With dreams of a lush green lawn, the thought of waiting for grass to grow from seed may feel like it’s going to take forever. You might think you won’t get to enjoy your yard at all for most of the growing season. If you’re considering sod for the gratification of an instant lawn, here’s what you need to know about preparing for sod installation in Naperville, IL.
Proper site preparation is the most important step in ensuring a thick green carpet of well-established grass. You’ll need to prepare your landscape so that it is resistant to weeds, pests, and disease. Buying sod means you are buying mature and healthy grass, but sod needs a few special considerations in order to flourish. In the long run, the prep work will mean less lawn maintenance (less weeding and pest control), so take your time with this critical step.
1. Site preparation: grading and leveling
The area where you will lay sod needs to be fairly level, and you’ll have good drainage away from your home or other structures. Otherwise, you’re going to be tearing it up again later to deal with drainage issues. Even if your land looks level, have a professional check the drainage to save a lot of headaches later on! Rough grading the area involves heavy equipment, but it will yield a usable and attractive lawn without any wet spots, steep slopes, drainage issues, or areas of soil movement.
The area you want to sod must be cleared of any stones or debris that are larger than 2-3” in diameter. Large stones will create a painful and bumpy Princess and the Pea scenario underfoot!
Measure the area to receive sod. Knowing the square footage of the area to receive sod will help you estimate the amount of sod needed, as well as the amount of fertilizer or other soil amendments required. To measure square footage, multiply the length by the width, and add about 5% to the total square footage for irregular shapes.
3. Soil preparation and amendment
Till the soil to 2” or more before adding topsoil or soil amendments.
Add enough topsoil to achieve a 4-6” depth, which will help establish a deep root system.
Turf grasses will thrive best in well-aerated soil that is nutrient rich and slightly acidic (with a pH between 6 and 7.5). The only way to determine your soil’s pH is to test it. Depending on the soil’s pH, you may need to amend the soil with lime or gypsum to correct the pH and prepare the soil to accept the sod.
Apply a light application of starter fertilizer to the area. A starter fertilizer high in phosphate will encourage root growth. Avoid over-fertilizing, as this could cause fertilizer burn on the roots.
Lightly tamp the added topsoil to settle it and create a smooth surface for sod.
Ideally, sod will be delivered within 24 hours of being cut, and it will be laid on the day of delivery.
You will still need to wait a little while before your newly sodded lawn can handle foot traffic, but the payoff of an instant lush green lawn is huge! Contact our lawn installation experts to discuss how a sod lawn will beautify your home and provide enjoyment without the frustration of waiting for a seeded lawn to emerge!