The following recommendation is based on the target area having reasonably nutrient balanced soils. If you suspect nutrient deficiencies, soil tests should be performed to determine corrective measures.
Establishing a Healthy Sod Foundation
The first component in all maintenance programs is applying Urban Soil Life Maxx™. This Granular Soil Renewal product helps replenish soil biology by adding beneficial bacteria, naturally occurring fungi, and sources of organic matter. These enhance soil biodiversity and help to create a healthy soil profile that mimics sustainable soil occurring naturally in the forest. Urban Soil Life Maxx™ helps loosen compacted soils and supports structure in loamy or sandy soils. It promotes healthier, deeper root systems, more efficient nutrient uptake, improved nutrient and water holding capacity, and healthier overall plant growth. Creating and supporting a healthy and active Soil Food Web is JOB #1.
Rotary Tilling Protocol: Prior to tilling remove all debris, including dead grass, leaves, visible rocks, etc. Then spread Urban Soil Life Maxx™ evenly over the targeted sod area at rate of 40 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft. Then till the area, blending the Urban Soil Life Maxx™ into the top 6 - 8 inches of the soil profile.
Once you have finished tilling, remove new debris that has surfaced, such as rocks, trash, etc. and perform the following to improve the sod bed:
1. Rake the area to smooth the surface; removing debris and filling in pits and divots as needed.
2. Roll the area to create a firmer, more uniform, level soil surface. This also removes air pockets, and minimizes “foot sinking” from walking on the soil in later applications – these would become larger holes or ruts later on if not addressed.
Core-Aeration Protocol: Prior to core-aerating the soil remove all debris, including dead grass, leaves, visible rocks, etc. Then begin core-aeration. For maximum benefit, overlap each pass by 50%. This will provide effective aeration, and be more efficient than aerating in a criss-cross pattern.
Once you have finished core aerating, perform the following to improve the sod bed:
1. Apply Urban Soil Life Maxx™ at a rate of 40 lbs. per 2,500 sq. ft.
2. Rake the area to smooth the surface; removing debris and filling in pits and divots as needed. This process also moves some Urban Soil Life Maxx™ particles into some of the holes. This is not the primary goal, but think of it as a nice side benefit.
The final step in either Rotary Tilling or Core-Aeration protocol is called the FINAL GRADE: This entails lightly raking the surface, further filling in remaining pits and divots as needed. This also breaks the crust of the rolled or aerated soil, which allows for faster root penetration and attachment.
Sod Application Specifics:
The next step prior to laying your new sod is to apply Urban Roots™ Growth Stimulant & Inoculant. This product stimulates root growth and speeds the sod attachment. Urban Roots™ also supports drought resistance, balanced pH, increased biological populations and activity, as well as suppresses the occurrence of disease after installation. This is also the time to apply Bio-Balance pH™ if a calcium deficiency is known or suspected. Broadcast these products evenly over the entire area at the recommended rates below:
Urban Roots™ - Apply at a rate of 40 lbs. per 10,000 sq. ft.
Bio-Balance pH™ - Apply at a rate of 40 lbs. per 5,000 sq. ft.
Begin Laying/Installing Your Sod
• Purchase your sod from a certified dealer.
• Lay the sod in a pattern much like a brick wall.
• Do not overlap the edges; take your time.
• Roll the sod with a sod roller to help seal it, remove air pockets and to level the sod.
• Water sod, thoroughly, to the point of saturation. Make sure the entire soil profile is wet.
• Keep sod moist so that hair roots can start developing and attach to the subsoil.
• Continue watering, thoroughly, on a daily basis for the first few weeks.
• Reduce watering once the roots have attached to the native soil - about one inch per week.
• It is important to keep roots moist until full attachment has occurred.
• REMEMBER - watering in this manner will promote pythium, brown patch, etc. Understanding this and embracing a proactive disease management program is IMPERATIVE FOR SUCCESS.
• Apply the following products for disease control as soon as your sod is installed. Repeat every 7-10 days until sod has attached and watering needs have been reduced: Stay Proactive!
Granular Fungicide from Organic Plant Health – Apply at a rate of 2-4 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
Alternate the granular application with OPH’s Liquid Bio-Fungicide: Turf & Garden Warrior™
Apply Turf & Garden Warrior™ using the OPH hose-end sprayer: 32 oz. covers 5K – 8K sq. ft.
If using a dial-type hose-end sprayer, use the setting of 3oz. - 4oz. per gallon, per 1,000 sq. ft.
Stay proactive with disease treatments after you reduce watering. Apply a fungicide every 21 days as needed. Diseases are more likely to occur when nighttime temperatures are 60˚ or higher.
Please note: Most sod is planted too thick at the sod farm. This can promote disease and die back. After new sod is established and well attached, we recommend vigorously raking sod with a steel leaf rake to remove any excess grass. This helps thin out the density of the turf, which allows for better air flow, helping the sod to “breathe”, resulting in less die-back.
All of these above steps are meant to support sod survival and tiller health by improving soil structure. A more open and porous soil profile supports healthy root growth and access to available water and nutrients. Most sod is grown in a different soil prior to harvest than where it will be laid. It is important to acclimate the sod to its new soil and growing environment. The initial fertilizer and soil conditioners outlined above prevent layering problems, which can adversely affect the sod’s ability to root and may diminish the long-term health of the sod.
Begin following the OPH Annual Turf Maintenance Program 30 days after your sod has been installed and stay on schedule throughout the year. However, DO NOT apply any pre-emergent for at least 60 days after the sod has been installed. Pre-emergent can damage the tender new roots that are trying to establish.
DO NOT let sod grass grow higher than 6” before mowing.
VERY IMPORTANT! – CORE-AERATE THE SOD WITHIN 4-6 MONTHS AFTER INSTALLATION.