How to prepare your ground for sod and installation.
Lawn and grass areas add beauty, texture, color, and a perfect cool environment to your landscaping. With Mighty 109, you can rest easy that you have purchased the best sod available with a complete Mighty 109 Guarantee. To assist you in successfully installing your new sod, we have put together a helpful step-by-step guild for preparing your soil including growing tips.
Removing Your Existing Lawn:
Prior to the installation of sod, any existing lawn should be chemically killed and removed. Make sure that the existing lawn is well watered and growing vigorously. Apply an herbicide such as Roundup, or a similar product, to the entire lawn. Read and follow all label instructions. A second application about two weeks after the first will catch those areas missed and generally insure a complete kill of turf and weeds. Should the existing lawn contain bermuda grass, kikuyu grass, or other warm season grasses, chemical control will only be attained from April through mid-October. (Be aware that Roundup does not control the seed of common bermuda grass, kikuyu grass, or any other weed seed.) For information concerning the control of weed seed prior to sod installation, consult your local nurseryman for recommendations.
When the turf is dry, brown and dead, you can remove the lawn. Rent a sod cutter and cut the lawn into small sections. Just cut short, thin strips! They are easier to move, and you only need to cut out the dead sod, not a thick layer of soil. A sod cutter is about the size of a lawnmower, so you might want to arrange for help loading and unloading this piece of equipment from your vehicle. If you already have a sprinkler system, use flags to mark the sprinkler heads so you don't hit them!
Use a wheelbarrow to carry pieces away. Even when dry, the dead sod can be very heavy. Hauling live or dead sod is not a task suitable for your car or truck. You'll need to have a dumpster delivered to haul off the dead lawn you're removing. Check with local rental yards in advance to have a dumpster available.
After removing the old sod, rake over the soil to remove any debris. Water for a few days to see what grows back. You can put down another application of herbicide to kill off any re-growth.
Add Amendments and Rototill:
Rototill the soil and add amendments. First, remove all rocks and debris, and then rototill the soil to a depth of four to six inches. This will help eliminate drainage problems and prepare the soil. Spread a layer of soil amendments onto the area. Rototill the amendments into the soil until thoroughly mixed into the soil. Bermudagrass and St. Augustine grass lawns need to be rototilled about 4 inches down.
A good soil foundation is the key to the success of your new lawn. Soil types can range from sand to clay, so be sure to get the recommended soil amendments for your area. Call us if you aren't sure what to use.
What are Soil Amendments? Soil amendments are composted organic mulch and recycled wood fibers you add to the soil to prepare the dirt for your planting needs or strengthen nutrient-poor soils. For example, sandy soils need to be enhanced with organic mulch to nourish the sandy soil. Amending clay soils with organic mulch helps break up heavy clay. Soil amendments can also be added to your entire yard to raise the level of the ground a few inches. Soil amendments are available for pick up or delivery in different package sizes or in bulk quantities directly from Engine 109 The Bulk Depot.
The best kind of rototiller to rent is one with the cutting blade behind the wheels. Although it may be slightly more expensive to rent, your results will be much better. If the soil is dry and hard, wet the soil down and try rototilling once the water is absorbed. However, allow plenty of time for drying!
Installing Your Sprinkler System:
A sprinkler system is virtually a necessity for the survival of your lawn, and is required to qualify for the Mighty 109 One Year Guarantee. A good landscape irrigation and supply business is an excellent place to start for sprinkler system design information and help. Remember to design separate systems for the lawn and your garden. Using an automatic timer to control on/off times and length of watering is recommended.
Grading and Rolling:
Clear the surface where the sod will go of all debris, including rocks and root segments that rototilling may have turned up. Rake to level the area, making sure that the soil level is about 1" below the level of sidewalks, patios and driveways and tops of sprinkler heads. Using a water-filled lawn roller, roll the area in two opposite directions to minimize excessive settling that might lower the top of the lawn below the level of driveways or patios. Level any low or high spots and fine-grade the area with a rake and roll again. The soil surface must be level to have a level grass surface! Check once again for low spots and settling. Re-grade and roll the area if necessary.
If you have installed sprinkler lines, install the sprinkler heads after the final grading is done. Remember to compensate for the thickness of the sod and recommended mowing heights of your sod variety. Several days prior to delivery and installation of your new sod, the area should be watered to help the new sod establish itself. This is the best time to check your sprinkler system. To avoid dry patches and promote even growth, water coverage should overlap from sprinkler head to sprinkler head.
Measuring for Sod:
To figure square footage, determine the general shape of the lawn and try the following methods. Always round up or add about 10 percent extra to make sure you have enough for angles and cuts!
Is your lawn a square or rectangle? Multiply Length x Width = square footage
Is your lawn curved or an unusual shape? Measure the longest and widest points of the lawn and then multiply Length x Width = square footage. This will probably give you some extra square footage, especially if your lawn is an irregular shape.
Is your lawn a triangle? Multiply the base of the triangle and the height of the triangle, and then divide the result by 2. B x H / 2 = square footage.
If you have more than one area, add the totals together. Be sure to measure carefully! Better to have a few extra square feet of sod than to run out before you finish the yard!
Laying Your Sod:
Before laying any sod, apply Mighty 109 Starter Fertilizer to the entire surface to be covered with sod. This gives the new grass food to nourish it in the first few weeks. And because you need to keep the sod wet for the first 10 days, existing nutrients in the soil will be watered down. Mighty 109's slow-release starter fertilizer will provide the root system with what it needs to establish itself and continue healthy growth. The sod can then be laid directly on the fertilized soil.
To lay your sod, start from the back of your property line to front along the longest straight-line boundary. Work away from the line so you're not stepping on the fresh sod. Butt edges and ends to fit tightly together. Stagger sod slabs (like laying bricks) to offset seams. Should your area be irregular in shape, run a string between stakes in a straight line through the area and begin laying sod along this line. Make sure each piece of sod has good contact with the soil, because air pockets prevent proper rooting. If laying sod on a steep slope, use wooden pegs or sod staples to temporarily keep the sod in place.
Trim edges with your sod knife to fit around curves and leave clean, trimmed edges around sprinkler heads, driveways, etc. Avoid cutting sod into short or narrow strips because smaller pieces tend to dry out and fail to root properly.
Keeping Sod Moist:
After you have laid about 200 square feet of sod, mist it with a garden hose before you finish the whole job to prevent the new sod from drying out. Hot summer temperatures can wilt fresh sod, so it's important to keep it moist as you lay it down! After the sod is laid, use a roller to ensure good contact between the sod and the soil. Just fill the roller half-way for the final rolling. Do not use the lawn until rooting has started and the lawn is growing vigorously. Water your sod as much as necessary to keep it squishy wet for 10 days. The sod needs this water to re-establish itself with new root growth. Avoid watering at night. After 10 days of frequent watering, you can return to your normal schedule. Be sure to allow the soil to firm up to give you an opportunity to mow your lawn. A new sod lawn should be mowed two weeks after installation.