Getting a good-looking lawn begins with some delicate steps that can mean the difference between success and failure.
When determining how much sod is needed for a lawn, the first step is to measure the yard and calculate its square footage. Landscapers suggest it's a good rule of thumb to add 5 to 10 percent for trimmings and irregular areas.
"A piece of sod is 12 inches by 24 inches," said Donnie Brown, owner of Brown Feed and Seed in Evans. "A pallet will cover 500 square feet."
After determining how much grass is needed, it's a good idea to look at the various grasses to decide which one is best. Brown said his store has centipede, St. Augustine, Bermuda and zyosia grasses.
Bermuda and centipede are native to the area, while St. Augustine and zyosia are not.
- Centipede is one of the top-growing grasses in the Southeast and is chosen because of its low maintenance and ability to resist a wide range of grass pests.
- Zyosia has a medium-textured leaf, grows in heat-resistant areas and requires mowing each 10 to 14 days.
- St. Augustine is more susceptible to lawn diseases and pests, but flourishes in high heat, sun and shade.
- Bermuda is great for high traffic areas and can withstand heat.
After choosing the type of grass, it's time to prepare to lay the sod.
Brown said a good way to prepare the area for sod is to till it first.
Most people generally don't go to the trouble to do that, but it helps to have a smooth, level yard because of the mowing that will be needed once the grass takes root and begins to grow.
"You can take a shovel or rake and level it out," Brown said.
To lay the sod, start along a straight edge, usually a sidewalk or driveway, and work out.
"Butt the pieces up together," said Brown, adding that you may have to go back after a week or so and fill in some spots.
After laying the sod, it's a good idea to use a lawn roller, which can be rented, to help force the roots to make contact with the new soil under the sod.
According to the Web site www.sodding.com, this "allows for faster 'knitting' of your sod's roots into its new soil home."
A newly-sodded lawn will need to be watered on a regular basis -- typically daily for the first week and each few days after that. Once the lawn is established, it will simply need regular maintenance. A recently-sodded yard should be mowed after about three or four weeks and fertilized at intervals throughout the growing season.
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