How To Lay Sod in Four Simple Steps

Grass Pad Bluegrass Sod
In the age of instant gratification, turf grass sod provides the “instant lawn.” Sod is to grass seed what pop tarts are to breakfast. Homeowners who want to have instant green grass by tomorrow should consider bluegrass or fescue sod instead of grass seed.

On established homes, sod is an excellent choice for certain problem areas. Small patches around the driveway or patio that have been damaged over the winter months are easily repaired with sod. Garden patches or flower beds that are being replaced or redesigned will be immediately transformed into lawn. In areas where washouts and erosion are a problem, sod is a natural choice.

Around the house, in front of gutter downspouts or on slopes where grass seed will be washed away, sod is the problem solver. Dog runs, play grounds, tire tracks, gasoline or fertilizer burns, all are common problems for which sod is the answer.

How to Install Sod: GREEN SIDE UP!
  1. Grading: Sod should be installed on smooth, even ground. The ground should be bare, firm and free of rocks. Once the soil is smooth and level, apply gypsum to the bare soil (40 lbs per 1,000 sqft). 
  2. Installing: The rolls should be placed tightly together with the seams staggered. The outermost edges of the sod should not be exposed, cover them with soil or place them at ground level. Anchor with sod staples on steep slopes. 
  3. Fertilizing: Your new sod must be fertilized at installation. In March - June apply PREVENT! crabgrass pre-emergent with fertilizer. Reapply in 4 weeks. This will suppress crabgrass and foxtail in the seams and cracks between the rolls. In July - February apply LOVELAND GOLF COURSE STARTER fertilizer or RENOVATOR. Re-apply 4 weeks later. 
  4. Watering Fresh Sod: The most important step in any successful sod job. Fresh sod must be watered at once and kept wet for two to three weeks. Homeowners should plan to water sod at least twice a day for one hour at a setting during the hottest part of the day. Sod should be sloppy wet after installation and continually when temperatures are above 80° the first two weeks. 
  5. How much water is enough? Use the wet beach towel test. Place a wet beach towel on your driveway and see how fast it dries out. On hot windy days, the beach towel and the sod can dry out in hours. The beach towel will not die, the sod will. 
  6. Mowing: After installation the grass blades will be horizontal. With proper watering, in 10 to 14 days, your sod will begin to stand up. Mow sod as often as needed with a sharp blade and your mower on the highest setting. Water sod immediately after mowing. 

A few more tips:
Sod is guaranteed to die, unless you water for the 1st hour.
In warm spring weather, sod begins to heat up in the roll as soon as it is cut. The better the sod, the sooner it begins to heat up. Sod that cannot be installed promptly should be unrolled in the shade and watered until the project is ready to start.

How big is a roll of sod?
  • 1 roll of Blue Wave bluegrass or Heat Wave fescue sod is apprx. 9 square ft. 
  • 1 roll of sod weighs apprx. 25 lbs. We can usually fit about 10 in an average trunk 
  • 1 pallet of Blue Wave sod or Heat Wave sod has 50-56 rolls 
  • 1 pad of zoysia sod is apprx. 3 square feet 1.5' wide x 2' long 
  • 1 pallet of zoysia sod has aprx 90 pads 
Sod delivery is available, contact your nearest Grass Pad location for more information.
How much sod do I need?

Control Bagworms in Junipers Now!

Got Bagworms?  

You’ve seen them hanging from evergreens and spruce trees every summer. With our mild temperatures last winter you can expect record numbers. Left unchecked bagworm populations will grow to damaging levels very quickly. One bagworm can produce over 1,000 baby bagworms.

Bagworm eggs overwinter on the leaves and needles of a host plant and hatch in late spring to early summer. The best time to control bagworms is immediately after hatch, while bagworms are still small. Liquid controls will penetrate their cocoon bags more effectively when they are young. During the egg hatch until the bagworm is about the size of a pencil eraser are the most effective times to kill bagworms with a liquid application using one of Grass Pad's Critter Gitters such as Cyonara or Bifen.

Do it now! Spray liquid Critter Gitter while temperatures are still mild, and the bagworms are small for best control. Junipers and Spruce are bagworm magnets, but bagworms will feed on just about any plant. To apply, mix Grass Pad Critter Gitter according to label specifications, then saturate the leaves and needles thoroughly spraying the ground under trees and bushes is also recommended. Liquid Critter Gitter is also useful for control of fleas, ticks, ants, cricket and chiggers in the lawn.

Kansas City is in Horticultural Drought

Agricultural droughts that impact the 3.4 billion-dollar Kansas wheat harvest will gain national media coverage globally, but when we have a drought that effects our lawns and landscapes, it can frequently be overlooked until we realize it is impacting our own homes. Right now, in Kansas City, we are on the verge of seeing damage to lawns and recently planted landscapes that have not occurred in decades according to Jerry Moore of the Grass Pad in Olathe Kansas. “I went into this business 40 plus years ago and had never seen lawns this brown in May”. “Grass looks like it normally does in August and it is still May.” According to the latest data from Eric Luebehusen, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture most of Kansas continues to be in moderate to severe drought with extreme drought in southwest Kansas.

When grass turns brown like this, it allows sunlight to get to the soil and dry it out even faster. The sun will cause our weed preventers to fail, and crabgrass and foxtail will appear earlier this year than usual. When lawns have crabgrass and foxtail epidemics that last more than the typical month of August the desirable grasses are crowded out, and the fall frost will leave the yard bare and susceptible to soil erosion over the winter.

Trees and shrubs planted in the last 3 to 5 years are at risk as well. According to the Morton Arboretum during times of drought like this, the young roots of trees and shrubs are killed outright. The soil becomes hard and compact in the top 1 to 2 feet where the roots live. Plants like trees, shrubs, groundcovers and especially evergreens without adequate watering will suffer much. Massive plant loss is likely if it does not begin to rain. Add these conditions to the increased planting Kansas City has seen recently with the current Real Estate boom these losses will add up to millions of dollars in damage and loss.

People should be diligent about watering their lawns and landscapes. The soil should be saturated at least 12 inches deep. Trees that have been planted in the last five years will not have developed a root system extensive enough to withstand a drought that could go on for six months or more.

Insects, as well as weeds, thrive in these conditions. Ants, fleas, and ticks love dry conditions and will reproduce unharmed by typical spring rainstorms that have missed us. Pets and people should be monitored closely as last weeks warm weather will trigger the hatch cycles of most all pests.

Grass Pad: Turf Disease Control for Home Lawns

Dollar Spot
Hot, humid temperatures can fuel turf disease in healthy turf. Being prepared and starting early, fungus spots are a lot easier to prevent than to cure. Shaded areas are of particular concern. Restricted air movement and humid conditions can stimulate turf disease rapidly. By applying granular Fungus Fighter now, we can protect the lawn before pathogens get into the plant and wreak havoc. Fungus Fighters allow a healthy lawn to outgrow many of the diseases that show up.

Grass Pad Fungus Fighter provides control of many important diseases in turf including but not limited to Kentucky bluegrass, annual bluegrass, fescue, rye, and zoysia grass.

Fungus Fighter is a broad-spectrum xylem systemic fungicide for the control of certain diseases in turf. Fungus Fighter works by interfering with the respiration in plant-pathogenic fungi, and is a potent inhibitor of spore germination and mycelial growth. The active ingredient moves rapidly into green tissue via transluminal and xylem movement. Roots of plants take up the active ingredient where it is translocated throughout the xylem of plants to provide internal inhibition of fungal growth and protect the plant from new infections. Fungus Fighter makes it an excellent choice as the foundation fungicide for turf management programs.

Slime Mold on Bluegrass
Bluegrass diseases show up in the form of a slime or dust that wipes off, or even a patch that seems to die overnight. Mow bluegrass shorter in the spring and be vigilant in the areas under trees or on the north that seem to hold the heavy dew longer in the morning. Mow the lawn shorter while it is cool, and rain is plentiful. In June, raise the mowing height and don't let the lawn dry out too much before starting the summer watering schedule. If fungus shows up apply fast acting liquid fungicide and follow up with granular Fungus Fighter one week later. If large areas die in the summer, add Stadium Special, perennial ryegrass, to your favorite blend of bluegrass this fall.

Related: Overseeding Fall Lawns

Fescue diseases can be a little more predictable than bluegrass. Expect fungus to show up as soon as the temperature and humidity added together reach 150, usually early in June. Applying granular Fungus Fighter every 21 days through mid-August should keep you ahead of the game. If fungus patches do appear or every other blade of grass is brown, apply liquid Fungus Fighter, then granular one week later. Be sure and overseed those areas in the fall. Use the newest varieties of fescue, like Heat Wave or Macho Mix to ensure the most up to date disease resistant varieties.

Give it a one-two punch. Certain fungal pathogens are known to develop resistance to products with the same mode of action when used repeatedly. Because resistance development cannot be predicted, the use of Fungus Fighters should follow resistance management strategies established for turf. Such strategies may include rotation with products having different modes of action or limiting the total number of applications per season. For more information on developing a resistance management strategy talk to our turf experts at your nearest Grass Pad location.

Related: More Summer Lawn Survival Tips

Today is May Day. Is it too late to over seed my yard?

Today’s lawn problem needs attention today. Waiting for August merely is not acceptable. Killing dandelions and henbit today will leave bare areas for crabgrass to move in this summer and when the crabgrass dies this winter, the dandelions and henbit move back in for the spring. It’s a vicious cycle, and the only thing that will stop the cycle is to keep grass growing in those bare spots. No bare spots no weeds. 

Longer daylight hours, and gradually warming soil temperatures have started to green up area lawns and golf courses. Hazy brown turf is turning bright green as new grass shoots pop out of the ground in response to the first spring fertilizer treatment.

Thin areas and bare spots show up quickly as the rest of the lawn begins to turn green. Winter injury to newly seeded areas is apparent. Dead crabgrass and foxtail form brown patches and bare spots in the otherwise green turf. Heavily shaded areas look particularly forlorn and muddy.

Question of the week. Can I seed my lawn today? The answer is almost always, YES! Grass Pad customers have been successful in seeding twelve months of the year. Every year and every season brings a new challenge when it comes to overseeding, and if you have reasonable expectations when you seed your lawn in May, you can be successful.

Reasonable expectations. If the coming summer is as wet as the last three, then there is an excellent chance the majority of your spring seeding will survive the summer with routine watering. If the weather pattern changes and we get high heat, blowing wind and no rainfall for extended periods, even the most drought tolerant grass seed will have a tough time surviving without a mature root system.

The good news is that Mother Nature wants to give you some help in greening up your lawn and filling in those unsightly bare spots. Grass plants have a biological clock and will begin to sprout and fill as the weather warms. The bad news is that ordinary lawn weeds will also start as fast

Weed control problems can create an interruption in spring seeding. But patience and timing will help guaranteed success. If broadleaf weeds are a severe problem, treat before starting to seed. Liquid weed control products containing Trimec or Speedzone do an excellent job for spot treatment or granular Loveland Weed and Feed for large areas.

Wait five days after broadleaf weed treatments and then begin your seeding program. Although some seed may be lost by seeding so quickly, the higher risk is summer’s approaching hot weather.

Eliminate crabgrass when overseeding in early May by applying Tupersan, a seed safe pre-emergent, and Golf Course Starter the same day. Once the seed has germinated and has grown tall enough to have been mowed twice, apply Prevent for season-long crabgrass control.

How long do I wait to seed after applying Prevent? Overseeding is not an option after you have applied Prevent. However, you can be successful seeding small bare spot areas using Uncle's Seed Sandwich technique, using a layer of PrimeraFC as an insulator above the Prevent barrier.