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13 tips to prep and set the perfect sod

Posted September 17, 2015
Updated February 26, 2016

Gardener applying turf rolls in the backyard

Everything has to start somewhere, and if you're looking to start building an attractive sodded lawn, the North Carolina Sod Producers Association (NCSPA) is here to coach you through the process. According to the NCSPA, in order to establish a healthy, attractive lawn, the homeowner should choose the best grass for the site at the right time and in a careful manner. The type of grass and the planting method selected will determine the best time of year to plant. And yet, Mr. or Mrs. lawn enthusiast, keep in mind that site and soil preparation, including fertilization, are especially important. So limber up, get hydrated, and get out there!

Site Prep

A healthy sod begins with a healthy site. Preparing the site involves removing weeds and debris, planning for drainage, and grading the site.

  1. Get rid of those weeds!
  2. Get rid of debris!
  4. Keep in mind planning for easy maintenance and appearance – avoid steep grades and overly shaded spots.
  5. Trim your site’s belly-fat by removing the topsoil (4-8 inches).
  6. Shape the site to your liking, then redistribute the topsoil, keeping in mind that a two to three percent grade is necessary for proper drainage.
  7. Hydrate! Water the area to enhance settling.
  8. Consider just hiring someone to do this for you.

Soil Prep

A healthy and attractive sod requires the right nutrients.

9. Take soil samples from the front yard and the backyard to determine soil pH and nutrient requirements.

10. Choose the best fertilizer based upon the results.

11. Rake the site to a smooth and level grade, and allow rain or irrigation to settle the soil.


Fertilizer is always an important factor in seeing the results you want in crafting the perfect sodded lawn.

12. Apply the amount of lime and fertilizer recommended for your soil by the soil testing laboratory.

13. Fertilize after planting. Apply fertilizers uniformly using a centrifugal (rotary) or drop-type spreader.

With this plan in place, the enthusiastic homeowner is ready to install sodded grass!

This story was written for our sponsor, the North Carolina Sod Producers Association -- Great quality, great price, and a commitment to community.

This promotion is supported in part by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.


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