View Full Version : First sod lay

05-12-2007, 01:55 AM
I am about to attempt to lay my first batch of sod :clapping: due to having too much shade for my Bermuda. My lawn is about 900 sqft wrapped around an irregular shaped shrubbery/planting bed. This will require about 2.5 pallets of Zoysia sod, according to the sod farm lady.

Now heres my question... can I haul this much sod in the back of my pickup or will I need to rent a trailer?:confused: This may seem like a stupid question for most, but as I've never even seen unlaid sod, it is a relevant one.

TIA to those who laugh but answer anyway.:laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

05-12-2007, 03:42 AM
How many tons is your p/up?

05-12-2007, 09:24 PM
Generally, a pallet of sod weighs a ton. In wet weather, think more than that.

05-12-2007, 09:56 PM
Can't put a pallet on most half ton truck without them going down a lot. We haul it on a 3/4 ton usually. And a trailer without brakes with two pallets is pretty risky going down the road. Why not have them deliver?

05-12-2007, 10:30 PM
As this is just a simple 1/2 ton truck, probably without the HD trailering package, I'm going to have to have them deliver it. I decided on the sod over plugs and seed because it would be impossible to keep the neighborhood kids off of it until it either germinates or spreads, even though it is the most expensive option. And it's getting more so when adding delivery. I'm afraid to call for the cost!!! :dizzy: :cry: :dizzy:

Oh well... if you want a good lawn you've got to pay the price, both in sweat :weightlifter: and $$$ payup !

05-12-2007, 10:55 PM
Just be sure all your prep work is done right. That is #1- preparation of the soil for the sod.

05-13-2007, 04:35 AM
Here's what I've done thus far...

I scalped the grass and sprayed it thoroughly with Round-Up. After 1 week it started to look a little "sick". After 2 it was completely brown. Then we got almost 2 solid weeks of rain, which has just let up, BTW. Now I'm starting to see a few sprigs of green pop up again(they say Bermuda is the hardest grass to kill). So I'm going to hit it again with the RU and hope for dry weather.

Since I have an in-ground irrigation system, I can't till it up like I should because I don't know where the pipes are, so my plan is to just tear up the surface with a rake, remove the debris, then put down a "sugar-coat" of topsoil, about 1/4" or so.

Does this sound OK? If not, is there something else I should be doing instead? Thank you for your help.

05-13-2007, 08:14 PM
You should be using a sodcutter to remove the (now) dead sod. Sod won't grow on top of old , dead sod, dried up weeds etc. Sod needs contact with bare earth. Set your sprinkler system to demonstrate mode, when the heads come up, mark them with a flag, paint, stick, whatever. You'll have to dig the old sod away from them with a sharp shovel or spade.

05-14-2007, 10:57 AM
Thanks for that reply, DiyDave. That just saved me $500 plus delivery! I seriously thought I was on track.

Now RE: sodcutters... I'm assuming this is something I could rent from the local sod farm? Also, how deep do I need to go? Are we talking just skimming the old(dead) growth off the top, or do I need to get the roots?

I ask because I don't know where the piping to the sprinkler is nor how deep they are laid. Is there a universal depth that's used?:confused: The pop-ups I know about and already have marked. And I'm assuming again that I don't need to call the utilities to get their stuff marked?

I apologize for all the questions, but this is not only my first sod lay, but my first major lawn repair, first sprinkler system, etc... I know most will say just hire somebody to do it for you, but where is the fun/satisfaction in that?

(rant start)
I bought a computer from a store 10yrs ago, and over the years have rebuilt/upgraded it numerous times. Now I'd put one of my self-built machines up against any Dell, Gateway you could buy. That's what DIY is all about!!:usflag: :usflag: :usflag:
(rant end)

But seriously... Thanks for all the help you guys/gals give us newbies on this site. I can tell you I really appreciate it.

05-14-2007, 08:38 PM
Do a google search for turfco direct, look up the kisscutter, nice little unit, check the rental yards in your area. Here's a thought- if you have a Home Cheapo in your area, check to see if they rent sodcutters, some do. While you are there, rent the 3/4 ton flatbed truck to haul the sodcutter home (ostensibly). Then use the truck to haul your sod home, and the cutter back to Home Cheapo, when you are done. This job (2 pallets) should take a man and helper about a day. If it's a husband/wife team, figure on a weekend. Oh, in answer to your sprinkler Question, there really is no set depth for the supply piping, most pro-installed systems generally 6-8". If the previous owner installed himself, There's no telling!:laugh:

05-19-2007, 10:52 PM
Just a few more questions...

I've got a sod cutter reserved for this weekend to get rid of the old dead Bermuda(I've hit it 3 times with Round Up). My understanding is that this machine will cut 1-2" of sod off the top, then I should replace this with topsoil, compost, or a combination of both. Is that right?

Also, how much time can go by between the prep-work and the actual laying of the sod? With my work/family schedule it will be difficult to get all this done at the same time. How much leeway do I have, if any?
Thanks for the advice.

05-20-2007, 07:57 AM
When removing dead sod you only need to go deep enough to detach all of the tops of the dead previous lawn. If you go real deep, you risk hitting tree roots, and also are removing a lot of soil, needlessly. With regard to the other question, a week won't hurt you, but don't let grass grow under your feet either!:laugh: :laugh:

05-20-2007, 08:48 AM
You should be spraying a healthy plant to kill it correctly, not a scalped nub. Would have saved you numerous applications.

06-24-2007, 06:06 AM
I know I know, old thread but I wanted to share my experiences and handiwork with other newbies who may be thinking of tackling a job like this themselves. It is rewarding and well worth it.

First of all I removed as much debris as I could after scalping the dead Bermuda, then rented a power rake from HD and loosened up the top 1/2" of soil. I then added 200lbs of organic compost/topsoil mix and moistened it good. To that I added some 17-17-17 Lesco fertilizer to get things started right. I know it's not organic but at the time I wasn't aware of any fast acting meals/grains.

I don't know about all sod farms, but the one I dealt with had a 6 pallet minimum for delivery so that was out of the question for me, as I only needed 1k^ft. Also they don't sell half pallets of sod so if you're like me you either buy too much or not enough. I figured I would rather plug that last 100^ft later than waste the 300.

That meant 2 trips, and yes, to answer the question I posed earlier, a 1/2 ton short-wide will haul a pallet of sod with no problem. :weightlifter: :gmctruck::weightlifter:

The first pallet went down without a hitch, though it was interesting trying to trim around the sprinkler heads and corners the first time. Now the second pallet was something else. It was late when I finished the first and the farm had closed, so I had to wait till the next day. Well it then started to rain for 2 consecutive days,:mad: which put me into my work week(16hr days). When I finally got to it it had been on the back of my truck for 8 days, and it had started to yellow a bit. But it is Zoysia so it should bounce back nicely with a little TLC. All in all I'd recommend this to anyone with a notion to do it. You won't regret it.

Thats enough rambling... here are the pictures:





You can see where the 1st pallet ends and the 2nd begins

That's it! :dancing: :drinkup::dancing: If anyone has any other tips or suggestions I've overlooked, don't hesitate to offer them up. I want this to be the best lawn on the block! Thanks to those who've already responded. It's because of you that I've gotten this far.:clapping: :clapping: :clapping:

Garden Thyme
06-24-2007, 06:27 AM
What happened? Look at all those gaps!!

Here we lay sod (turf) like a carpet, butt the ends up closely by overlaying the pieces and then cut both ends with a sharp knife this makes a perfect joint.

06-24-2007, 12:58 PM
What happened? Look at all those gaps!!

Here we lay sod (turf) like a carpet, butt the ends up closely by overlaying the pieces and then cut both ends with a sharp knife this makes a perfect joint.

Maybe you missed the Title of this here thread; "FIRST Sod Lay", and apparently the first sentence of my last post slipped by you, too. Or maybe it was that word newbie, that means first-timer here in the USA.

Now if you read the whole thread you'll see where I was asking for any and all tips & advice on how to prepare and lay said canyon-gapped sod. Where were you then? Don't be a Johnny-come-lately to only criticize another man's hard work. Didn't your mother ever tell you "If you can't say something nice, keep your yap shut?"

Just kidding Dude, I got no prob's with ya'. :drinkup: Here I am only 5 days out on my FIRST:) attempt at laying some sod and 75% of it is already taking root. So I'm as happy as a pig in shiz-nit!:cool2: :cool2: :cool2:

Garden Thyme
06-24-2007, 01:17 PM
Maybe you missed the Title of this here thread; "FIRST Sod Lay", and apparently the first sentence of my last post slipped by you, too. Or maybe it was that word newbie, that means first-timer here in the USA.

I read from your first post that this was your first attempt. Now you should learn about constructive critisism.

Also I take offence from you caling me a jonny watever. (Nor born here, moved here 10 years ago) born South African.

06-24-2007, 01:39 PM
*trucewhiteflag* *trucewhiteflag* *trucewhiteflag* *trucewhiteflag*

Friend... I'm sorry that my attempt at sarcasm(or humor) was lost on you. I have no problem whatsoever with you or the criticism you offered. In fact if you'll check it out, I encouraged it!

And I meant no harm by calling you a Johnny-come-lately, which just means someone who shows up after the fact and starts offering criticism and advice on how they would have done it better. But like I said, this is what I asked for. Its just that your particular comments would have been good to have before I started.

I apologize again for offending you, my wit tends to be a bit sharp after working a 16hr shift. I will keep your advice in mind when I lay sod again. If you have any other observations, please don't hesitate to share.:drinkup: :drinkup: :drinkup:

Garden Thyme
06-24-2007, 02:03 PM
That's ok.*trucewhiteflag*

I know what you meant - just been a long day for me with my wife if the US -NC and leaving me to look after the kids whilst trying to run a business.

I cannot believe how much soil is left on the sods. Is that how you buy it. Our sods here are very thin (easy to handle) and longer (cover a bigger area).

At least you cannot see my first attempt as a did not take any photo's. I am sure you would have had a big laugh.

06-24-2007, 02:40 PM
I cannot believe how much soil is left on the sods. Is that how you buy it. Our sods here are very thin (easy to handle) and longer (cover a bigger area).

I'm gonna have to plead ignorance on this one. Up until I picked up the first pallet 2 weeks ago, I had never seen unlaid sod up close. What I had seen seemed to have been in rolls, whereas this was in squares, or slabs is what the farm guy called them. Apparently this is how Zoysia is sold.

06-24-2007, 03:06 PM
Sorry I missed this thread. I would have responded if I saw it earlier.

First off, for anyone else thinking of doing this on there own don't spray roundup if your going to sod cut out the lawn. It is just a waisted step and a waist of money.

Now my post would have been something like this if I seen this earlier.

Start off my measuring the area you need sod for. Remeasure to make sure you did it correctly. Add at least 10% to the sq footage you have for waste. Rent a sod cutter and mark you heads if you have irrigation. Sod cut the lawn and don't hit any heads. Use a spaded shovel or edging shovel to remove rooted grass from around any spots where you could not get the sod cutter. Remove all debris. There are several ways to loosen up the soil. Harley rake, (for large areas) dethatchers work good too. If you need top soil add in and level it off. You need a good "seed bed"/ fluff for the new sod to root into. You can add fert now or after you install the sod.
Your ready for your sod now. Find a good starting point. Use a sidewalk or driveway as a starting point. They usually are straight lines to start off of. Lay your sod. When you join 2 pieces, butt them up to each other and make sure you have a tight joint. Sometimes you need to use your fist and give them a light pounding to get the seams tight. Remember the joints are going to be the first spots to start browning up. Lay your first row keeping joints tight. Go back to your starting point and cut a new piece of sod in half. You want to stager your joints. Like a brick wall. You don't want 2 end joints to be within 1 foot of each other. Start laying out second row, you can lay a 2 or 3 rows at a time if you want. Depends if you have helpers with you and where the sod pallets are located. Now when you come to a bed like in the pic above roll out your sod and let it go into the bed. Get your sod knife and cut the sod to fit. This is why you order extra. Sometimes you can use this scrap piece if it is large enough instead of a whole new piece when you come to a corner or bed. Once you lay a good section out I like to put a sprinkler on the sod. I like to get the water going as soon as I can. Just don't forget about it and leave it there for an hour because it will turn to mud. Keep laying until your finished. Trim all the edges and make sure your irrigation heads are all cut out. ( I cut them as I lay over them so I don't forget where they are) I send someone around with some grass seed and check all the seams. If they are a little loose I put seed in so it grows in and fills any gaps. Usually I roll the new sod with a turf roller. If I have not put fert down by now I do it before I leave.

The key to sod is a well prepped base and water. I turn on all the irrigation zones and check the coverage. If there is no irrigation I make sure the hose and sprinkler is going and BEAT it into the customers head 3 or 4 times that they NEED to water. I tell them there is no warranty if I come by and the lawn is dry and the sprinkler has not moved since last time I checked it. Most of my sod installs are in my town so when I'm out working I do a drive by or stop by with the family when going out. Keep the sod damp, usually water twice a day. early morning and late after noon. Try to water early enough so the grass can dry out before dark.

06-24-2007, 09:03 PM
It don't look too bad for the first time out-At least you got the green side up! One other thing-you can't overwater it. Water it till you see runoff, then wait a few hours and water it again, till the point of runoff. Do this for the first month or so, then back down to about an inch of water per week, as you see it start to root. When you mow it for the first time keep the rpms down on your mower, so you don't lift the sod with a high vac mower.:waving: :waving:

06-25-2007, 04:50 AM

Thanks for the response. Thats as good a step-by-step guide to sod as I've seen. And I researched this project for at least 2 mos before actually tackling it. There were just a couple differences in my case.

First the sod cutter I wanted to use was unavailable when I went to rent it and was spoken for for at least a week. So I ended up just using a power rake to loosen the top 1/2" of soil, raking the debris(most of it, anyway), then adding some compost/topsoil mixture from HD.

I did my side joints pretty good in spots, but I wish I'd done better on the ends. Won't they fill in as the turf grows? I think they look worse than they are. Another problem I had was that I needed 900^ft and the sod came 400^ft per pallet, and no amount of pleading would convince them to sell me a 1/2 pallet. So rather than have 300ft of sod go to waste, I figured I could just plug the extra after the turf was well established(next year?). That made me very stingy when laying it, so maybe thats why I didn't do it right.

One thing I haven't been slack on is the watering. I've been hitting it twice daily since day one. It's been 7 days since I finished it and more than half of it has started to take root(not easily pulled up), so I think it's gonna be OK.

I did put down some Lesco 17-17-17 fert before I started and just yesterday I put down some Soybean Meal, which is what I'll be using from now on, Organics. Also going to put down some compost tea along with seaweed powder to aid in the rooting.

Thanks too to DiyDave for your comments and advice. It's all appreciated.