How to Prepare Your Soil for Sod Installation in Florida

Posted by Joe Mouad on Aug 18, 2022 9:08:00 AM

If you've been preparing your soil for sod installation by talking to it in a soothing voice and telling it how pretty it will look with fresh green sod, you’re doing it wrong.

Soil prep for sod in Central Florida involves some actual work, including shovels, a rake and some topsoil.

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How to prepare soil for sod? Let’s get to it. Follow these tips:

Soil Prep for Sod: Why Bother?

Sod is a big investment, so you want it to thrive.

Access The Ultimate Guide to Sod Installation & Maintenance
Your new sod needs to establish its roots in the soil, to take advantage of the water and nutrients there. That means giving it the best possible soil for it to sink its roots into and start to grow.

Would you be at your best without healthy food to eat? Could you get a good night’s sleep if there were rocks in your bed?

Give your sod a healthy start with rich, fluffy, nourished soil.

fresh dirt installed in front of homeWhy not just wait till sod installation day? No time, pal. Once that lush new sod arrives on site, there’s no time to waste. You don’t want it to dry out.

Prepare soil for sod installation ahead of time, please.

Do a Soil Test

Test the soil so you know exactly what it needs to support your new sod lawn.

Contact a local extension service or search online to find a soil-testing lab. They’ll give you instructions for collecting and submitting samples.

You’ll get a report back telling you what your soil needs. It can take a few weeks to get the results, so leave plenty of time.

It might need lime or gypsum to adjust your soil pH or compost to improve soil health and structure.


Bye, Weeds

A crucial step to prepare soil for sod installation is to get rid of any existing weeds and grasses.

Start a couple weeks before your new sod delivery. Choose a non-selective herbicide, designed to take out everything it touches, with a product containing glyphosate.

Apply the herbicide on a windless day, when there’s no rain in the forecast for at least 24 hours following application.sod installation team rakes up weeds and dead grass
The process can take from one to three applications, depending on what type of weeds are lurking in your lawn. The amount of weeds can be a factor here, too.

Ideally, you should wait seven to 10 days after the last application of herbicide before laying new sod. You want to make sure all the weeds are dead and the herbicide has degraded and won’t harm your new Central Florida lawn.

Use pitchforks, rakes, or shovels to toss the dead turf and weeds into a dumpster.

Soil Prep for Sod: Get Rid of Rocks

Clear out any rocks, pebbles, sticks and any other debris that could create lumps or bumps under your carpet of nice new sod. Even small objects will be noticeable, so use an eagle eye here.

You’ll want to tackle this task with a shovel, a rake, and a wheelbarrow to collect the debris.

Till the Soil and Add Amendments

Preparing soil for sod in Florida includes tilling the soil a couple inches deep before adding any needed amendments like lime or gypsum. Then work them into the soil. Tilling will help your new sod’s roots get a great start, too.machine rips up old grass

Fertilize as You Prep Soil for Sod

Add fertilizer to the soil to give your hungry sod a good first meal.

Use a starter fertilizer, not regular lawn fertilizer. Starter fertilizer contains phosphorus, important for the development of your new sod’s roots.

Get the Grade

As you prepare your soil for sod installation, obviously you want your soil nice and level, but grade is important, too.sod installation team moves soil
Rake the area and fill and level any low spots. You want the soil to be level and 1 inch below the grade of any paved surface, like your walkways and driveway.

Soil Prep for Sod: Water the Ground

Yes, it seems weird to water when there isn’t even any grass yet, but this loosens up the soil to prep it for your sod’s roots to settle in nicely.

You’re Ready for Sod! But Now You’re Exhausted!

If you’re worn out after all this soil prep and you still have to lay your sod, that’s a bummer. Laying sod is hard work.landscape crew installs sod
Here’s an idea: do yourself a favor and leave it all to us, from killing the weeds to finding all those pesky rocks to laying your new green carpet of healthy sod.

If you decide the DIY dirt, labor, and stress are too much of a hassle, we’d love to expertly install your fresh, healthy, new sod lawn.

We’re Central Florida sod experts, but our skills don’t stop there. We’re with you every step of the way as you plan your perfect outdoor space.

Sod, irrigation, landscape design: Let us transform your yard from an embarrassing eyesore to a place you spend every spare minute.

Are you ready to enjoy the vibrant, impressive yard you've always wanted? Request a quote today! We’ll help you review your options and then transform your property.

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Buy Sod OnlineThe Ultimate Guide to Sod

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You can’t do that. 

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