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Texas Turfgrass Installation -- Planning, Preparation, and Installation


Planning and preparation are essential for successful turfgrass sod installation.  In planning for your turfgrass project, itʼs essential that you use a grass variety that is adapted for your location and the intended application.  You should also make sure that the grass type you select is appropriate for the site; i.e., sun or shade, type of soil, amount of foot traffic, and the level of care youʼll be able to provide.

Sod is usually sold by the square foot.  Carefully measure your project area and determine the number of square feet of turfgrass youʼll need.  Sod is usually delivered on pallets that contain 450 square feet (or 50 square yards) of turfgrass.  There is almost always some waste in installation due to the need to cut sod sections to fit in irregular areas so order additional sod based on the recommendations of your supplier or landscaper.

You must prepare the site properly for your sod installation project to have a good chance of success.  The best time to install sod is when the turfgrass is growing so the sod will root into the ground and between sod sections as quickly as possible.  You should make sure that you buy certified sod, if possible, so you can be sure youʼre getting what you think youʼre getting.

Sod is perishable, so before arranging delivery, you must have prepared the project area.  Test the soll and use the results to add fertilizer and amend the soil pH if necessary.  If weeds are a problem, use an herbicide to control the weeds well before your sod installation date.  Prepare the soil so that it is not compacted, and grade the site so that there are no depressions or pockets on the surface to collect excess water.  As a final step, you should water the project area to settle the soil.

When laying sod, the soil surface should be free of footprints, rocks, sticks, and depressions.  Itʼs best to lay the sod in a straight line along the longest axis of the project area.  You should lay the sod sections on either side of the line with the ends staggered in a brick-laying pattern.  If installing on a slope, you may need to stake the sod sections to prevent slippage down the slope.  Use a small trowel to remove any depressions in the soil and butt the sod sections tightly together.

After planting the sod, you should roll it with a weighted roller.  Keep the sod moist until it is well-rooted and water frequently, especially during the first few weeks after installation.  Allow the turf grass to grow a third to a half higher than the desired mowing height before moving for the first time.  Keep your mower blades sharp because dull blades will damage the turf.

For more information please refer to the following publications provided by Texas AgriLIFE Extension -- How to Select and Install Sod, Turfgrass Selection for Texas, and Turfgrass Establishment for Texas.


TurfGrass Producers of Texas
PO Box 1571
Bay City TX  77404-1571
Phone:  979-533-9750

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