How to Replace Sod

Perhaps the most frustrating thing a home gardener enthusiasts encounters is not achieving the results for that lush, green, beautiful lawn so many of us desire.  You're looking at your lawn and realize some of your sod needs to be replaced.  Well you've come to the right place to get some help!  First lets talk about some of the reasons why sod/grass dies or looks unbecoming.  After all, if you're going to replace your sod, you want to know what to look for so your not in the same place in the near future.


  1.  The biggest reason sod dies is because it is not getting irrigated properly.  Many people think sod only needs water maybe once or twice a week.  While differing varieties of sod, climate, soil conditions, sun/shade exposure, temperature, and season all play a part, sod needs water on a regular basis!  Obviously you need to consider all the above mentioned conditions before you decide on how much and how often.  I know in Jacksonville Florida, we use predominatly "St. Augustine" sod.  Contrary to what the local officials tell you, this sod needs to be watered more than twice per week in the hot summer months.


2.  Insect infestation is a close second to lack of irrigation as to why sod dies.   All sod needs to be treated for insect control.  Depending on where you live and type of sod will dictate what to use.  In Florida, chinch bugs and mole crickets are the primary culprits.  If you have a spray company servicing your lawn make sure they're treating often enough.  If you see any beginnings of brown, dead patches, immediately check to make sure its getting covered with your irrigation.  If so, call your lawn spray company immediately and get them out there or this small patch will run crazy like the plague throughout your entire lawn if not addressed.


3.  Over watering or not enough sun.  If you have a primarily shaded area don't believe what your lawn guy or landscaper tells you that if you replace the sod it'll be fine,  It won't.  Even special "shade tolerant' sod won't do well.  I can't tell you how many customers I've talked to that have spent $$$ replacing sod in these areas only to be frustrated.  Typically when a customer calls me out I offer other solutions to remedy difficult areas that do not include re-sodding


As for replacing the sod itself:


  1.  Dig out all roots, thatch, etc and put a layer of fresh top soil so that when you lay the new sod on top it'll be at the same level as the existing sod.  DO NOT LAY SOD ON TOP OF OTHER DEAD SOD!  For larger wide open areas rent a sod cutter.  


2.  Before choosing the sod put your eyes on it before you get it delivered.  Most sod companies will try to pawn off their oldest marginal sod first.  Especially to unsuspecting homeowners.


3.  Do not fertilizer new sod or let your lawn be sprayed for at least 30 days after installing


4.  Tell your lawn guy not to cut the new areas of sod until its rooted in.  Approx 30 days.


5.  If you had insects in these areas prior make sure it was treated about a week ahead of time before laying new sod and water in treatment so it doesn't effect the new sod


6.  In hot climates water sod twice a day!  Between 6-9am and again between 7-9pm.  Sod must stay moist and hydrated or ill fry.  Do this for the first 30 day.  Then once a day for the second 30 days.  After this regular irrigation cycles should be fine.  


There ya go!  Take it from me George "The Garden Guy," there is a bit of an art to having a beautiful lawn.  For more information on how we can help you with your landscaping just give me a call at 904-613-9918.