How to Prepare and Lay Soil for Sod?

Sod initiation is a task that anyone can do if they are up for the challenge. If you ordered a sod without preparing the soil, don’t unroll it yet. You will need to prepare the soil, to set the best quality turf. Proper soil preparation is an essential part of laying sod or turf. The health of your sod depends on the health of the grass. 

In this article, we will show you the steps to prepare the soil for your sod. You will also learn briefly all about sod, the best soil, topsoil, and fertilizers for them.

What is Sod and How to Prepare Soil for Sod? 

How to Prepare Soil for Sod

Sod is a patch of grown grass that is grown on the lawn and rolled with soil. Sod is a quick fit for healthy green grass. Sod is also called “Turf”. Sod is generally used in golf courses, lawns, and stadiums which need green, lush, and instant grass in small or patchy places. It is used to establish a lawn quickly in landscapes, homes, or at any place in need. Sod is grown on special farms for it. With proper care, sod prevents many problems such as erosion and pollution. Sod increases cool, pure air in the area and flood prevention.

What are the Different Types of Sod?

Sod comes from many types of grass. Such grass varieties come in cool and warm seasons. Cool season sod includes,

Fescue Sod

This great sod type is for cool climate soil. They can hold partial or full sun shade. They have roots deep to 3 inches and need water 1 and a half inches per week. They are drought-tolerant and need less aeration. This sod is great for homes with pets.

Ryegrass Sod

This cool-weather sod has the deepest roots of any other grass. They are mostly used as add-ons to other grasses. They need water for 2 weeks once but in large quantities and should have an acidic nature to soil to mild alkaline. This sod resists disease.

Bluegrass Sod

Bluegrass is found in golf courses, indoor sports grounds, and camping. They can survive in the sun and are best for lawns. With the average growth of roots and regular watering, they do well in soil.

The Warm season sod types are : 

Bermuda Sod

Bermuda grass is drought tolerant, loves to be in sunlight, and doesn’t ask for much water. It takes four to six weeks to have fully grown grass. The leaf is dark green and has high maintenance. It can tolerate high foot traffic.

Zoysia Sod

The second best grass type for warm climates is Zoysia grass. They have a root deep of 2 inches. Do well in drought. They hold water well and are a type of perennial grass.  They have fibrous roots and need soil with 6.8 pH to have healthy growth. As the sod grows thick, it prevents weeds.

St.augustine Sod

This type of grass is thick and slender with light green. They do well in many types of soil and are also good in warm-season sandy soil. They need 6 hours of sun a day. They are recommended if you don’t know the soil pH and want grass which doesn’t give you more work. 

What are the Benefits of Sod?

Benefits of Sod

Here are some benefits of sod,

  • Less Weed– High-quality sod has less or no weed in it. The tough sod will not allow any weed to penetrate it and spoil the sod.
  • Erosion control– Sod works as a carpet which prevents soil erosion. On slopes, erosion can be avoided with the help of sod.
  • Quick establishment– Unlike grass seeds, sod has a quick establishment. Sod takes less time to root in the soil than grass seed which makes it great for quick setup.
  • Instant result– The lawn can have an instant look result from sod. It can be instantly set up to get the look of grass in the soil.
  • Installment flexibility– Sod can be installed at any time. Grass needs to be sown at a specific season and time but soda doesn’t have such timings.

What are the Disadvantages of Sod?

The three main disadvantages of sod are,

  • Expensive– Despite its various benefits, sod is very expensive. The initial cost to buy sod is far higher than buying grass seed.
  • Limited grass choice– Grass has many varieties but only a few can be used in sod. It takes time and money to get your favorite grass in sod form.
  • Labor expense– The Labour expenses are at times more than buying the sod. Setting up the sod can make you lose it. So this expense becomes a necessity in setting up a lawn. For effective results and maintenance, labor is needed.

Did you know?

According to northern hills sod farm

  • Sod is an efficient solution to soil erosion.
  • An acre of grass can produce more oxygen than an acre of rainforest.
  • Sod purifies the water and pollutants in it with its long roots.

How to Choose the Right Sod for your Lawn?

Choosing the Right Sod for your Lawn

Choosing the right sod for your soil in the lawn is crucial. Before choosing the best soil, it is necessary to know which sod will suit best in which type of soil. To narrow down that check climate, sunlight, and maintenance. 

Maintenance– Consider this point first before selecting your emerald sheet for your lawn. Choosing the sod type with the required amount of maintenance you can give will help the plant. 

Climate– Select a soil that will go well with your climate. Choose a warm-season plant if you live in a hot area and vice versa. You don’t want to dry out a cool season sod in a warm area.

Sunlight– Adding sod to your lawn with the right sunlight needed in your area will help the plant thrive. The sunlight tolerance of the sod should be checked with the grass type to know about it. Sod that needs scorching sunlight will die in cold places.

How to Choose the Best Soil for Sod?

Choosing the best soil for sod will help enhance the sod and adapt to the environment. The best soil for Sod is loamy soil. Soil needs clay or sandy loam for the loam to flourish. Here are some grass types used for sod along with the right soil for them,

Fescue Sod- Fescue grass prefers clay soil with high nutrients in it. Providing clay soil as topsoil with good aeration and water flow will help the fescue sod grow.

Ryegrass Sod- This grass prefers sandy loam soil. Adding the soil as topsoil will help plant growth. Most sod prefers sandy loam, adding it for half an inch before laying the turf will enrich the sod.

Bluegrass Sod- Bluegrass prefers well-draining, fertile soil. This soil will be thick so to prevent that add soil will drainage and a neutral to little acidic soil. 

Bermuda Sod- Bermuda grass prefers the same as bluegrass sod. This sod loves sunlight, well-drained soil, and little water. They don’t ask for more nutrients to grow.

Zoysia Sod- Zoysia asks for clay to sandy soil which is easily added before adding a sod. This sod demands a little liquid food for the soil.

St.augustine Sod- This sod prefers sandy soil. They ask for the basic things which every other sod needs to grow with good nutrients and minerals.

What are the Steps to Prepare Soil for Sod?

7 Steps to Prepare Soil for Sod

The important part of laying sod is soil preparation. Here are 7 steps to prepare the soil for sod.

  1. Test the soil– The first step to preparing the soil for sod is to start with a soil test. The test can be done on your own or with the help of laboratories. This soil test will give all the analysis regarding the soil texture, composition, and nutrition, and recommend changes for improvement. The soil test will show the soil profile, which helps to add balance to the sod.
  2. Remove any vegetation– Removing the rock, wood and existing vegetation from the soil will make it a better place for the sod. Eliminate the weed and old grass to do the work. Using a weeding tool or sod knife will help remove the debris. Small plants can be tilled to make them natural nutrients for the soil
  3. Loosen soil base– Loosen the soil by tilling it. By doing this, it will loosen up the soil and give good aeration, reducing compaction. Use a shovel, dig 2 inches and break the rocks in the top layer of the soil.  Also, remove excess soil debris from the soil.
  4. Add Topsoil– Don’t forget to add topsoil before laying the sod. The sod might not get enough nutrients if the topsoil is not added. Topsoil with compost makes the best pair for sod soil. It is recommended to not till deep and only work with topsoil. A Sandy Loam topsoil is best for the sod.
  5. Amend the soil– After adding topsoil, adding amends to it is a must. After adding topsoil take a soil test to find what type of amendment the soil needs. With this add the right amendment to make it the best topsoil for sod. Retesting the soil will ensure to add the right amendment is at the right time. Add compost, sand, or any conditioner to the soil to make it more productive.
  6. Fertilize the soil– The lawn needs more fertilizer as new plants or sod need more in establishing in the new soil. Apply the fertilizer in a 10-10-10 ratio and mix it with the soil well before leveling the soil.
  7. Leveling the soil– After adding, and mending the soil, leveling the soil is the last step. Level the soil and make it free from holes. Give the soil some time or a week before laying sod in the soil.

Install the new sod after the 7 steps in preparing the soil. Regular watering and paying close attention to the soil are a must till the sod gives the new white roots to the soil.


  • Water new sod morning and evening for the first ten days.
  • Check for white root growth after ten days in the soil.
  • Aerate the soil every year to reduce compaction.

Does Sod need Topsoil?

Yes, sod needs topsoil before laying turf. Loamy topsoil about two inches deep is required for sod. Topsoil should be free from debris and rock. Sod needs at least 4 inches of loose and healthy soil to have good root growth and health. If the existing topsoil has little sand and clay in it, there is no need for topsoil. Adding topsoil is a must if the yard is not level.  Removing the old soil with existing grass should be done before adding the Topsoil. Till the topsoil with existing clean soil to blend the nutrients among the soil.

What are the Best Fertilisers for Sod?

Best Fertilisers for Sod

The fertilizers for sod are nitrogen and phosphorus. The sod needs slow-release fertilizer specially made for the sod to get established in place. The slow-release fertilizer with nutrients will allow the sod to flourish. For the root to grow, sod needs phosphorus. Then, nitrogen gives a flourished turf to the lawn. There are several fertilizers available for sod. 

The recommended ratio is for 1000 square feet of land, the NPK ratio is 10-20-10. In the case of water-soluble fertilizers 10-10-10 NPK ratio.

The best time to apply fertilizer is after tilling the soil. The fertilizer is rolled or spread evenly over the area.


Choosing the right grass variety of sod according to the environment will ensure the hard work paid off. Whatever type of grass sod you choose for your soil, good preparation of soil will give the sod half success the way.


1. Is topsoil necessary before laying sod?

Yes, topsoil is necessary before laying sod. It is recommended to use at least 2 inches of topsoil for sod.

2. What soil is the best soil to put under new sod?

Loamy soil is best to put under new sod.

3. What time of year is best to lay sod?

Spring and autumn are the best time to lay sod.