Mild, shorter days are ideal to create lush lawns. Plant sod for instant gratification. For those with time or patience, a better deal is grass seed.
Pros know that grass seeds sprout faster, retain moisture and grow deeper roots for a healthier lawn when planted in the fall. Sod establishes better in warm soil and cooler temperatures, allowing your lawn to get a jump on the season — and your neighbors.
Install sod or plant a layer of seed before your rainy season so nature can help keep grass watered while rooting.
How to Install Sod or Lay Grass Seed:
- Eliminate weeds or previous turf with a broad-spectrum herbicide at least a week prior to reseeding.
- Perform a soil test and add any necessary amendments and fertilizer.
- Turn the soil with a roto-tiller in horizontal rows and again in vertical rows.
- Rake soil level, removing roots and rocks.
- Sow seed with a broadcast spreader at the rate recommended on the bag. Sow half the seed in horizontal rows and the other half in vertical rows. Spread a thin layer of straw — not hay, which may contain weed seeds — over seeds to hold moisture. One bale of straw covers approximately 1,000 sq. ft.
- Or lay sod tightly together. Press roots into soil with a water-filled lawn roller to help absorb water from soil.
- Water seed and sod daily for 15 minutes for the first two weeks. After two weeks or when seeds sprout, water for 30 minutes twice a week to promote deeper root growth.
Do not use old grass seed as many seeds won’t sprout. Use sod within 48 hours or the grass will die.