Cooperative Extension Fact Sheet FS104 | July 2000
Lawns can enhance urban/suburban environments by stabilizing soil (dust and mud), reducing storm water runoff, reducing rodents and other household pests, enhancing security/safety (improved sightlines), and dissipating heat. An attractive lawn also provides an ideal setting for your home, landscape, and recreation. Lawns may be successfully established by seeding, sodding, sprigging, or plugging. Sodding is the quickest and most efficient method when time and appearance are major considerations.
Sod is fully mature lawn grass grown on highly specialized farms. Sod growers give constant and careful attention to fertilizing, mowing, watering, and weed and other pest control to provide an attractive and dense carpet of grass. When mature, the sod can be cut to various widths and lengths. Immediately after cutting, the strips are folded or rolled and transported to the site for placement.
When deciding to establish a new lawn or renovate an old one, consider the advantages of sod:
High-quality sod contains a blend or mixture of desirable lawn grasses that adapted to New Jersey's climate is available. Kentucky bluegrass is the most popular and is used extensively in the production of sod. Numerous Kentucky bluegrass varieties are available for sod production. Additionally, turf-type varieties of tall fescue and the fine fescues are becoming more widely used. See RCE publication FS 738 New Jersey Seed Standards for Sod Certification for a listing of suggested use of grass species and varieties for New Jersey. Select a blend containing two or more Kentucky bluegrass varieties for a wider range of adaptability.
Kentucky bluegrasses are best adapted to open sunny areas. In a shade situation, avoid using a sod containing only Kentucky bluegrasses if at all possible. A sod including fine fescues is better adapted to shady lawns. Among the Kentucky bluegrass varieties, Eclipse, Glade, Able I, America, Bristol, Ram I, 1757, Touchdown, or A-34 are the best choices for shade.
Sod containing improved turf-type tall fescues, in combination with Kentucky Bluegrass, is available. Its use should be considered for lower maintenance lawns, heavily trafficked areas, and the sandier soil of Southern New Jersey.
When selecting sod, be sure it is of high quality and grown on a well-managed sod farm. To obtain high-quality sod:
Although sodding can provide a new lawn in a matter of hours, proper preparation of the soil before placement is essential for turf survival. Sod placed on existing lawns, compact infertile soils, or carelessly prepared areas will not produce satisfactory results. To prepare the soil:
Placing sod is a simple procedure, but it requires adhering to a few steps:
A high-quality sod properly placed will immediately impart a natural appearance of a well-groomed mature lawn. Growth of both leaf blades and roots will begin at once. Usually within a week, the roots will show signs of knitting to the soil. Knitting may be slower at temperatures above 85°F.
To maintain its attractive appearance, your lawn will require proper care. Devote attention to:
(Adapted from "Steps to an Instant Lawn" compliled originally by the Cultivated Sod Association of New Jersey, Inc.).
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