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First Sod Install!

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by drsogr, Sep 6, 2004.

  1. drsogr

    drsogr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,275

    Hey, Saturday I am doing my first sod install. It is about 1300 sq. yards. I was curious if anyone had any tips or hints that might make this go easier. I have been reading up for the past month, and was curious if anyone had any good information to share. There will be 4 guys all together doing this, and we plan to start early in the morning and work until its done. Any advise would be helpful. Here is some pictures of the yard before. After we are done I will put some after pictures on here. I am having the finish dirt work subcontracted out, it should be done later this week.


  2. drsogr

    drsogr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,275

    Here is the front!

  3. Coffeecraver

    Coffeecraver LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA.
    Messages: 793

    I hope you have irrigation installed on that property.

    I have some tips if you don't have it.

    Hand edge the curbing,and driveway,when compleating the grade

    Plant trees,install mulch beds before sod install

    Stager the joints

    A starter fertilizer is good to apply before the install
    Sometimes on a slope you will need to pin it down,be prepared

    Once your final grade is compleated
    Be ready to install it compleatly once you start,even in light rain

    Good Luck
  4. Lanelle

    Lanelle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,361

    A couple more things to remember:
    Make sure that the sod has just been cut prior to delivery. Drop the pallets of sod around on the property so there is minimal carrying of sod rolls. Start watering the sod that has been laid within 30 minutes of laying it out so it doesn't dry out in the dry Kansas air. Lay sod perpendicular (across) the slope and tuck down the ends of the rolls so they smoothly butt to the next roll. Plan on sleeping very well the night after the job is done. Good luck and looking forward to more pictures.
  5. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,898

    Easiest way I've found to cut the sod is with a serrated steak knife. Cheap is good in this case, you will wear out a couple of knives on one job.

    Like Norm said, stagger the joints. Butt all the pieces up as solidly as you can to the surrounding pieces before continuing. I think you will quickly find that 2 people on their hands and knees will be able to lay the sod while the other 2 carry from the pallet. That is if they are in rolls. I've never laid un-rolled sod, so I can't speak for the easiest route there....

    Some people wet the ground before they lay each piece of sod. IMHO, it's not necessary as long as you have someone following up behind watering by hand as you lay it. Water is VERY important. Not only does the sod need to be thoroughly wet, but the ground underneath also needs to be saturated too. It won't hurt to lightly roll or tamp the sod once it's laid to help it contact the ground.

    DO NOT leave sod on pallets for more than 24 hours!

  6. drsogr

    drsogr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,275

    Thanks for all of the tips guys! These are great, they will help me and hopefully others, keep them coming. Unfortunately this customer decided against an irrigation system. I told them that they should really have one, and he said that he understood that it needed to be well watered, but once it was established he wasn't worried about it turning brown during the summer. I heard that a starter fertilizer really wasn't necessary due to the abundance of fertilizer that they put on the grass when growing it. Maybe I am wrong? Great thinking with the pin idea though, never even thought of that. Do you use a pin that will decompose, or do you just go around and try to find them after the grass has rooted? Thanks for all the info, keep em coming!
  7. drsogr

    drsogr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,275

    We are using rolls, and we were kinda wondering how that would work out as far as carrying and laying them and such. Does anyone every use wheelbarrows? Or are the pallets close enough to where wheelbarrows really won't be necessary? I was figuring that we would just water everything at the end of the day when we are done? Is this not the case? Does the sod dry out alot quicker after it is rolled out?
  8. drsogr

    drsogr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,275

    I am having the sod delivered at 7:00 in the morning so that we can have a full day to do this. Will they cut early in the morning or the night before? Either way I think we should be ok? Will the driver place the pallets where they are needed or do we have to tell them where we want them? As this is my first job, I am not sure where exactly they need to be!
  9. Coffeecraver

    Coffeecraver LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA.
    Messages: 793

    Keep it simple nix the wheelbarrow.

    It is eaiser to have someone carry the sod to you and faster
    once you get on a roll you will understand.

    I always used Parkers starter fertilizer

    The pins are important on a slope, I just leave them.

    The lack of irrigation is a problem,water is the major factor in the survival
    of the sod.

    Heres the tip:
    A) Get a piece of water hose about 4' long
    B) Put a female end on each end
    C) Put a Y on the hose bib,attach one end of the hose you made to it
    and the other to a PVC 3/4" pipe fitting.
    D) Reduce the 3/4" to a 1/2"
    E) attach 1/2" pvc pipe to it and run it along the mulch beds and onto the sod
    F) You can connect a threaded tee or elbow where you need it and put
    the pulseing sprinkler heads on them.Shrub heads will wok in small areas.
    Generally you can run 2 pulsing heads in one zone or 3 shrub heads
    G) the hand ballvalves can be used to change zones
    Set two of them up and let them flow
  10. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,898

    I don't think I've ever used a starter fertilizer on sod, but if it's something like EnCap or PennMulch, I don't think it will hurt anything. Use something that is low on nitrogen (the first number, if you didn't know), and slightly higher on phosphorus (the middle number). EnCap has application rates, plus it has a water holding polymer. Not saying it's the greatest to use, but it's what we currently have on hand..... That being said, the most important thing for new sod is water, water, water, so if you do nothing else, WATER IT!

    As for pins, use sod staples. They are sold in boxes of 500 or 1000, IIRC. If the lot is relatively flat, you probably don't need to worry about using them. They are metal staples, just leave them in place. You'll never find them again in a month or two anyway. Don't try to use a staple "gun" for them, by all accounts they are a waste of time, energy and money. Get a 2 pound sledge or a deadblow and pound them in with that.

    You can use wheelbarrows if the pallet is far enough away to warrant it. The driver of the truck delivering the sod should be able to place them for you, wherever you want them to be placed. I've done enough sod jobs to have a feel for where they need to be, though sometimes we've had to work around the pallet for a while.:) If you aren't sure where to put the pallets, find out how many square feet are on a pallet, and then map out ahead of time where that amount of square footage will get you on the ground. Ideally you should have to carry the sod for 30 feet or less, much more than that, use the wheelbarrow. It's been a while since I've laid sod, so I could be long on that 30 feet too.....

    Unless it is overcast and raining while you are laying the sod, don't wait until the end of the day before watering. The time to start watering is when you have a full pallet on the ground. Keep watering as you lay the sod; remember it needs to be SOAKED! Yes, it drys out quickly once it's rolled out.

    I doubt they will cut it in the early morning. It will probably be cut late in the afternoon the day before, if I had to guess. You should be OK- after dark the temps drop and the humidity rises, which is good for the pallets of sod.

    When sod starts to get dry, it gets a bluish-silvery sheen to it. It's hard to describe and I doubt it would show up in pictures. I've seen it enough to know what to look for though. Watch for that to start appearing. If you see it, the sod needs water right then and there. I don't care if you are about to crap your pants 'cause you gotta go so bad, the sod comes first.:D At least that's how it is when I'm laying it!

    If possible, in the areas that you will be laying last, put the pallets in the shade as much as you can. That will help to keep them from drying out. Another trick, as I don't think there will be much shade there, is to take 3-4 rolls and un-roll them and drape them over and around the remainder of the sod on the pallet, green side up. Keep those pieces damp, and they will help the rest stay damp too.

    Depending on how far the site is from the sod farm, if the load shows up without being tarped (I've seen it before on a competitor's job), I would refuse the load. It should be standard operating procedure for the sod farm to tarp the load. Make sure you confirm this when you order it or confirm the delivery if you've never dealt with them before....

    Any more ??'s? I've only been involved with laying several acres over the last 7 years, so ask away.:)


    edit: looks like Norm posted while I was typing.:) Sorry if this is long, but I attempted to answer all of your questions!

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