Sod is an excellent alternative to meticulously growing grass seed. Instead of waiting weeks for the grass to take root, you get to take a shortcut, achieving a beautiful lawn in less time. Although sod is pricier than grass seed, it remains a go-to alternative to the time-consuming process of growing grass from seeds.
If you’re planning on installing sod in your yard, there are a few things you’ll need to know. For example, how much sod do you need? How thick is sod, and what is the average size of cut sod? We’re here to answer your questions, so continue reading to learn more!
How Thick Is The Average Piece Of Sod?
Sod ranges in thickness depending on a few different factors. For example, certain grasses may have substantial root depths, which translates to thicker sod. Other grasses might have shallow roots, which would translate to a thinner slab of sod.
Because of the variation in grass types, there’s no universal standard for sod thickness. However, sod usually ranges between 1 and 3 inches thick. This is a valuable factor in determining the appropriate sod thickness you need.
For example, if you have a sidewalk from your front door or a paved driveway, you might want the grass to sit flush with the cement. In that case, you should measure the distance from the top of the sidewalk to the level ground where the sod will sit. Then, you can choose the appropriate height based on the difference in size between the sidewalk and the ground.
What Is The Average Size Of Cut Sod?
On average, cut sod is 16 inches wide by 24 inches long. The overall size may vary from one farm to the next, but this tends to be a standard size for the most part. That said, some farms cut their sod in much larger sections that are 5 feet wide and 9 feet long. These sizes are often ideal for larger yards and commercial settings.
Some companies cut their sod at 80 inches long and 18 inches wide. The sizing of sod your local farm offers might be entirely different than all of these measurements. So, before you determine how much sod you’ll need, make sure you contact the farm and ask them how big they cut their sod.
How Heavy Is A Piece Of Sod?
Slabs of sod can be pretty hefty, but the overall weight hinges on the moisture content and the size of the piece. Generally, sod weighs between 15 and 30 pounds. However, the weight will be higher if the soil is thoroughly saturated.
Additionally, larger pieces will weigh more than their smaller counterparts. Sod also tends to weigh more when it’s fresher, as it has a higher moisture content. As it dries and loses moisture, it becomes considerably lighter.
The thickness of the sod also plays a considerable role in the overall weight – the thicker the sod, the heavier it is.
If you buy a whole pallet of sod, it could weigh anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000 pounds. The number of pieces per pallet depends on the size of the sod. For example, there are usually about 170 16×24 inch pieces per pallet. Or, if the farm offers 5-foot by 2-foot pieces, there will probably be around 60 pieces per pallet.
How To Calculate How Much Sod I Need
To determine how much sod you’ll need for your yard, you need to figure out its square footage. To find the square footage, multiply the length by the width of your yard. If you have an abnormally-shaped yard, break it into easy-to-measure sections and add your answers to get the total square footage.
Remember to ask your local sod farm what size their sod pieces are before you order. Once you find out the sizing of the sod pieces, you can determine the number of pieces you need to cover your lawn.
Next, divide the square footage of sod your local farm offers by the total square footage of your yard. This will give you the minimum amount of sod you’ll need. However, this won’t account for any mistakes or waste, so you should probably order slightly more.
Once you calculate the total amount of sod you’ll need, multiply your answer by 1.10. This will ensure you have plenty of sod to cover your entire yard (an extra 10%), as it accounts for potential waste and slight miscalculations.
For example, let’s say your yard is 40 feet by 30 feet, and your local farm sells sod rolls that are 2 feet by 4.5 feet. Using the directions above, you determine you’ll need at least 133 ⅓ rolls of sod.
This is how we determined our answer:
((size of yard length x width) / (size of sod length x width)) = minimum amount of sod you’ll need.
((40 x 30) / (2 x 4.5)) = 133 ⅓
Then, to account for an extra 10 percent, we multiplied our answer by 1.10 (133.33 x 1.10 = 147) to get our final answer of 147 rolls. This helps ensure we have an extra amount to complete our project.
Depending on the amount of sod you need for your yard, it might make more sense to order a full pallet. It might be less expensive than ordering single pieces of sod, so this is probably your best bet for a larger yard.
Ask your local farm how many square feet of sod are in each pallet. Once you have a number, divide the amount you’ll need by the amount in each pallet. This tells you how many pallets you’ll need to complete the job.
Tips For Installing And Maintaining Sod
Once you receive your rolled sod, you’re one step closer to a beautiful lawn. However, following the correct procedures when installing it is essential to ensure a stunning result.
First things first, you need to loosen the top 6 to 8 inches of soil where you’ll be laying the sod. Using a rototiller, stir up the topsoil and loosen it thoroughly. Then, add a few inches of finished compost and a few inches of sand or clay-like soil to improve drainage, then till in the additions.
Add starter fertilizer and lime if necessary. Next, level your lawn with a rake, filling low areas with additional soil. Water the area lightly to dampen the soil. Now, you’re ready to install the sod.
It’s usually best to start on the longest straight edge in your yard. Unroll the first piece of sod along this area, making sure to stay off of it as you go. Smooth it flat against the ground, ensuring there are no air pockets.
After the first row is in place, prep the next roll – cut it in half so you can stagger the short seams. The process is similar to laying bricks. As you go, make sure you place each piece snugly against the others without overlapping. This helps hide the breaks in the turf and lessens the chances of the sod drying out and dying back.
Once everything is installed, water the new sod thoroughly, which helps settle the soil. Try to water in the morning when the temperatures are cooler (not at night) and keep foot traffic to a minimum. Water it every day for the first week, then cut back to every other day, then twice a week after the second week. Make sure it gets a full inch of water per week.
When it’s time to mow, ensure your mower has a sharp blade. The grass should be about three inches high, so you need to cut it down to two inches in height. Use a walk-behind mower, as the grass is still fragile.
Fertilize your lawn after about three to four weeks with a starter fertilizer. This helps make up for the nutrients that are washed away during the heavy watering schedule.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Long Do I Have To Lay Sod Before It Goes Bad?
As a general rule of thumb, you should try to lay new sod as soon as possible. In the summer, the heat will cause rolled sod to decay much more quickly, shortening your window of opportunity. So, in hot temperatures, make sure you lay the sod within 24 hours.
You have a bit more leeway in the winter or cooler temperatures, but not much. You might have as long as three to five days before damage occurs. Even still, you should try to lay the sod as soon as possible.
Will Watering Rolled Sod Prevent Decomposition?
No, watering rolled sod won’t necessarily prevent decomposition. It’ll help prevent the sod from drying out, but it won’t fix or prevent damage that occurs due to the heat of decomposition. This stresses the importance of installing sod immediately after receiving it.
If you don’t think you’ll be able to get the sod installed within the necessary timeframe, it’s best not to order it. If you don’t get to the project in time, you’ll have decomposing sod that won’t give you a beautiful, healthy lawn. So, save yourself time and money and only order the sod when you’re ready and have time to complete the project.