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How to Prepare the Ground for New Sod

By Larry Parr ; Updated September 21, 2017

Before you can lay new sod, there are several things you must to do to prepare your yard for it's new coat of grass. Proper ground preparation is not just important, it's vital. Without proper ground preparation, your new sod will soon be peppered with weeds, and a great deal of the time and expense you spent on your new sod will be lost.

Water the ground where you will plant sod. Keep it moist for seven days to encourage weed and grass growth.

Spray all weeds and other vegetation with a weed killer, following the manufacturer's instructions. Wait seven days and spray a second time in order to kill any weeds that were missed the first time. Wait seven more days.

Remove the top 1/4 inch of soil along with the dead weeds using a sod cutter. Remove as little of the top soil as possible. Push the blade of the sod cutter into the ground 1/4 inch with your foot and keep pushing with your foot as the blade slides under the grass, cutting roots. Use a shovel to lift off the top layer of sod and vegetation.

Spray the soil with a weed seed killer, following the manufacturer's instructions. Your local nursery will know which brand of pre-emergence weed killer is right for your area.

Rake the ground with a hard-tinned rake to remove any rocks, roots or any remaining vegetation.

Spread 2 inches of organic steer or cow manure on the surface of the ground, then rototill the fertilizer into the ground. Rototill to a depth of 6 inches unless you will be planting a Bermuda grass hybrid or Sunclipse St. Augustrine sod, in which case only rototill to a depth of 4 inches.

Rake again with a hard-tinned rake to remove anything that was turned up by the rototiller. Break up any dirt clods and level the ground. Make sure the ground is approximately 1 inch below the level of any driveways or walkways.

Roll the ground with a lawn roller to smooth and slightly compact the soil. Roll in two different directions. Fill in any low spots in your lawn with a combination of soil and organic fertilizer.

Water the ground one day prior to the delivery of your sod.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Weed killer
  • Weed seed killer
  • Sod cutter
  • Shovel
  • Hard-tinned rake
  • Organic fertilizer
  • Lawn roller

Tips

  • Motorized sod cutters that are operate like a lawn mower are available. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for adjusting the blade depth and simply guide the cutter across your ground as it cuts the roots just below the surface.
  • Some sod companies require that you install a sprinkler system for your lawn in order to validate any guarantee that might come with your sod. Install a sprinkler system after rototilling

Warning

  • Follow all advice from the sod company regarding when to water, when it is permissible to walk on the lawn and when you should first mow it.

About the Author

 

Larry Parr has been a full-time professional freelance writer for more than 30 years. For 25 years he wrote cartoons for television, everything from "Smurfs" to "Spider-Man." Today Parr train dogs and write articles on a variety of topics for websites worldwide.