Cost is a Major Factor
Instantly transforming a lawn from brown to green comes at a price. A newly sodded lawn is about $5000.00 by contract or about $1000.00 plus a whole weekend of hard labor for the DIY. Also the irrigation MUST be in excellent working condition. Repairs and upgrades to your irrigation system should be done before you start anything and can double the cost of your project. Then, 2 to 6 weeks after installation of your new sod, a good lawn spraying program should be started.
Preparing a Lawn for Sodding
The primary goal of preparing your lawn for sodding is to have soil to soil contact – where the soil side of the sod is in contact with the soil of your lawn. There is lot of flexibility on how you achieve soil to soil contact, but the best method is to strip the existing weeds and such from your lawn with a sod cutter. This not only exposes the soil for soil to soil contact but often leaves a very level surface.
When to Plant St Augustine Sod
In Pinellas County, there is no month that you cannot plant St Augustine sod. Every season has its pros and cons but rarely (if ever) will St Augustine sod fail because of when the sod was planted. The best time to plant St Augustine sod is the wet warm summer months and the least optimal time would be the cold dry winter months.
Fertilizers for a Newly Sodded Lawn
Fertilizers are for the soil not the sod. If your lawn has poor unfertile soil – as in it hasn’t been fertilized in years – then any fertilizer will help. The best fertilizer method for St Augustine sod is to apply a fertilizer to the soil before planting the sod. Consider putting about one pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet of soil.
Planting sod is as simple as placing the sod pieces edge to edge and trimming borders to the size. No special technique or tips here – just get the sod on the ground, green side up. One clue: There are about 450 pieces of sod per pallet and sodding goes quickly if you get in a quick paced rhythm of picking sod and throwing it into place – and set your mind to doing just that - 450 times!
Success of Your New Sod Requires Water
The number one determining factor for the success or failure of your newly planted St Augustine sod is water! The sod has no roots and has less area to obtain water than a well-established turf. You must compensate for this by watering every day for at least the first month. In addition to watering, the water must cover the lawn – water goes down, it does not move sideways so if you are not watering a spot on the lawn, it will die.
Start the Lawn Spraying Soon
For years now, most of the sod harvested is not insect free. Starting a “lawn spraying” service shortly after installation is recommended and often mandated by sod retailers.
Renovation vs. Sodding
Renovation is the process of carefully nursing a lawn back to health with good management – the same good management you must use for new sod. By watering and lawn spraying, you can turn a nearly dead lawn into a green lawn. However this takes time - often a year or more – and you may still need to add sod to severely damaged areas. The up side is that it costs the same as taking care of a newly sodded lawn.