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How to Lay Sod in Houston

By Tracy Morris ; Updated September 21, 2017
Warm season grass grows well in Houston soil.

Houston is a large coastal city that is located on the Gulf of Mexico in Texas. The city has a tropical climate with mild winters and hot summers. Because of this, you can lay sod in Houston lawns all year long. One of the most popular sod types to lay in Houston is St. Augustine grass. Other good choices for sod in this climate are warm-season grasses, such as Bermuda and zoycia. Cold-season grass, such as bluegrass or ryegrass, will not survive in Houston.

Have your soil tested before preparing it for sod. According to the Houston Business Journal, the majority of soil in Houston is clay soil. Soil such as this will not drain well, and will not nourish grass. A soil test can tell you the amendments and quantities to improve soil drainage, nutrient structure and pH. Texas A&M University maintains a soil testing facility in conjunction with their community and continuing education program. You can submit a soil sample to the testing facility through your local county extension service. An agent with the county extension service can tell you how to take a core sample and package it for testing.

Purchase amendments based on the results of the test in Step 1. Common amendments for clay soil in Houston include gypsum to break up the soil and organic amendments, such as compost, peat moss, well-rotted manure, lime to raise the pH of soil or sulfur to lower the pH and a nitrogen-rich (10-0-0) fertilizer.

Break up your soil with a rototiller to a depth of six inches. Spread amendments over the soil to a depth of four inches. Mix the amendments with the soil by passing the rototiller over the soil again.

Smooth out and grade the surface of your lawn so that it slopes gently away from your home. Remove any rocks, sticks or other debris in the soil. Water your lawn 24 hours before laying sod.

Select a warm-temperature sod such as St. Augustine, Bermuda or zoycia grass.

Lay your sod over the soil in staggered rows so that there is not a uniform seam over your yard. Cut sod to fit around curved corners or to shorten it for a staggered row with a utility knife. Start at a straight edge, such as a sidewalk, and work your way outward.

Roll over your lawn with a sod roller to force the roots of your grass into contact with the soil. Water your lawn between two and four times daily with a quarter inch of water each time for the first 14 days. Then gradually taper off water until you use one inch every seven to 10 days.


Things You Will Need

  • Shovel
  • Gypsum
  • Compost
  • Peat moss
  • Manure
  • Lime
  • Sulfur
  • Nitrogen-rich fertilizer (10-0-0)
  • Rototiller
  • Garden rake
  • Sod
  • Sod roller
  • Garden hose
  • Sprinkler

About the Author


Tracy Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Arkansas.