Gardening Help FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

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Horticulture Questions and Answers

How do I sod a cool-season lawn?

Although seeding a lawn is cheaper and gives excellent results, there are many advantages to sodding a lawn. Advantages include providing an instant green lawn, eliminating initial weed problems, and reducing erosion on sloping terrain.

You can lay sod of cool-season grasses anytime the soil becomes warm and dry enough to work during the growing season. In the St. Louis Metropolitan area this is usually from about March through October.

Proper soil preparation is essential before laying sod. This includes having the soil tested before you begin the project. The soil test report gives the type and amount of fertilizer to apply to your lawn. Work this fertilizer (and lime or sulfur only if indicated by the soil test) into the top 3 to 4 inches of soil. Remove rocks and debris; till and rake the soil.

Here are a few other techniques to get a properly sodded lawn:

The soil should be moist, but not overly wet prior to laying the sod. The pieces of sod should be staggered in a brick like arrangement with ends in contact, but not overlapping. Do not stretch sod because cracks may develop between the pieces as they shrink during drying. For better rooting, roll the finished lawn lightly to improve the sod and soil contact.

Immediately after sodding, water the lawn to a depth of 6 inches. Then, water lightly on a daily basis for two to three weeks to maintain adequate moisture for rooting into the soil. Once a week thereafter, water the lawn to a depth of 6 inches.

Extra attention to watering practices is needed in very hot weather in order to give the new sod adequate moisture without overwatering and rotting the sod. In fact, in extremely hot weather, it may be advisable to delay sodding until the environmental conditions are favorable for the establishment of cool-season grasses.