Preparing the Soil

Equipment Needed

pitchfork, shovel, garden rake, rototiller, fertilizer spreader, lawn roller, garden hose, sprinkler, sharp knife or spade

Materials Needed

topsoil, lime, fertilizer, peat moss, Saratoga Sod, water

TOPSOIL: For best results, make sure there is a cover of at least 3-5 inches of good topsoil. Add topsoil where necessary.

PEAT - MOSS/COMPOST: For sandy, light or paddy soils, apply either 1 inch of compost material or 2-4 bales of peat-moss per 1,000 sq. ft and work into the top couple inches of soil. Either practice will increase the nutrient level and enhance the water holding capacity of the soil.

LIME: Turfgrass usually grows best in slightly acid soils (pH of 6.5-7.0). Test a sample of your soil at a local garden center or county Cooperative Extension office, and follow the recommendations given for the lime application.

FERTILIZER: To give the sod a quick start and provide an even richer green color, incorporate a complete lawn fertilizer into the soil before sod installation (18-24-12 or a similar 1-2-1 ratio) and spread at 5 pounds per 1000 square feet.

TILLING: Rototill or spade in recommended materials to a depth of about 3-5 inches. A thorough mixing of all materials will ensure deep root growth.

GRADING: Rough grade to remove stones, roots, and debris and to provide a slope away from foundations to eliminate drainage problems. Fine grade, using a wood rake or equivalent.

WATERING: Where the prepared ground is exceptionally dry, moisten prior to sodding, but do not saturate the soil so it cannot be walked on without making imprints or disturbing final grading.


Starting: Locate a straight line, such as a curb or driveway, or run a taut string up the middle of the area to be sodded. Work along the line to establish the first row.

Laying the Sod: Lay the sod in brickwork fashion, smoothing the soil in advance of sod laying. Make sure the joints are butted together snugly without overlapping. If laying sod on slopes, lay the slabs perpendicular to the direction of the slope. Use sod staples to secure the sod on steep slopes if necessary.

Shaping: Use a sharp knife or spade for shaping the non-rectangular edges and small areas such as flower bed, hedges, etc.

Rolling: Roll installed sod with a roller one-third filled with water. This will smooth out small bumps and ensure good contact with the soil. Avoid a heavy roller which will compact the site.

Watering: Completely saturate the sodded area when finished. Be sure to soak the entire sod area at the end of each day's work!

The Wrong Way to Lay Sod
Wrong layout

If sod is pushed together too tightly, edges may not knit to the ground. If too much space is left between sod pieces, weeds will come through from the soil beneath.



The Right Way to Lay Sod
right layout

Butt one piece of sod against the next. Fit every piece tightly. No overlapping and no gaps.

© 2017 - Saratoga Sod Farm
"The Growing Preference"
1670 Route 4 · Stillwater, NY 12170
Phone: 518.664.5038 · Fax: 518.664.3559
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Office Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00AM-4:00 PM, CLOSED Saturday & Sunday
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