The biggest difference in sod and seed is time. With sod you are buying time as the sod will be fully functional in 30 days or less. With proper care and maintenance the root should be established. If you are in search of immediate results sod is your best choice. Many homeowners forgo the effort, water and time needed to sprout a grass lawn from seed.
Sod is grown on specialist farms. It is usually grown locally to avoid long transport and drying out and heat buildup of the product. The farms that produce this grass may have many varieties of grass grown in one location to best suit the consumer’s use and preference of appearance. It is usually harvested 10 to 18 months after planting, depending on the growing climate. On the farm it undergoes fertilization, frequent watering, frequent mowing and subsequent vacuuming to remove the clippings. It is harvested using specialized equipment, precision cut to standardized sizes. Sod is typically harvested in small square slabs, rolled rectangles, or large 4-foot-wide (1.2 m) rolls. Sod can be used to repair a small area of lawn that has died. Seeds may be blown about by the wind, eaten by birds, or fail because of drought. It takes some weeks to form a visually appealing lawn and further time before it is robust enough for use.
However, Sod is prohibitively more expensive and requires considerably more water for its establishment. Erosion after seeding may be a concern in some areas near water.Sod reduces erosion by stabilizing the soil in these types of areas.
Drainage problems need to be addressed before installing sod. If excess water does not drain rapidly through the soil, sod will have a poor root system and will grow weak. In some instances you may need to consider installing a drainage system to move excess water from problem areas in your yard to areas where the water will not cause a problem.
Make sure that the sod pieces are not dried out or wilted. Also be sure that the pieces are at least 1 inch thick. If the sod is not freshly cut and healthy do not accept it. Do not leave the sod stacked in piles. If you cannot install it immediately lay the pieces out in a shady location. For best results the sod should be laid as soon after delivery as possible, preferably no more than 36 hours after it is cut.
The soil should be flat and moderately moist. If needed, water the soil ahead of time very lightly. This improves the ability of the sod to survive and knit in faster. Lay the sod strips on the prepared soil tightly together, edge to edge, with staggered joints like bricks in a wall. Fill cracks with soil if necessary. Immediately soak the newly laid sod thoroughly.As soon as it is dry enough to walk on, lightly roll or tamp the sod to give a good contact with the soil beneath. This is necessary to remove any air pockets that will interfere with proper rooting. Correct watering after installing the sod is critical to its survival. The idea is to keep the soil under the sod moist as well as the soil that comes with each sod piece. This does not mean constantly wet and soggy. Usually 1 inch of water every 2 to 3 days applied in the early part of the day will be sufficient to keep the soil moist. Normally a newly installed sod lawn will probably require mowing 4 to 7 days after it is installed. Avoid over-mowing; consider a length of approximately 2 inches for the lawn.
The most common types of sod are listed below:
Bermuda provides a deep green turf and handles foot-traffic well. Bermuda requires full sun and does not tolerate shade. For best results seed between April 15- Aug. 15 and sod May 1-Sept. 15
Centipedeis a good choice fora low-maintenance grass. It’s especially good for larger lawns as it requires less frequent mowing.
Zoysia is known as the cadillac of lawn grasses. The turf is a deep vibrant green and very dense. Zoysia needs sun and will thin out considerably near the root systems of large trees. For best results sod between May 1- Sept 1.de tolerant of the warm season grasses. For best results seed between April 15- July 15 and sod May 1- Sept. 1.
St. Augustine will grow in sun however shade tolerance is good. For best results sod between May 1- Sept 1.
Bahia is a warm season grass, resistant to drought, disease and insect attacks. Will survive in a variety of soils from sandy to clay and other infertile, dry soils.Requires some maintenance. The grass will thin out over time and has a low tolerance to many weed control herbicides. It does well in lawns and along highways, and is best used in sunny areas in warm humid regions.