Intro to Sod
If you need a lawn fast, then sod is the way to do it. Typically, you can purchase sod from local growers in sheets or rolls. Installing it simply means laying it out over bare earth, then caring for it properly until the root system establishes itself. Landscapers and DIYers alike use sod to instantly create a lush carpet because even though it can cost more than grass seed, it’s a lot less maintenance, it looks nicer, and it fills in bare spots fast whereas grass seed can take weeks or months to sprout and fill in bare earth.
If you want to learn more, keep reading. There’s a lot to know—such as where to purchase it and the sizes that it comes in. You’ll also need to learn how to care for sod, which is a deceptively simple process. The pros and cons of sod versus grass seed are important, too, because each has their own applications. Finally, before you purchase sod, you’ll also be able to look at some of the most popular varieties available to help you choose a species that suits not only your region’s climate, but also the unique needs of the lawn itself. Here, you will find all of the above and more.
What is Sod?
Sod is a pretty simple concept: It’s basically just grass along with the root structure and soil underneath the grass. If you look at a cross section of earth, sod is the top layer. For landscaping purposes, sod always refers to grass and not other types of plants. It’s quite useful to landscapers because it allows you to instantly install a carpet of green, growing grass without having to wait for seed to sprout.
Where to Buy Sod?
Sod is often available through landscaping companies, or even more commonly, through turf and sod farms. Like other types of farms producing agricultural products, these farms specialize in producing different types of turf. Usually, sod growers will plant grass seed, and then 10 to 18 months later, the sod Is ready for harvest and installation as someone’s lawn.
Most of the time, sod is purchased locally. There are a couple of reasons for this. Number one, this way you’ll be certain to purchase a variety well-suited to your region’s climate. The other reason why sod is typically a local product is because it should be installed as quickly as possible after it has been harvested to minimize stress on the grass. That and it is less expensive to ship large quantities of sod locally rather than over long distances.
What Sizes Does Sod Come In?
When purchasing turf, it can come in several different ways.
- Square slabs are common. These are almost like large carpet tiles, but turf instead of carpet.
- Rolled rectangles are another form, one that is easy to install because you simply place the roll and unroll it.
- It can also be purchased in long rolls of a certain width, with four feet being a common width. These make it easy to cover large surfaces quickly with fewer seams.
As you can see, sod is a lot like installing carpet, except using pre-grown turf instead of carpet—and you’ll install it outdoors instead of inside.
Different Varieties of Sod
Sod comes in lots of different varieties. Which variety should you choose? That depends on your needs and your climate. Below, you can learn a little more about some of the most popular types of sod available.
- Bermuda Grass: These are popular choices for the southeastern part of the United States as they are ideally suited for that climate. Bermuda grass tends to be a dark green or blue-green, and it’s resistant to both drought conditions and foot traffic.
- Bella Bluegrass: If you want to reduce mowing, this one is considered a dwarf grass, which means you won’t have to mow it as often to keep it at the proper height. It’s also good in areas where water conservation is important because it is extremely drought tolerant. It’s cold hardy, too, which makes it ideal for northern growing regions.
- St. Augustine: This one is well suited to the hot climates found in the southern half of the United States—and it is a grass variety that is typically sold as sod only. If you need sod for shade, this one is a good option.
- Centipede Grass: Centipede grass is usually planted in Florida and other southern regions. It features a wide blade, and it is considered a low-maintenance option. It also holds its color long into the fall, and tends to turn green faster in the spring compared to other types of grass.
- Tall Fescue: This is a cool-season grass well suited to northern climates. It wears well, and it tolerates hot summers and droughts, too. What’s more, it works in shady areas if there are shaded spots that other grass varieties can’t handle.
- Zoysia: Zoysia is a great all-arounder. It is tolerant of traffic, drought, humidity, heat and shade. It’s also a lush grass, notable for producing a thick, green carpet. It performs well in most of the United States, too, barring extreme northern climates.
These are among the most popular choices, but there are lots of other varieties available, too. Check local sod producers to see what they grow, and you’ll find a selection ideally suited to your region.