First Sod Installation Questions

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by recycledsole, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. recycledsole

    recycledsole LawnSite Gold Member
    from MD
    Messages: 3,274

    Hey guys,
    First of thanks.

    Ok, i have a customer who wants sod installed. Ill attatch a picture of the area where they need the sod. It is a mix of crappy grass and bare earth.

    Do I have to strip all the grass off and till up the soil? Can i just put it on the crappy lawn? I have a manual sod stripper - which has wheelbarrow handles and a place to kick, i have a string trimmer, i have a tiller.

    Pricing, i can get sod for $.29/sq ft, with $150 delivery fee (they said), or pick it up myself. How much should i expcet to charge for labor per sq / ft (including removal & installation- everything)?

    Can i just lay the sod down, or do i have to cut it up and place it in a checkerboard like pattern?

    Once its down, how often does it need to be watered?

    is that slope ok to install sod on?

    thank you so much!
    p.s. i searched for this, but found these questions unaswered. i will research sod installation on my own also. any help is greatly appreciated!

  2. zackvbra

    zackvbra LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    i cant tell you what you should charge, because I dont know how it is in your area. What I can tell you is:
    1) Now is not the best time to be laying sod.
    2) Till the soil really good, to where you get all of the old grass cut up really good. I have a tractor with harrow discs I use for this application.
    3) Level the ground as good as you can get it. I use a piece of chainlink fence with a steel beam on the back of it to keep weight on it, and I drag it around the lawn with my mower and then I use garden rakes and shovels and my feet to level it and pack it down
    4) How you want the sod layed out is up to how much the client wants to spend on sod. You can put it down like solid checkerboard or you can leave checkered board spaces between the pieces of sod, it will just take a while for the grass to grow together, especially since your trying to do this in the middle of fall.
    5) Slope doesnt matter, you can put sod on a slope.
    6) It needs to be watered for 2-3 weeks quite heavily, but not drowned.

    Hope this helps you out!
  3. Sam's Mowing

    Sam's Mowing LawnSite Member
    Messages: 20

    I've never installed sod before so I can't really hp but post some pictures after you finish.
  4. GreenI.A.

    GreenI.A. LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,131

    As far as being to late. My sod farm up here is still guaranteeing sod being harvested right now. We have about 6k going down in two weeks. This does depend on the type of grasses though. We will be using a blue rye mix, I would assume you will also be using a cool season blend.
  5. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    Sod installation can turn into a nightmare quickly...basically a finger pointing game of who is at fault if the sod fails. The sod farm says it was healthy and cut propertly, the landscaper says it was installed properly in a timely manner and the homeoner says it was watered properly. Only one's dead!!!!

    In my experience, sod looks great at first but can decline pretty quickly over time if not cared for properly. It gets a lot of attention at the sod farm so it's really lush and dense. Then it's put in a not so favorable environment and it definitely notices and declines over time, sometimes rather quickly. If people really want sod, I tell them to call the sod farm and have them install it...not all of them install, but many do.
  6. recycledsole

    recycledsole LawnSite Gold Member
    from MD
    Messages: 3,274

    thanks for everyones help.
    i will research and hopefully get some more tips.
    thank you
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    One of the great reasons for installing cool seasonsod, just before the ground freezes is that, as long as it is watered in adequately at the time of installation, the chances are close to a 100% success rate... no need to over water and no worry about under watering...
    In MD where the OP is from,,, are we talking about cool season or warm season sods???
  8. greenstar lawn

    greenstar lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 648

    Also after laying sod I like to go over it with a roller. Also make sure they take care of it after its I installed. Water, feed, and proper cut height
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. recycledsole

    recycledsole LawnSite Gold Member
    from MD
    Messages: 3,274

    yea its cool season, tall fescue sod.

    thank you!
  10. agrostis

    agrostis LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,545

    From that picture, it look's like there are some tree/shade issue's. You have to have at least 4 hour's of direct sunlight a day during the growing season for tall fescue, and that is at a minimum, 6 hour's is better. The cedar on the left side of the house need's to go, IMO. The limb's hanging over the step's need to be cut back, big time. You have to fix the sunlight problem's first, it will make all the difference in success or failure. Is that a "for sale" sign by the front walk ? People in that situation are more likely to approve major change's.

    The pricing seem's about normal, maybe five cent's more a sq. ft. than i pay, shop around a little more. You need to know exactly how many sq. ft. of sod you need. A pallet of slab's is 514 sq. ft. If you need more than 2 pallet's, have it delivered. Charge triple or quadruple the price of the sod, that's hard, dirty work, don't be afraid to charge for it.

    I would just spray the old grass out with roundup and rake. Tilling is better but a lot more work. If you do till, charge seperately for it. Lose that manual sod cutter, those thing's are only good for triming around edge's and small patch job's.

    Put down a granular starter fertilizer at 1 Lb. of N per 1000 sq. ft. before you sod. Do not put the sod down in a checkerboard pattern, most fescue's don't creep. Lay the sod down in a brickwork like pattern, alway's stagger the edge's.
    At this time of year, just make sure that the sod and the ground underneath is moist. In the spring, water heavily for 2 week's then gradually cut back. Established fescue need's 1/4 to 1/2 inch of water per week, in your shady spot, 1/4 is probably all you need. Your fine to sod on slope's, but i would turn the sod long-way's to help keep it from washing out since it's not going to put down roots until next spring. I would also put sand on the edge's and the seam's to help it keep from drying out.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2012

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