• Nicolas Caravaggio

What to Do Before Sod Installation

Laying new sod is a faster way to create a beautiful grass landscape on your property. Your current lawn or sod may be patchy, discoloured or weed-ridden, prompting you to find a solution. One such solution is laying new sod. This article focuses on what you should know and do before your sod installation in Ottawa.


Advantages of Sodding

  • Freshly-laid sod provides an instant carpet of grass.

  • It requires only moderate watering and routine lawn care.


Disadvantages of Sodding

  • It is labour-intensive.

  • Since it is more laborious and durable it might not be as low-cost as reseeding.

How to Prepare Your Yard for Sod Installation: A Systematic Guide


Laying sod is much more than just unrolling it on your lawn and hoping for the best. You need to take some time to prepare your property first. Here is a systematic guide on what professionals usually do to prepare your yard for sod installation.


Eight steps when preparing your yard for sod installation:


Test the health of your soil.


For your grass to thrive, your soil must be healthy. You can find a soil-testing lab online or by contacting a local extension service, which will also provide instructions on collecting and submitting your soil samples.


Your soil report will inform you on:

  • how to correct the soil pH to ideal levels from 6.5–7; and

  • whether the soil is nutrient-deficient.

Eliminate the weeds from the area you wish to sod.


We recommend using a non-selective weed killer to eliminate invasive vegetation where you intend to lay the sod. Where there is old sod, you may have to perform two treatments with the weed killer, and you should do so at least two weeks before tearing up the old sod. Avoid exposing yourself to the weed killer during this process by staying off garden beds and shrubs.


Remove the old sod.


Sod removal is labour-intensive, so you may use a manual cutter only if you work in a small area. Otherwise, we recommend hiring professional sod services to help remove your old sod.


Treat the soil.


Following the soil report in step 1, apply the appropriate amounts of nutrients and perform the other recommended treatments to improve your soil’s pH, health, and structure.


Common soil additives include:

  • lime, which we recommend to increase the soil pH;

  • sulphur, which we recommend to lower the soil pH; and

  • compost, which we recommend to improve soil health and structure


Till the soil.


We recommend you till the soil a few inches deep to loosen it, so it mixes with the treatment nutrients. Loosening the soil by tilling also facilitates proper root establishment and development.

You may not need to till your soil where the soil-testing report does not recommend adding any nutrients. This premise also applies if your soil is loamy or sandy and does not require any additional nutrients.


Install an irrigation system.


Installing your irrigation system at this stage is excellent because it will help you avoid tearing your grass carpet. Installing an irrigation system at this stage also ensures that your new lawn receives adequate water as it develops.


Remove debris and level the soil.


Remove lawn debris and stones from your soil, then use a rake to level any bumps or ridges. You can do so with an ordinary iron rake, but if you are working over a large area, we advise using a landscaping rake for a more consistent result. If unremoved, debris can penetrate your sod and prevent roots from contacting the soil. Also, uneven spots will make your sod bumpy which can result in air spaces beneath the turf which are capable of killing the grass above.


Apply fertilizer.


A starter fertilizer containing phosphorus is ideal for this step. Conventional fertilizers cannot contain phosphorus, which is why you must use a starter fertilizer. Phosphorus enhances root development necessary for your grass to develop.


Tips for Sod Installation and Care


When considering installing sod, here is what you should do to guarantee successful installation and care:

  • Ensure you buy fresh sod. Fresh sod is possible only if you buy directly from the growers because they will cut it the same day you receive it. Sod deteriorates quickly in storage, so you should avoid buying it from home or garden centres.

  • Hire a professional to install your sod as you take a break from the yard preparation work. If you hire a contractor for preparation and installation work, ensure you find a reputable contractor who will do proper preparation work before laying your sod.

  • Install your sod immediately after receiving it to avoid any quality degradation.

  • Ensure that you do not overwater or underwater your sod following installation. Correct watering encourages strong root establishment. After installation, we recommend that you start with little but frequent watering. Then, as the roots begin to knit together, stop to allow them to penetrate deeper into the soil to find water. Resume watering when there is a need, this time going deeper because shallow watering will impede root development.

Find a SOD expert to work on your sod installation in Ottawa.


As you can see, laying sod is an extensive process that must be done with great care to achieve a beautiful, uniform lawn. Hiring a professional sod installation company is the best and less laborious way of having a gorgeous lawn.


Our SOD experts at SOD Boys will take care of every detail for you and ensure that your new lawn is properly taken care of afterwards. For a top-quality sod installation in Ottawa, call SOD Boys today!


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