Top Reasons Non-Successful Sod Installation
Getting Ready for Sod
Top Reasons For Not Having a Successful Sod Installation
Turf-grasses are some of the hardiest and durable plants found in urban landscapes.
With any new planting, your new sod requires special attention and care to ensure a successful establishment.
Korby Sod guarantees our sod to be alive, healthy, weed, and disease-free. We do not guarantee sod that dies due to improper installation and/or care.
Below are some top reasons for not having a successful sod installation.
Call – Text – Email our office immediately if there are any issues, concerns or
if you have any questions regarding installation and/or caring of your new sod
970-568-7633 – Northern Colorado | 1-844-285-5606 – Toll-Free
720-262-3818 – Denver Metro Area | [email protected] – email
# 1 - IMPROPER SOIL & SITE PREPARATION
Freshly cut sod needs a good new home to establish its roots. Proper soil prep is very important and should not be overlooked. A good site will have a minimum 4”- 6” depth of prepared topsoil for deep root penetration– the deeper the root structure, the stronger the grass plant. Deeper roots will make the lawn more drought resistant and it will use water and nutrients more efficiently resulting in a denser and healthier lawn. A denser lawn will crowd out weeds and offer greater resistance to insects and disease. This is why many communities now require soil amendments for new installations.
How to prepare your site – In most new installs you do not need to bring in new soil. You simply need to prep and amend the existing soil. A nice “fluffy” and nutrient filled soil will make it easier for the grass roots to penetrate deeply and evenly.
- Loosen the existing by rototilling the soil to a depth of 4” to 6” and remove any large clumps
- Add a good dairy compost and perform a second till to evenly distribute the compost. You
should add about 3 cubic yard per 1,000 square feet.
- Rake the area to grade. Avoid walking on the prepared site as much as possible, rake out any
footprints you create as you lay the new sod.
Sod installation should be the last item to schedule when adding new landscaping to your site. Your sprinkler system, edging, trees, landscape edging, etc should all be installed before laying your new sod.
# 2 - USING INCORRECT VEGETATION KILLER/USING IMPROPER COMPOST/FERTILIZER BEFORE INSTALLATION
Once the sod has been installed, you want to nurture the roots and ensure nothing in the soil will kill off new growth. Two easy ways of burning the roots are residual herbicides and/or too strong of compost in your soil. If you want to kill weeds, or other vegetation, at your site prior to a new sod installation, you must do this at least 2 weeks prior to your install. There are many herbicides on the market and you don’t want to use anything that remains in the soil! Do proper research before spraying anything on your site! Herbicides that remain in your soil will kill the new sod roots. Compost should be aged long enough that it now smells like fresh soil. Do not add fertilizer to your prepared site. Using the wrong compost and fertilizers will burn the new sod roots.
# 3 - IMPROPER MEASURING AND ORDERING
There is nothing worse than when you finish your installation and you find you don’t have enough sod or you have ordered too much. All sales are final at Korby Sod. We do not provide refunds for unused sod. If Korby Sod is installing your new sod, we bring enough sod to complete your site based upon your measurements. If we are short, this can cost you more. We will charge an additional delivery and minimum labor charge to install the shorted sod.
Measuring prior to order is important. With tape, measure the area of your planned lawn. Multiply the length x width — this is your total square footage. If needed, divide the area into rectangles and add up each area. This will give you an estimated Area measured in square feet. Korby Sod rolls measure 2 feet by 5 feet; for a total of 10 square feet.
# 4 - WAITING TOO LONG TO INSTALL FRESHLY CUT SOD
INSTALL SOD WITHIN 12 to 24 HOURS OF PICK UP OR DELIVERY.
Our sod is cut and rolled the morning you receive the sod. The sod has been nurtured since seeding on our farm in ideal conditions. When the sod is cut, it is taken from its prior home with only a small fraction of its prior root system. The sod and soil radiate heat and while rolled up on your pallet, the heat cannot escape. Within 24 to 48 hours, the sod roll can reach a temperature over 130° F– which will essentially “bake” and kill the grass plants. If it is a sunny and hot day, place sod in a shaded area. You may need to lightly wet down the sod rolls and cover it with a tarp to block sun, but make sure you allow for air circulation.
# 5 - LAYING THE SOD IMPROPERLY
You will want to lay sod along the longest straight line, such as a driveway, sidewalk or patio. Butt and push edges and ends against each other tightly, without stretching. Stagger joints in each row in a brick-like fashion, using a large sharp knife to trim corners, edges, etc. Avoid leaving small strips or pieces, as they will not retain moisture. Avoid gaps and overlapping. Gaps will not get smaller and eventually allow weeds to sprout. Overlapping will not properly root, causing bumps in your lawn, and the sod will dry out faster. If laying sod on a hill, lay parallel to the slope, rather than up and down the slope.
Do not walk on the new sod. When laying, walk on the prepped soil as little as possible and rake out footprints as you lay each row of sod. Once the sod is rolled out, work on it only when necessary to fit and trim it. Avoid Gaps between seams, overlapped pieces, and a lot of little patches each create their own problems. Gaps won’t get smaller, and they will allow weed seeds to sprout.
# 6 - NOT LEARNING/USING A PROPER WATERING SCHEDULE
It is important to water newly laid sod frequently enough that the sod and to inch of soil immediately beneath the sod remains wet, but not waterlogged. This moisture should extend to the soil beneath
the sod to encourage the sod to take root.
Make absolutely certain that water is getting to all areas of your new lawn. Corners, smaller sod strips and areas near buildings dry out faster and may require more water. Sprinkler systems are great for larger areas, but hose-end sprinklers may be needed to keep corners and irregularly shaped areas wet until the lawn is established. Longer/Deeper watering cycles are better for ensuring a deeper root
- On the day you finish installing your new sod, you need to water immediately for at least 30 minutes to ensure that the sod and the underlying soil are moist to a depth of six inches. This is
important since the soil will work like a wick and pull moisture from the new sod.
- During the first two weeks, you want to give the new sod an inch of water daily. Depending on weather conditions, this will be two to three times per day. Water for ten to fifteen minutes
per cycle. On hotter days you may need to increase your watering. The best time to water is early morning, then again mid morning and then early evening.
- During weeks three and four, you can reduce watering to once or twice daily– depending on weather conditions.
- After the fourth week, you can water the sod as needed. During the first season, your lawn will require more water. As roots grow deeper, you will be able to water less frequently.
# 7 - NOT WATERING THE NEW SOD ENOUGH
This is by far the number one reason new sod has issues. If your sod seams begin to brown and/or shrink– you may not be watering enough. Check sod and the underlying soil to make sure it is moist. Examining the grass blades can also be helpful. Bluish-grey, wilted blades are a sign of advanced drying. Corners and edges of sod, areas near hardscapes and buildings dry out first. Adjust your water schedule to provide adequate water each day and adjust sprinklers to ensure full coverage.
# 8 - OVERWATERING THE NEW SOD
Too much water can “drown” your new sod. When excess water moves nutrients out of the soil, the grass may turn yellow or light green. If the ground feels spongy when you walk on it, or if you notice standing water or puddles in the lawn, you may be over-watering your grass. Runoff in the driveway or street is another sign of overwatering.
#9 - NOT STAYING OFF THE GRASS OR USING IT TOO SOON
New sod can be easily stressed if you use it too soon. Stay off the new sod as much as possible for the first month, then keep the contact minimal for at least another month. Walking across a soggy, new lawn can compress the soil, but most often it leaves a series of depressions in the lawn that may never fully recover.
# 10 - FERTILIZING TOO SOON
Your new sod usually does not need any fertilizer. After six weeks you can add a NEW SOD fertilizer.
DO NOT use an established lawn fertilizer since these tend to have higher nitrogen contents and can
burn the roots of your new sod.
# 11 - MOWING TOO SOON OR TOO SHORT
Do not mow for at least three weeks. When you mow new sod, you want to take no more than a ⅓ of the blade. It is recommended you set your mower to the highest level. Back off watering for a day before you mow. Do not mow if you “sink in” when you walk on the sod. If you mow too short or too soon, you can cause damage to the grass.
# 12 - NOT MONITORING THE NEW SOD DAILY
You can’t just lay sod and expect it to remain perfect. Daily monitoring ensures you can spot any pending issues. If you see yellowing or browning areas, you want to try and solve the problem.
Look for discolorations in sod. If you believe the issue is not related to a lack or too much water, call Korby Sod and we can assist you.
Once again, the most prevalent issue is either lack of water or too much water. Just like all life… too little water and we die, too much water and we drown. Peeling back corners of sod is a great way to visually confirm that the soil beneath the sod is wet. Inserting a screwdriver or other sharp tool into the soil is a good way to confirm that the top inch is not too dry or too wet. You want the soil on both the sod roll and the underlying soil to be moist– but not muddy. Adjust the watering schedule accordingly!
We Serve More Than Just Colorado
Our Colorado-based sod farm serves more than just the Colorado front range! Our sod services spread into Wyoming, South Dakota, New Mexico, Texas and surrounding ares. We offer sod delivery as well as pick up. The Korby Landscaping team can assist you with lawn design, sod blend selection, installation and maintenance guides.