Sod Vs Seed

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by 7mtnsod, Feb 16, 2005.

  1. 7mtnsod

    7mtnsod LawnSite Member
    Posts: 38

    Just trying to get landscapers opinions on sod vs seed. For those that sod reguarly.....how is your customer response? Are people requsting it? What benefits are you pushing with sod installation? Instant, quality grasses, erosion control, aesthetics?

    Is it fair to say that sod has no competition when it comes to customer satisfaction? Doesn't its overall benefits out-weigh initial cost for the consumer?

    Thanks for any comments.
     
  2. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,898

    If the soil is not properly prepared before laying the sod, then no.

    All too often, we get calls to look at lawns where sod had been put down 2 years ago. In every case, the thatch layer is very thick, and the grass is not well rooted. The reason for that is the ground wasn't prepped very well, and thus the sod didn't root very well either.

    Everything else being equal, I'd rather seed in the fall than sod any time of the year. Not only is it cheaper, it's easier and takes a LOT less time.

    Another thing to think about- sod is NOT certified to be free of weeds. Grass seed IS.
    Others, I'm sure, will have different opinions, but these are mine.


    Dan
     
  3. Coffeecraver

    Coffeecraver LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA.
    Posts: 793

    I would rather put sod down than seed

    It takes three years to establish a seeded lawn to match the Soded one.

    But as D Felix stated if the ground is not prepared well either one can be a failure.

    I make more impact with sod and more money.

    :)
     
  4. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,969

    Due to production development and building today, any new site is usually not ready for landscaping. Any existing topsoil has been removed or buried, construction activity has caused compaction, and numerous other grevious sins committed.

    When considering turf installation, you must remember that the sod farmer has given his product a premium environment, in order to have a good looking product and to turn the fields over as quickly as possible. When sod is removed from this premium environment and placed on lifeless soil, it will founder for about five years before adapting and starting to grow properly. Seed, on the other hand, does not know anything but what it germinates in, and does its best with what it has. Have heard so many times from new homeowners with a sodded front yard and seeded back, "How come the seed looks better after the first year? Shouldn't the sod be way ahead of seed?" Soil modification would usually have to be quite extensive to get a sodded lawn looking as good as seed two years after installation.

    Of other consideration in the seed or sod question is the number of choices. Maybe some in high density areas have 5 to 10 choices of sod suppliers. (I have 3.) But with seed, you have hundreds to thousands of choices, considering the possibility of blending different cultivars and varieties. So you can pick the seed that will do best in the specific site.
     
  5. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,898

    That is exactly the case here, and what we always run into. Seed may take three years to fully establish, but in that same time, sod will decline to the point almost needing to start over, even with the same treatment.


    Dan
     
  6. mbella

    mbella LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,284

    I have to say I think the importance on prepping for sod is overemphasized. I have installed sod, for builders, on many, many lots and NEVER had a problem. Remember, I said for builders. Builders that supposedly strip the soil and definitely don't want to pay for extra prep. I never (not ashamed to admit it) do anything more than run a Rockhound over the area. Now I've only been in business for 1.5 years, but I've been in this business for 13 years and done it the same way every time.

    I have friends in business that do it the same way and I never heard one of them talk about callbacks on sod.

    I'm not saying that extra prep would hurt or isn't beneficial, but I don't believe it's crucial. I stress the importance of water and push irrigation, but that's it.
     
  7. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,969

    Installers can do anything they want. I am speaking from 25 years of trying to maintain the junk installers do.
     
  8. mbella

    mbella LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,284

    Jim, is it "junk installers do" as you put it, or lack of care on the part of homeowners.

    In your opinion, how would one properly prep for sod.
     
  9. Coffeecraver

    Coffeecraver LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA.
    Posts: 793

    The seed or sod that is most likely put down in new construction sites is put there by the low bidder landscape outfit.

    The Builder can not get occupancy permit without grass.
    So it is put down as cheaply and quickly as possible.

    I do not do new construction projects unless I do them on my terms.

    :)
     
  10. 7mtnsod

    7mtnsod LawnSite Member
    Posts: 38

    I agree Mike.....the decline of sodded lawns, which in the Northeast are mostly bluegrass, is the caused mostly by poor turf management. Most homeowners are not aware of how to properly manage fertility with respect to bluegrass needs. You would be hard pressed to find many homeowners growing straight bluegrass lawns from seed due to its demand for high input turf managment. Hence, thats why there are sod farms that produce it.

    Ground prep is important..but up to the point of laying sod and spreading seed...shouldn't all ground prep be pretty much the same? If sod won't grow on bad soil, what makes anyone think seed will?
     

Share This Page