Q & A's About Sod Lawns and Installations
Hey everyone, George here from Sod and Seed, Inc. Today I will be answering the most common questions we come across selling lawn covers and working with landscaping and lawn installations. I hope this helps the general public, both folks with existing lawns and those looking to get one soon. I have been in the sod industry for over 20 years and value the well-being of our plants. As a general contractor and irrigation specialist, I also value work being done correctly, safely, and believe that both customers and employees of the field are aware of best-practices. What I am sharing is based both on years of direct experience handling sod, installing lawns, formal professional training and college coursework in the field. You can always email us with more questions at email@example.com, and we can put up the questions and answers to further help the lawn community of California and beyond.
1. How often should I water my new sod lawn?
A new sod lawn should be watered 3 - 4 times a day for 15 - 20 minutes in sunny areas. For shady areas, it should be watered 3 - 4 times a day for 10 - 15 minutes in shady areas. One of the main goals of a new sod lawn is keeping the roots on your fresh sod rolls wet without drowning them. If you look closely at the bottom of the sod rolls, you'll see those roots are short and tender, so they need extra care to stay alive and grow. At the same time, too little water can cause the sod to dry out before rooting, and it dies very easily this way. So, keeping good contact between the sod rolls and soil and ensuring the lawn is moist is a must.
Hand-Watering a New Sod Lawn
If you are hand watering your new sod lawn, increase watering by 3 times as much. One reason for this recommendation is that hand-watering with a hose only hits one area at a time, so it takes longer to cover the entire surface of the lawn. Meanwhile, a sprinkler system has a further reach and covers a much larger area at the same time.
2. When Can I Mow My New Grass Lawn?
Generally, it takes a new grass lawn 2 - 3 weeks to establish. So, we usually ask you to wait to mow until after that. But, if the lawn gets over 3-1/2 inches tall during that period, or has grown so much that it is impeding sprinkler water from accessing the whole lawn, then mowing the lawn will help. Always set your lawn mower to the highest setting for the first mow, going down one setting each time you mow after that. This will give your new sod lawn time to adjust. If you see your grass quickly growing, one easy trick you can try to know if it's ready to mow is to give it a tug, and if the sod roll does not come up off the soil, then you'll know it is safe to mow. You can even try pulling up on the sod blades a little harder, enough that if you hear ripping beneath the immediate surface, then give it another week (the ripping you may hear is the roots coming up off the ground, meaning they have not fully establishes yet).
Lawn Mowing Pro Tip for Grass Lawns!
When mowing your new sod lawn the first couple times, make sure not to water it before cutting. Watering will soften the soil and inevitably create soft mud spots which will be susceptible, and lawn mowing it during this time can produce divots in your new lawn. It can also destroy sod that is not yet well-rooted.
3. When Do I Fertilize My Sod Lawn?
Sod and Seed, Inc. recommends fertilizing your prepped dirt lawn right before installing your sod with a starter fertilizer. If this was not done when the lawn was installed, application of the starter fertilizer can be done on top of new sod, as long as it is time released. Do not use full compost instead of start fertilizer, as this will burn and kill your lawn. After 6 - 8 weeks, you can re-apply some more starter fertilizer to help the lawn further establish. Depending on the type of sod you install, it's a safe bet to fertilize at least every change of season. We have examples on our shopping page of most of our sod types about what happens to grass without proper fertilization.
4. How much does sod cost?
More specifically, our customers ask how much sod cost per square foot. A sod lawn in California will vary in price, ranging from $0.59 - $3.50 per square foot, accounting for material cost only. The pricing of our selection varies due to having a wide range of option, including multiple options for native blends, sports blends, residential blends, and lawn alternatives. We have also adopted a new model of pricing in which we provide cost for the total square footage needed, not price per square foot. Often time, companies that quote customers by square foot will give a "cheap" square foot price and then add fees such as pallet fees, surcharge fees and delivery fees. Over time, we learned it is more straight forward and clear to give one price, free delivery, only thing added will be taxes based on shipping address.
Why are sod prices different?
Sod prices vary due to the quality and composition of each blend. For instance, Native grasses are over 150 years old and untouched by farming strains. They also save 50% in watering and have more durable form, making them more expensive. Our most expensive lawn is not actually grass, but an alternative ground cover called Kurapia. Kurapia is a plant from Japan that is sterile, meaning it will thrive, however not sprout up like other grasses or weeds in other areas. Most of our best-selling lawn covers are in an average range, considering the general cost of sod. Also, our selection being sold is the largest in California, maybe even the Unites States, so we cover many sod types that vary in range.
Lowest Price Offer on Our Grass Types!
Sod and Seed, Inc. offers its customers low price guarantee. This means that is another company is selling one of our same turf types, we will offer you a lower price than theirs. Please note, you must provide us with a valid quote from other companies, or provide us with the company name and number, so we can call them to verify pricing we will beat. It must also be for the same sod type.
5. Will Dead Sod Come Back to Life?
If the sod was recently installed and did not root well, meaning it can be easily pulled up off the dirt and is no longer green but brown, the sod is dead and will not come back to life. This is why we recommend making sure to plant sod immediately. Installation within the first 24 hours is a priority. If your grass is left rolled up for over 24 hours, it can also die from lack of fresh air and water (do not cover your sod with a tarp while it is waiting to be installed!).
6. How long should I Stay Off the New Sod Lawn?
New sod needs at least two weeks of zero to minimal foot traffic to properly begin rooting. We advise 3 weeks to a month before any pets are allowed on the area due to urine burning pets cause. If a pet does go pee on your lawn, try to dilute the area by watering the sod heavily. As much as possible, try to train or redirect pets to urinate on areas of the lawn.
Pro Tip for New Sod Lawns with Pets!
If there will be pets on your lawn, we recommend buying a couple extra rolls of sod. When the sod arrives, install your lawn as planned and then lay some extra rolls of to the side if space permits. Guide your dogs to the extra rolls off the lawn, as the first they will want to do is mark their territory (aka pee on the new lawn). This way, you can preserve the installed lawn as much as possible and hopefully keep urination patterns to the sides and off the new lawn as much as possible. Please also note, no sod is dog proof! We can provide tips and tricks and science-based recommendations, but ultimately any grass is susceptible to a pet's foot traffic and urine if not closely monitored and addressed.
7. Can I install Sod On Top My Old Grass Lawn?
All sod (and plants) need fresh soil to root, and will die if placed on top of an old lawn. Even if the sod stays alive in the soil it came on soon for some time, you will have dead sod breaking down under the new sod creating disease and long-term lawn problems. Always tear out the old lawn, prepare the soil, clean out the waste and give the new sod a good start with fresh topsoil. Check out our DIY Prep and isntall Blog for a step-by-step guide on how to prep and install a lawn:
8. What Grass Works Best with Dog Urine?
Usually, fescue mixtures or full fescue sods will do the best with dog urine. If you do notice burn marks after establishment, add a little time to your watering to help reduce the burning until well rooted. As we previously mentioned, note that no sod is 100% dog-proof. Careful care is required fo most pet owners with lawns to ensure long term health of the lawn.
9. Should the Company Installing My Lawn be Licensed? If So, What Kind of Certification is Required?
In California, any job over $500 requires a contractors license. However, some people do use their landscaper for prep and install and purchase the materials directly through us. It's important to ask your landscaper or contractor the full instructions of what will be done so you are both clear on expectations. You may use our DIY Prep and Install Blog as a guide or checklist of what you can expect your ladnscapet to do when prepping and istsalling your new lawn. Click the link below for the guide:
10. What is the Best Season to Install Sod?
Most sod mixtures can be installed all year in California. However, our most popular time for sintallation is spring and summer. Spring and Summer will give you fast rooting. However, at the price of more water use because heat evaporates water, so in warmer temperatures you'd have to water your lawn more to keep it moist than in cooler temperatures. We install lawns all year but do get fairly slow during the rain season due to needing dry soil to amend and mix.
11. Where to Buy Sod Near Me?
At Sod and Seed, Inc! We have worked hard to expand our serives and deliveries, offering delivery and install throguhout all of California and expanding. Give us a call! If you're in a tight location or far off from major cities, you don't lose anything in calling us and wainting on a brief hold while we check with out farms to see if we can we acan deliver to you before placing an order. We are always ready to check availability and accessibility for you!
12. How Low Should I Keep the Edge of My Lawn from Border or Concrete?
Give the perimeter one inch for soil and soil base. This will leave you plenty of space and reduce a tripping hazard from high thatch layers in the future.
13. How Far in Advance Should I Order Sod?
We usually fill up 2 - 3 days in advance during the week. But if looking for a Friday or Saturday delivery, call 4 - 5 days in advance as the weekends fill up quickly. Also, if you live in mountainous or hilly areas like San Francisco, Berkeley, Orinda or Lafayette, stick to a 4 -5 day timeline. We use smaller trucks for narrower areas with windy roads which fill up faster due to being smaller and carrying less sod.
14. How Much Does Sod Weigh?
Sod usually weighs between 15 - 30 lbs, depdnding on sod roll size. Our sod roll sized vary including sod rolls that are 5 sq ft, 9 sq ft and 10 sq ft. If raining or ordering during cooer seasons when sod retain more moisture, it can really add non-needed weight to the rolls so exect heavier sod rolls. Do not be scared to get dirty and hug the roll when carrying it. If you're scared of getting your shirt dirty, you're going to hurt your back.
I hope you have found this Sod Q & A helpful. Please share with friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, and anyone else who may benefit from it. Did you learn anything new today? Give us a call with lingering questions or for help with placing an order!
Sod and Seed, Inc.
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