Saturday, September 3, 2011

A bad job of laying sod.

I came across an example at a recreational facility of how NOT to lay grass sod. Frankly, I've seen more bad examples during my meanderings than good ones. At this site, it looked almost like the sod tiles had been thrown off a moving pickup truck and left where they landed. (Click on the images below to enlarge them.) First, I noticed that sod tiles were overlapping.

Overlapping sod tiles.
Second, I saw that there were lots of little gaps between tiles.

Little gaps.

There were BIG gaps, too!

Big gaps. 

Third, irrigation control boxes were set too much beneath grade.

Irrigation control box set too much below grade.

Fourth, edges were untrimmed and unpatched.

Untrimmed edges.

Finally, the sod was left unrolled.

Needs to be rolled.
A good sod job begins with good preparation. Old sod and weeds may need to be killed with an appropriate herbicide. Glyphosate is a good one. It can be applied by the homeowner, is effective, and doesn't persist in the soil.

When grass and weeds have died, the site should be tilled (if necessary), graded and leveled. Foreign and hard objects like rocks, dried dirt clods, building materials, and roots should be removed so that the sod roots can make good contact with the soil. If tree roots can not be removed, they should be covered with soil and the soil leveled.

Irrigation control boxes and sprinkler heads should be carefully placed so that they will be at soil level in order to avoid being overgrown by sod, or being clipped by mower blades.

Sod should be obtained just before installation, and be kept moist and green until installed.

Sod tile runs (courses) should be straight. Tiles should be staggered like bricks laid in a "running bond."

Gaps must be patched. Large gaps can be plugged with small pieces of sod. Large gaps can be filled with portions of sod tile cut to shape.

Sod should be neatly trimmed along walks, drives, curbs and planting beds. Lawn edgers are effective.

After the sod is laid, it must be rolled so that it makes good contact with the soil. It doesn't take much to rent a sod roller. They come in different sizes. Some can be attached to riding lawn mowers and pulled. Others come with handles, and can be pushed.

Sod rollers.
Adequate irrigation is essential. The sod must not be allowed to stress due to dry conditions, nor should the soil be kept soggy.

Laying sod is hard work, but that is no excuse for a slip-shod job.

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