Planting Grass Sod in Florida

Planting Grass Sod in Florida

Lawns can be grown by planting grass sod. If planting a new lawn or renovating an existing one, it is important to prepare the area properly before planting grass. This will help the grass lawn become established quicker. Grass planting done correctly will give a good foundation, for the grass sod to establish a root system that will take hold. Maintaining a newly planted lawn after placement is needed for it to grow properly and stay healthy.

Preparation for Planting Grass Sod

When planting sod grass, grading is beneficial for a proper level surface. This is helpful in making sure new sod will grow to its full potential, giving you the results you want to see. Proper grading also assures good drainage after the lawn is established, to avoid any flooding that can occur during heavy rainfall.

Before planting grass remove all debris such as rocks, dead grass, and weeds. If it is a new home then make sure all construction debris is removed before you begin to install your new lawn.

For existing homes that need small renovation, a shovel and rake are all you need to remove the area needed to be done. For larger areas, a machine such as a “Sod Remover” can be helpful in clearing and preparing a new lawn. Remember, these machines can be heavy and need to be transported from the rental center to your home and back. I recommend using a pickup truck. Always have someone help with the lifting, to be safe.

Another way to prepare before planting grass sod is to use a” Grass Killer”. This chemical will eliminate all existing grass and weeds. You will still have to remove rocks and dead grass and weeds but will save you a lot of digging. Just rake out the dead material and rocks and you’re done and ready to go! Remember, All grass and weed killers are mostly” Non-Selective Herbicides”. This means they will kill everything. Avoid any Over Spraying and always follow the directions on the label.

Proper Care After Planting Sod Grass 

After planting sod grass make sure it is watered right away for the root system to start to take hold. Water regularly during the first 30 days, Then you can continue to water on your scheduled watering days. Since water restrictions need to be followed, it is recommended to contact your local county extension service for regulations on newly planted turf.

Fertilize newly planted sod one week after installation. It is recommended to apply a slow-release granular fertilizer to avoid any damage to turf.  Follow the directions on the label. Water in fertilizer as soon as possible. Mow new turf after it takes hold and is growing, reaching the maximum height required. Mow lawn at a higher level to avoid damage. Do Not apply Weed Control until 30 days after planting grass.

Final Thoughts

A healthy beautiful lawn always starts with a good foundation. This will ensure your grass will be grown to its full potential. Planting grass sod correctly will help in having a lush green and healthy lawn you can be proud of.

In this video, UF/IFAS Turf Specialist Dr. Laurie Trenholm demonstrates How to Plant St Augustine Grass Sod.

Keep on Growing!


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