Soil Preparation before sodding

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What tools to use before you apply sod to the soil.

By Dalton Quigley
So you have made the decision to sod your property and now you find out there is a step just before applying the sod. Yes and it is called Sod Preparation.


Additional great advice from Penn State below.

After determining the area of the site, mark the location of any obstacles that interfere with soil preparation or that may be damaged. Rocks, stumps, lumber, and large roots will interfere with grading and tilling and create establishment problems if buried in soil.” From the Penn State link below.

This Penn State university study goes into greater detail.

Machines and tools for sod preparation

The areas of your landscaping / garden that are not mulch and soil tend to be grass, when it comes time for installing your living carpet of turf grass there is one step you must take for success and that is preparing the soil for sod. The new sod will not establish right on top of your existing weeds and grass. You must take a few moments to see what types of debris are in the lawn to figure out what machine you will need to use for either turning over the topsoil or scraping off the plant matter.

At this point you already know where you are going to sod and what type of turf grass you are going to apply to the area. Sod is not just one plant but possibly a couple of hundred in a roll or square piece of sod. Each grass plant in your sod grass requires water, and good soil contact for establishment. Working with the topsoil is not recommended when the ground is frozen. There are a few machines that can be used for preparing the soil area for sodding. Popular machines for preparing an area for sodding include harley rakes, tillers, skid steer type machines, and hand raking with a really tough iron rake with shovels.


Harley Rake video below:

If you choose to use hand tools you will find that this is a very difficult task without power equipment. A harley rake is an attachment on a skidsteer type machine and the way it works is if you would imagine a paper towel roll with marbles glued onto it rotating and digging into the topsoil to flip up rocks and debris while destroying existing vegetation and bringing loads of soil to the surface. Tillers quickly turnover the soil for sod preparation the only thing to keep in mind when renting a tiller is that the lighter smaller tillers are much harder to operate for this purpose than it would be to use a larger heavier model. Skid steer type machines are great for scraping but you will remove the most soil out of any method if you use a simple bucket attachment. These machines are rented by local rental shops by the day and half day. If you choose to use hand tools this is a task that will take a very long time and is physically exhaustive.

One of the keys to success with your new sod is great soil contact and now you know what machines will help you achieve that goal. Once you have removed most of the vegetation and now the soil is exposed to the open air it is time for some mild grading with an iron hard rake, aluminum varieties in 3′ to 4′ wide on the side with teeth are available and make raking large areas a breeze. After your soil is smooth and ready begin laying your sod.

In the Nashville area we perform sod preparation before we install any sod product, some of the sods that are available are Fescue, Bermuda, and Zoysia. During the winter months only Bermuda and Fescue are available. Please show your appreciation for great information about the topics you love by sharing us with your friends using our social links. Thank you so much.

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