410-721-1861   l   1401 Rossback Road   Davidsonville, MD 21035
Installing Your New Sod
Sodded lawns are easy to establish and provide a solid return on your landscaping investment. While the site preparation is similar for sodding or seeding an area, the maintenance required to establish healthy turf-grass is lower for sod. Here is a comparison that will help you decide whether to install American Turf sod or seed the area:


STEP 1: Ordering
Order your sod to be picked up or delivered after the site is prepared and sprinklers are ready.
Decide how much sod you need. To do this you need to measure the area to be sodded. This is done by taking the length multiplied by the width of the area to be sodded and divide this number by nine (9).
(Click here to see an example) This gives you square yards you need (we recommend adding 10% to this number for edges and irregular shapes). We usually need 48 hours notice to schedule deliveries. If you plan to pickup your sod, please call a day in advance if possible, especially during hot weather periods to ensure you get a fresh product. Sod is cut daily for specific orders.

STEP 2: Soil preparation
Prepare the site prior to the arrival of the sod. Proper soil preparation is important to the establishment of your sod or seed.
Site Preparation - For both sod and seed you or your landscaper will need to:
  • Remove any grass, weeds or debris from the area
  • Establish a rough grade to eliminate high spots
  • Spread any topsoil, to low areas if needed
  • Apply soil amendments (see NOTE* below)
  • Level and rake the installation site until it is smooth and has drainage away from the home
  • Grade areas along sidewalks, driveways or existing grass approximately 1½ inches below the surface you  are joining against to allow for the thickness of the sod pieces
*NOTE: These steps are essential to successful installation of sod
Soil amendments:
Proper soil pH and nutrients are important to the success of your sod installation. A soil sample should be taken to identify any potential problems. If you do not have time to wait for a soil sample we recommend that you apply 40 lbs. of granular lime and 10 lbs. of 10-10-10 fertilizer per 1000 square feet.


STEP 3: Installation
  • Install the sod immediately after delivery. The turf should be installed within 24 hours or it will spoil.
  • Begin installing along a straight edge such as a sidewalk. Then go back to the starting point and tear a piece in half to start the next line, continue this brick pattern for the entire job. This keeps the seams from lining up and the job looks much better. Don't walk on the newly installed sod during installation always stay on the dirt for the next piece.
  • Arrange the rolls so there is a minimum amount of traffic on the prepared soil
  • Begin by laying two or three pieces along the straight edge and lay sod in a horizontal brick pattern
  • Butt ends and sides of the sod strips making sure there is no overlapping and no gaps
  • Fit the sod around obstacles or in smaller places by simply cutting with a sharp knife or box cutter/razor knife
  • Once an area of approximately 15' X 15' has been laid, water immediately. The objective is to not let the sod dehydrate.

STEP 4: Watering
  • Once you have installed an area big enough to set up a sprinkler turn it on. The sooner you get water on the sod the better.
  • After all the sod is laid, begin watering to build up the sub-soil moisture
  • This may require up to 2-3 inches of water per day for the first 2-7 days *
  • Probe the soil to determine if the moisture has penetrated to at least 4 inches
  • Each day may require more that one application depending upon wind, temperature and soil condition
  • Water the sod every other day the second week, weather permitting water 1 inch per watering
  • Shady areas will require less water and should be evaluated separately and be watered as needed
* NOTE: Measure the water applied by using rain gauges or by placing pie plates or cans on the lawn in areas covered by sprinklers and timing the fill rate to desired inches. We can only recommend the amount of water your new sod or seed will require. We cannot recommend how long you should leave your sprinklers running as water pressure, type of soil, amount of rainfall, outside temperature, and wind varies greatly.
Week 3 is used as a transition period from daily watering with frequent applications each day to an increased number of days between watering. Cut the watering back to once a week and then to only when needed. By the end of the establishment period, the grass should be able to go several days between watering depending on the season and weather
Become aware of dehydration signs

Stage 1: Grass has a purplish tint
Stage 2: Blades turn steel gray and footprints are left when walked on
Stage 3: Grass turns straw color
If any of these signs start to appear, go back to watering deeply as instructed in step 4 above.


STEP 5: Mowing
  • After about two weeks the new sod will probably need mowing.
  • Before you mow, make sure the sod is rooted to the ground. You can do this by going to a piece of sod and trying to gently pull it away from the soil surface. If you cannot, the sod is rooted enough to mow. If you can still pull it away from the soil surface wait another 3-4 days and test again before mowing.
  • It is important to let the area dry for a day or two after the peel back test to let the ground firm up before mowing so as not to leave ruts in the area from the mower.
  • Make sure you have a sharp blade on your mower.
  • Set the mower to 3 ½ - 4 inches or more for the first mowing as the grass will be long after all the water. Mow again in 2-3 days to the desired length of 3 - 3 1/2 inches. You will be able to mow the grass less often.
  • Never remove more than 1/3 of the grass leaf at any mowing as scalping the grass plants will shock it, making the plants more susceptible to disease, pests and drought. A longer grass leaf protects the grass plant from heat and helps to discourage weeds.

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