Sod Care Tips & Sod Installation in Maryland

The term ‘sod’ or “turf” are used interchangeably to describe the instant, lush, green grass that wows us all in most major landscape projects. Freshly harvest sod allows you to enjoy a lawn of instant beauty and maturity without the hassle and wait. When you purchase sod from our Maryland sod farm, Lochland AG & Turf’s, you can rest assured that you are getting the finest quality turf.

Read some common questions, installation instructions and tips on how to prepare your soil and correctly lay out a beautiful carpet of green. Any questions? Give us a call at 240-397-5995 or visit our sod farm in Walkersville, MD. Contact us to request a quote.

Measuring & Ordering

With the tape, measure the area of your planned lawn. Include these measurements on a sketch of the lawn area with the length, width, and any unusual features noted. We will then be happy to assist you in determining the amount of turfgrass sod you will need from your sketch. Check out our sod calculator for help. Schedule your delivery of turf after the required preparatory work is completed and you are ready to install.

Soil Testing

Before you spend a lot of money to lay down sod, have your soil tested to be sure you’re providing the best environment for your new lawn to thrive. A do-it-yourself kit from a garden center will give readings on pH (how acidic or alkaline your soil is) and the levels of crucial nutrients. For the most accurate and complete results, have your soil tested by your county extension service or state university. Soil can be tested year-round, but it’s best done in the spring or fall.

How to Prepare Your Soil for Sod

Loosen the top 6 to 8 inches of soil with a rototiller. Spread 2 inches of finished compost (this may be available for free if your town has a municipal compost center). Add 2 to 3 inches of sand to claylike soil to improve drainage. Till in amendments. Then, based on the results from your soil test, use a spreader to lay down the appropriate starter fertilizer, and then lime if needed.


Sod Care Tips & Sod Installation in Maryland

Leveling Your Lawn

Use an iron rake to knock down any high spots and fill in low spots so the soil is level and 1 inch below the grade of any paved surface, such as a walkway or driveway. Water lightly to dampen the soil.

Laying the First Row

Find the longest straight edge in your yard—here, it was the fence line. Unroll the first roll of sod along it. Keep off the sod while you are installing it, and rake out any footprints as you go. Smooth out loose areas or wrinkles, patting down the sod so it’s flat against the soil underneath it, with no air pockets.

Laying the Next Rows

After laying the first row, use the knife to cut off half of the next piece so you can stagger the short seams, as you would in laying bricks. Again, make sure to butt sections of turf snugly against each other without overlapping them. Not only will seams be less noticeable this way but the edges will be less likely to dry out and die back. Use the knife to cut out holes for in-ground sprinkler heads as needed, and to trim pieces along planting beds and paved areas.

Watering New Sod

Water the installed lawn thoroughly, which also helps settle the soil. Try to keep foot traffic off the sod for a week. Water every day, preferably in the morning: During the heat of the day, you lose a lot of water to evaporation. And if you water at night, the sod goes to bed wet, which can encourage fungal disease. After the first week, cut back watering to every other day, tapering off to just twice a week by the third week. Then like any lawn, give it an inch of water a week, more during hot summer months.

When to Mow New Sod

When the grass reaches 3 inches high, it’s time to mow it down to 2 inches. Because your new lawn is still fragile, use a walk-behind mower (rather than the heavier ride-on type) for the first trim, and be sure to bag the clippings. Though you’ll probably want to grow it higher in the summer months—to encourage a deep root system and to shade out weeds—always aim to cut off one-third of the grass’s length anytime you mow, and be sure to use a sharp blade.

Fertilizing New Sod

Allow your lawn about three to four weeks’ growth, then feed it again with a starter fertilizer to make up for nutrients that washed away during the heavy watering schedule.

Trusted Sod Installation in Maryland

Tools Required

  • Rototiller (optional)

  • Gloves

  • Dirt Rake

  • Shovel

  • Spade

  • Wheel barrow
  • Topsoil and/or soil amendments
  • Sod pins for slopes (optional and sold at our farm)
  • Starter fertilizer (available at our farm)
  • Lawn roller (optional)
  • Hose and sprinkler

Contact us at Lochland AG & Turf in Walkersville, MD to get your sod project started. We serve all of Frederick County, MD, Southern PA, Eastern Panhandle of WV, and Northern VA with quality sod.