Sod or Seed? Weighing options for a better looking lawn

Sod or Seed? Weighing options for a better looking lawn

(ANGIE'S LIST) - Whether you're in a newly built home with no lawn or an older home with patchy spots of grass, you have two options to turn your yard into a lush, green, envy of the neighborhood: sod or seed.

Angie's List founder, Angie Hicks says to always start by preparing the soil whether you plan to sod or seed.

"Rake the soil and add at least two inches of fresh top soil or compost, so that the sod or seed has good soil to take root in" Hicks said.

Sod only takes two or three weeks to establish a good root system. It's also about eight times more expensive than seed, so don't waste your investment and be sure to water it daily.

Terry Jungels, a lawn care specialist says to water the sod everyday for a couple of weeks. He says you should be watering it twice a day for ten minutes at a time.

"All the roots are in the tops of the sod, so you don't need to soak the ground to get it wet. You want all the moisture to be in the top layer" Jungels said.

Seed is a better option if you don't need immediate results or don't want to spend a lot. Fall is the ideal time to spread seed; springtime requires more patience.

Here are some other things to consider before and after you start to sod or seed.

Before you sod or seed:

  1. Understand your climate… All grass is good for sunny climes; but shady areas require certain seeds.
  2. Test your soil… No grass will thrive in poor soil. Get a soil test to determine pH, organic and mineral content so you know what grass to plant. Clay soils, for example, may need a layer of compost or high quality topsoil first.

After you sod or seed:

  1. Water… Sod needs twice daily doses for two weeks straight; seed requires just one drink/day.
  2. Maintain… Continually re-seed, fertilize and aerate in fall and/or spring

Pros & Cons – Sod:

Con: Costs more than seed; 50cents to $1 or more per square foot – $9,5555 to seed the average American yard (9,800 sq. ft.).

Pros & Cons – Seed:

Con: No immediate gratification; takes weeks to establish and months to "thicken."

Grassy Specifics:

  • Centipede grass only needs one fertilization a year plus mowing, but it can't take traffic or compaction.
  • Bermuda grasses tolerate heat and trampling, but need irrigation, fertilization and frequent mowing.
  • Bluegrasses are better in full sun.
  • Fescue is better in shade.

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