses of Bermuda, Zoysia, St. Augustine, Centipede and Paspalum are ideal for this area. In St. Augustine, install sod during the early spring season.
Remove any grass or weeds from the planting area on your St. Augustine landscape at least three weeks before laying any sod. Do this with an herbicide specific for grass and weeds. This is important because Florida weather has constant rainfall that may provoke quick weed growth.
Till the planting area soil about 4 to 5 inches deep and discard of any rocks, sticks or dirt clods from the planting site. Loosening up the soil this much will help provide air circulation and encourage faster root establishment of the sod. For the type of sod that is ideal for Florida, such as Bermuda or Zoysia, the turf grows very dense and the roots will need all the help they can establishing quickly.
Work a generous amount of compost into the soil thoroughly. Add a 5-10-15 fertilizer into the planting area at a rate of 20 lb. for every 1,000 square feet (make sure to check with the St. Augustine nursery or sod farm you obtain your grass variety from, as different types may require different types of fertilizer). Rake the planting area to incorporate the nutrients into the soil, to level out the soil, and also to smooth it.
Obtain the chosen sod from a reputable nursery or sod farm near you. Ideally, you want to get the sod as close to the planting time as possible so it doesn't risk drying out at home on your property. The sod shouldn't have thatch or dead spots and have moist edges.
Water the planting area deeply for about 10 minutes before laying the sod to let the soil settle. You want the area to be moist when you lay the sod. Keep an eye on the weather as well, because if there is a lot of Florida rainfall, you do not want to lay the sod on super soaked soil.
Begin to lay down the pieces of sod. Start at the farthest away and longest area of the planting site, and carefully lay down the pieces one by one, mapping out the area. When laying sod pieces, overlap the edges slightly so they are tight and fitted. Push down the edges of the sod so they make contact with the soil. Continue to lay sod until the entire planting area is covered.
Use a sharp knife to trim any awkward edges of sod that must fit around driveways, walkways, trees or flowerbeds while laying them down. You want the sod pieces to fit in corners and around straight edges as fluently as possible. If you are planting sod pieces close to water, such as a canal (since that is quite common in St. Augustine) do not let any edges or pieces hang over into it.
Water the freshly planted sod with about 1 inch of water after you are done. Water the sod for the first 10 days with 1 inch per day, consistently keeping the sod moist. After the roots establish themselves, reduce watering to 1 inch per every two days. You will know this by gently tugging up on sod corners to see if they flap up at all. If they do not, the roots are established.