So, your lawn isn’t looking the best this year and you have decided to do some updating with either sod or seed and you’re wondering what is next. In my last article I gave a broad overview of the debate between sod and seed. I told you there is basically a time and a place for each and some of the pro’s and con’s associated with them. Now that you have made the decision to go ahead with the project and have set aside some days to work on the project you are wondering what is next. There are a couple preliminary steps prior to installing your lawn and here they are.
First is to do some prep work, whether you are going with sod or seed this is mandatory for both. What I mean by prep work is basically getting the ground ready for the grass. This step consists of excavating all prior vegetation. Now it depends on the vastness of your project, if you are simply trying to fill a few bare spots in your lawn then this step may be as easy as raking the area thoroughly then putting down either the seed or sod. For the bigger projects like a whole yard it is a little more extensive as you can imagine. Like I said you’ll want to get rid of existing vegetation, sometimes this can be done by hand or raking other times a roto tiller may be needed. After this is done you will want to rake up any large clumps and dispose of them. Next is taking the rake again and going over the loose soil creating a nice grade ( rake the ground until it is relatively flat getting rid of any unwanted lumps or depressions). If you are going to use seed your prep work is now done before the next step. If you are using sod you may want to throw this next step in if you really want a professional looking lawn. Rolling the ground will pack down the soil and will then show you where you may want to add or excavate more soil. This helps make the lawn safer so there aren’t any holes or bumps for people to trip on. The prep work portion is now done and you can move onto the next step.
Next is a little research. Walk around your yard and see if you are going to need a shady or sunny grass, sandy or clay soils, and approximately how much sod or seed you’ll need. Here in Traverse City with all of the glacial till a lot of people will probably have sandy soils and need a mixture of shade and sun mix for their grass. Sod rolls are typically 2 by 4 so 8 sq ft and bags of grass seed come in all different quantities so plan accordingly. Finding sod may be somewhat difficult since the time frame to install is so small. Zimmermans landscape supply over by Greilickville delivers it, but I don’t believe that if you just went there they would have any for you to just buy you would have to order it. Luckily we just put some sod down in our lawn and got it from Home Depot. They get a new shipment in every Thursday I believe and it is $3.50 a roll. Feel free to look around for other places as well maybe someone has a better deal.
You are now ready to install. If you are going with seed the process of installing goes like this. Take handfuls of seed and start throwing seed evenly over your area, after that take a leaf rake and very gently make a cross hatched pattern over the area put some straw down and water it, pretty simple. Now if you are doing sod here is what you do. Lay your first piece down and finish the whole column in a straight line, don’t worry about small areas yet you can fill those in later. In the adjacent column the first piece should not I repeat should NOT line up with the first column. Instead start it half way down the first piece. This helps prevent people from kicking edges up and create a fuller line without any lines. You will need a steak knife or something equivalent to cut bed lines or make pieces fit in small areas; a box cutter won’t do because the blade is too short. After you finish you need to water water water! Sod needs massive amounts of water to prevent from drying out, I recommend three times a day morning a short watering in the afternoon and at night. There isn’t really a set time but turn the sprinklers on and maybe do some chores then come back after you can tell the sod is wet and turn it off. You will want to wait at least a week or two to mow sod and after establishment for seed. Don’t forget to water you lawn even after it has grown in and remember you can find all your gardening and landscaping needs at Garden Goods located on US 31 by the Great Wolf Lodge.