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How to Lay St. Augustine Sod

By Joyce Starr ; Updated September 21, 2017

St. Augustine (Stenotaphrum secundatum) is a warm season grass grown throughout the southeastern sections of the United States. Lawns laid with St. Augustine sod are full, lush and green, if maintained properly. Its broad, flat leaves grow dense and turn into a thick carpet of grass. St. Augustine is the most tolerant to partial shade conditions than any other warm season grass.

Kill any weeds or grasses in the planting site several weeks before the St. Augustine is laid. This allows time for the herbicide to work and wash away. Laying the sod too soon after an herbicide application can result in its death.

Remove any debris such as rocks, sticks, branches or roots from the planting site. Till up the first 6 inches of top soil to loosen it. This will allow the sod's root system to have an easier time establishing itself into the soil.

Work compost or manure into the soil. If your soil is clay, work lime into the soil at a rate of 50 lb. for every 1,000 square feet. Add a 5-10-15 fertilizer into the planting area at a rate of 20 lb. for every 1,000 square feet. Rake the planting area level.

Water the fertilizer and compost into the soil. Make sure the planting area is moist when you begin to place the sod. Do not place bare-rooted sod upon dry soil.

Mark the areas you do not want sod to grow with spray paint. Spray around any flowerbeds, trees or other areas where grass is not preferred.

Lay your sod pieces down starting at the farthest and longest section of the planting site. Lay the pieces down one by one. Kick the sides of each piece of sod to push them tightly together as you lay them down next to each other. Continue laying the square sod pieces until you have covered the entire planting area.

Trim any pieces of sod that need to fit around flowerbeds or other obstacles with a hatchet, machete or sharp knife.

Add 1 inch of water over the freshly laid sod. Place a cup or other container into the middle of the lawn and keep watering until the container has filled up to 1 inch. Continue watering the sod for the first 10 days, keeping the top portion of grass moist but not soggy. Depending on your weather conditions, you may need to water every day. Once the roots begin establishing themselves, cut back watering to two to three times per week.


Things You Will Need

  • Herbicide
  • Rake
  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Manure
  • Lime
  • Fertilizer
  • Water
  • Spray paint
  • Hatchet
  • Machete (optional)
  • Sharp knife (optional)
  • Cup


  • The sandier your soil, the more frequent watering the St. Augustine will require.
  • Fertilize the grass again after it has been down from six weeks.

About the Author


For over 25 years, Joyce Starr has owned businesses dealing with landscape & design, lawn maintenance, specialty herbs and a garden center. She holds certificates in landscape design and xeriscaping. Starr shares her passion for nature in her writing, publishing articles on horticulture, outdoor recreation, travel as well as business.