Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
Although most grasses such as Kentucky Bluegrass Sod are grown from seed, laying a sod allows you to create a beautiful lawn in a short period of time. But whether you choose to grow the cool-season grass from seed have your sod professionally installed, it is important to ensure that the area is properly prepared and ready before the new sod arrives.
To create a lawn with Kentucky bluegrass sod you will need to :
- Remove existing grass.
- Add 4 inches of topsoil.
- Tighten the topsoil.
- Install the sod.
- Thoroughly water the new sod.
Following the steps listed above is very important for the successful installation of a new Kentucky bluegrass sod lawn. Keep reading for more details on how to perform each step perfectly.
Start by completely removing existing grass on the lawn before placing fresh sod. Make sure you thoroughly prepare the site before the batch of Kentucky Blue Grass Sod arrives, otherwise it will quickly start wilting. Tools you will need include hand trowel, rake, rototiller, roller, and tape measure. Bonus points if you have access to a soil test kit.
Preparing the Site
This entirely depends on the site’s situation. If the site has existing lawn grass, then it is important to remove the grass before installing the new sod. This can be done with a machine (faster) or by hand (slower). Use a tiller to remove at least 10 to 15 cm of the soil. Make sure to remove any debris such as clumps of clay and larger stones.
If weeds have grown inside chunks of clay, they must be removed.
You will need to replace the removed soil with the right amount of good quality soil. Depending on your site, you might have to order a minimum of 4 inches of new top oil. Use a roller to spread, level, and pack the soil to a depth of 3 to 4 inches. You can go deeper but you’ll have to follow the right prep guidelines for best results.
Make sure that the topsoil grade is at least 1 inch below curbs, walks, driveways and patios to allow for ease of mowing. It is important to have the topsoil installed before the sod arrives.
Using a Light Roller
A light roller can be used to tighten the topsoil and identify any problem areas such as low spots. These areas should be leveled and rolled again if needed.
Installing Kentucky Bluegrass Sod
Make sure the sod arrives after all the prepping is done.
Use a string line to unroll the sod. Install the sod in a brickwork fashion. Any seams between the sods will disappear after a few weeks once the sod has rooted firmly with the ground. This is only possible if the sod pieces snugly fit with each other, with the edges touching each other tightly. Be careful not to overlap the edges. If they are, pull them apart to prevent any overlapping. Use a sharp knife to trim the sod as needed.
Don’t walk around the sod during installation, especially when you’re watering the suite. Don’t needlessly water the topsoil before installing the sod, because it will leave wet mud which will overcomplicate the sod installation process.
What About Rainy or Wet Conditions?
If the topsoil has become wet due to rain, it will result in indentations and air pockets that will create a bumpy lawn. Working in such conditions is dangerous, so make sure to use wide plans to distribute your weight as you work in the wet conditions. Once the sod has been installed properly, it is not necessary to use a roller even if it’s raining.
Watering Bluegrass Sod
It is important to water your new sod. You will need proper watering equipment to properly nourish the sod. Start watering the sod at least half an hour after you’ve completed the area. It is important to soak the sod thoroughly – from the grass all the way to topsoil, at depth of at least 2 inches.
It is okay to roll back some of the sod to check if the soil has become properly moistened. Make sure the water levels are adequate, not too much or too less. If the sod didn’t receive enough water, it will start shrinking and suffer damage.
Sprinklers are a great way to spread water to all areas of the sod.
If your lawn is particularly large, you can start watering the completed sections as soon as possible. You do not have to wait until all of the lawn is installed with sod.
Using Your New Sod
The first 14 days after installation are crucial. You will have to avoid heavy traffic around the area. Don’t use heavy equipment during this time frame. This is to allow the sod to properly integrate with the soil and ensure the surface remains as flat as possible. Keep foot traffic to a bare minimum and only walk around to move the sprinklers.
Since the soil underneath the sod is wet, any excess weight can compress the soil and create holes, low spots, and tears. For obvious reasons, this will limit growth.
After you have waited 14 days and the lawn is fully established, you can use the lawn as you see fit. Both sod and soil will tolerate heavy equipment and foot traffic.
You can start applying root building fertilizer 14 days after installation once your sod is properly rooted. It is important for the lawn to be dry before applying any fertilizer otherwise the grass blades will burn.
You can begin mowing the sod once it is established and firmly rooted with the lawn. You can see this for yourself by gently the sod. If it has been firmly established, it will not easily give away.
When mowing, it is important to not remove more than 1/3rd of the grass blade. 3 inches of Kentucky Blue Grass is a good enough height. During the mowing process, make sure the blades are as sharp as possible to minimize damage to the grass. Weaker blades might cause wear and tear to the grass, preventing it from growing later on.
Maintaining Kentucky Blue Grass Sod
Maintenance depends on weather conditions. In general, you will need to water your grass and apply fertilizer. If you use a granular variety, make sure to water the sod immediately after applying to speed up the rate of absorption.
Always use a fungicide to prevent the fungus from affecting your bluegrass sod. You can forego this step entirely if you haven’t had problems with winter weeds in the past. Make sure to apply pre-emergent herbicide to prevent the growth of fungi during fall.