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How to Install Sod

Installing sod in Virginia can be a bit challenging if you don’t follow best practices. But if you follow the helpful hints below, you’ll realize nothing beats so for getting fast results when you’re seeking to have a thick, healthy, lush lawn. If you lay it correctly, in just a few, short weeks, you’ll have a well established lawn that’s resistant to weeds, diseases and pest infestations.

So whether you’re starting out with a newly constructed area that is barren or reestablishing a lawn area, then following the procedures below will assist you in having success with your sod installation.

Step 1: Remove/Kill Existing Weeds Depending on the area in which you’re laying your sod, it may be necessary to kill off any existing weeds and vegetation. Killing off weeds, especially if they’re invasive types like “wiregrass”, will make tilling the soil easier and reduce the chance they’ll grow back and compete with your newly laid sod.

Step 2: Rototil the Soil To be honest if you’re going to skip a step, this is the one. While loosening the top 3-4 inches of soil will make it much easier for the new sod to take root, it’s no completely necessary especially if it’s new construction or the soil is already of pretty good quality. If you need to improve the soil quality, this is the time to do so as you can easily till in a mix of compost and quality topsoil.

Step 3: Smooth Out The Area Using a metal rake to smooth out the area you want to sod will prevent ‘low’ spots in the lawn that may either collect too much water or provide ‘air pockets’ under the sod leading it to either rot or dry out quickly. This step will also allow you to remove unwanted debris such as rocks, dead plant material and large clumps of soil.

Step 4: Apply Starter Fertilizer Put down just a light application of starter fertilizer as this gives your newly sodded lawn crucial nutrients that it needs to root quickly and thus getting established so less water and maintenance is needed. Any lawn starter fertilizer is good and we recommend applying it at half the rate suggested. This is because sod is already established and healthy when you lay it.

Step 5: Roll Out The Sod It’s best to start with a straight edge in the back of the area you’re going to be sodding. This allows you to continue laying down the sod without the necessity of walking over it. Use a staggered brick work pattern so you’re not aligning the ends of the sod rolls. You can use an old kitchen knife or utility knife to cut the sod rolls to different lengths as necessary. Simply flip the sod roll over and cut the rooted (dirt) section of the sod for the cleanest cut.

Step 6: Water Immediately after laying the sod, apply approximately an inch of water per day for the first two weeks. With a standard lawn sprinkler, this is about half an hour of watering. After the first two weeks, you can reduce your watering to every other day for two weeks, then to twice a week or as needed. Of course, you can adjust this if natural rain is also provided!

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