How to Lay Sod
The quickest way to achieve a beautiful lawn is to lay sod, but if your money is to be well spent, take time to prepare your site a month or two beforehand. Here's how to do it.
- Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything
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Buy your turf from a specialist supplier and, if possible, inspect it before purchasing to ensure that it's weed- and disease-free. Reject turf with patches of yellow or dying grass. Your choice of sod will generally be limited to high-quality grass for formal lawns, and hardwearing utility turf for walkways and play areas. Turf shouldn't be stored for long, so agree on a delivery date with your supplier that allows you to lay it immediately.
When to Start: Early fall or early spring
At Its Best: All year round
Time to Complete: 1 day to prepare; 1 day to lay turf
- composted organic matter
- all-purpose granular fertilizer
- rake and broom
- sharp knife
Prepare the Site
Two months before the turf arrives, weed the site thoroughly. Dig 4 inches of organic matter into the soil. Level with a rake. Tread over the soil on your heels in one direction, and repeat at right angles in the other direction.
Lay the First Row
Remove stones and debris from the site, and leave for five weeks for the soil to settle. Weed the site again and apply an all-purpose granular fertilizer at the recommended rate. Make sure the soil is moist, not wet, before laying. Place the first piece of turf at one edge, and tamp it down with the back of a rake.
Stagger the Joints
Create a tight seam between pieces by butting them together so they almost overlap and then pressing the crease down firmly with your thumbs. Continue to lay the pieces in rows, and stagger the joints, like a brick wall. Stand on a plank of wood to protect the turf you have already laid.
Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything
© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited
Gardening expert Paul James offers advice on fertilizing, seeding and planting.