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Show #47/6608. Backyard Makeover - Sod, Lighting & Containers

Tips For Sod From Beth & Eric

This is a fairly large install compared to what many folks might do, but it's actually not as hard as one might think. Although it is a little bit bigger job than many feel comfortable taking on, there's absolutely no reason why one should feel intimidated by a job this size. When folks buy sod the average job size is typically repair of an existing lawn, around 50 square feet. This is a little bit larger than that. But what it really boils down to is just doing a little bit of research into what's good for your area. And you don't have to know the varieties, you don't have to know all that stuff. One can use resources like lawncentral.com that is going to point you towards what's regionally appropriate, how you prepare your site, what you need to do ahead of time, laying the sod itself, and then how to maintain it afterwards to give you that successful experience.

Eric believes it’s very important to make sure you select the right grass. Like any other plant we would use in the garden you need to know its shade tolerance, its sun tolerance, etc. Beth’s team knew this was a shady site so got the right cultivar. Then the next most important thing is site preparation. Grass is no different than any of the shrubs in this landscape, the green side is up, the root side down, for it to integrate with the native soil. Laying sod on top of hardpan clay is not a good idea. It doesn't mean it can't work, but it's not a good idea. And you want to make sure that you've got really good soil agitation. Many sites would definitely benefit from soil amendments. And you want to make sure that you've got good drainage so the roots can penetrate deep. The deeper into the soil the roots go, the less water you're going to have to ultimately give it. And it will be a more durable turf. So make sure that your site is well prepared and do some basic legwork ahead of time.

There are simple things to consider when installing sod. Make sure that the roots get wet very quickly, so water the dirt before you lay the sod down. Tips and tricks like that that are going to help make your sod installation successful.

When we go to a store to buy sod, what do we need to be looking at? What's important? Sod is the most perishable live good that's out there, it has an extremely short shelf life. In a lot of cases when you see sod at a big box store, it's been cut oftentimes in the middle of the night. And that's because the soil temperature in those pieces of sod is going to be what eventually makes it rot if it stays palletized. Thus in an attempt at getting the lowest soil temperature possible sod may be harvested at maybe two, three o'clock in the morning. Then, it's shipped to the stores. It's getting there as fresh as possible, but it really needs to be sold and it needs to come to your home, to your yard for you to lay that sod within 48 hours, ideally, after being harvested. In the cooler seasons, which is a little more forgiving for homeowners, one gets a little bit longer window. When you find sod it's okay if it looks a little dry, you don't want to water it when it's palletized. So, if you go to a store and you see sod that looks a little bit dry, that's okay, get it home, get it laid down and get it watered.

Importantly if you've got a job where you're going to need more volume it's best to just order it and have it SHIPPED STRAIGHT TO YOUR HOME. That way it can be harvested, then delivered which will cut out additional time on the pallet.


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