How to Install Scotts® ProVista™ Sod
You can lay your own sod with the right tools and plans—and a friend or two.
You made the decision to upgrade your place with Scotts® ProVista™ sod—nice! While your new lawn comes with some extraordinary benefits, it doesn’t really take any special skills to lay it. How to install sod depends on how much physical effort you’re okay with exerting, because while the process doesn’t take a turfgrass degree, you will need to flex some muscles.
Whether you make it a weekend project with friends or tackle it all on your own, below are tips to help you succeed when you install your new sod.
TOOLS FOR INSTALLING SOD
Before you get going, gather all of the tools and equipment you’ll need. You may have many of these things on hand, while some you may need to rent. You can also see if your community has a tool library that will let you borrow what you need for your installation project.
Here’s your checklist:
- Soil test kit
- Sod cutter
- Hard rake
- Garden or sod roller
- Sod staples
- Lawn mower
HOW TO PREPARE FOR SOD INSTALLATION
Careful planning can help sod installation day run more smoothly and take any surprises out of what might be lurking under your current lawn.
1. Set the schedule for installation and care. Once you schedule your sod delivery you may want to phone a friend (or a few) to help you. If you’re going to handle the installation yourself, this is still a great time to look into what you’ll need to care for your sod once it’s laid, especially if you plan to hire landscaping pros to look after it. Make sure your schedules line up.
2. Test your soil. Use a soil test kit to take some samples from your yard, or check with your local extension service for help in getting a soil test completed. The results will help you determine the nutrient level and pH balance in your existing soil. If anything is off, you’ll need to add an improver to restore the balance before putting down new sod.
3. Remove existing grass and debris. About a week before the sod arrives, get the area ready by removing all existing grass, growth, and debris from the area. Use a sod cutter to make easy work of removing existing grass. Trim any trees or bushes that might obstruct sunlight from reaching your soon-to-be-laid sod. If there are persistent weeds, use a weed control product to kill them. (Make sure to review the product label for guidelines on how long to wait before laying new sod.)
4. Level the installation area. There’s a very good chance that your now-bare lawn has divots from roots, holes from rocks, uneven traction, and other issues. You’ll want to level that out, not just for aesthetics or to make a fair field for croquet, but to help with drainage. A 1-percent grade (meaning, an ever-so-slight slope) is a good target to work for across your property. Your sod will want nice, manageable dirt to drop its roots into. As you level the lawn, don’t compact it. It’s important that water can easily flow through it. If any adjustments are needed, till or aerate the area.
5. Prepare to water the new sod. If you’re using an in-ground sprinkler system, take the time to test the pressure, nozzle output, sprinkler patterns, and coverage while it is exposed. It’s easier, and more cost effective, to make any adjustments now before laying sod.
WHAT TO DO ON SOD INSTALLATION DAY
Once the sod arrives, the next phase of work can begin. Aim to lay your new sod as soon as it’s delivered—sitting in the hot sun for a day or so will leave it in a less-than-ideal condition, and you’re going for peak beauty. Here’s what to do when you get your new ProVista™ St. Augustine sod.
1. Water the soil. Moist soil makes it much easier for the roots to take hold. Wet the dirt all over your yard until it’s evenly moist but not muddy. You want the soil to be about as damp as a wrung-out sponge.
2. Place the sod in a staggered pattern. Envision a stacked brick wall: This is the way you want to lay out your sod pieces, in staggered lines. Overlap the seams in between each square, setting the squares together as tightly as possible.
3. Ensure contact between sod and soil. Once you’re finished laying your sod, use a garden or sod roller to make sure that the sod and the soil below it are making close contact. It might seem like you’re damaging your new sod by rolling over it, but this is important! If there’s a particular corner that refuses to lay flat, a well-placed sod staple will do the trick.
4. Water your new sod. Immediately after you’ve rolled the sod, water it well. You don’t want to have water run off, but it does need a thorough soaking. This is a particularly critical step for St. Augustine sod, since you’re laying it in a hot, typically dry climate.
ESTABLISHING YOUR SOD
The establishment period (when sod takes root and starts to grow) is vital to long-term health. It’s during this timeframe that new installations can take a not-so-great turn if neglected, so use these tips and the Scotts® My Lawn app to keep it growing strong. You can relax knowing the app will remind you when your next important task is coming up.
- Get with the program. Caring for new sod can put a lot on your plate, so take a load off by signing up for the Scotts® Program. The subscription service creates a personalized lawn care routine that’s perfect for your new St. Augustine sod and sends you the right products at the right time.
- Water the sod. Ensure that the sod is getting adequate moisture by watering at least twice a day for the first two weeks. Your goal is to keep the soil surface moist without overwatering, so check on it frequently and dial it down if it’s looking too wet out there.
- Prevent pests and weeds. Get your sod off to the right start by applying products that control pests and weeds, but are suitable to use on lawns. Always be sure to follow the label directions for the best results. Or, call in your lawn care professional so they can give your new sod an essential pest and weed prevention treatment.
- Feed for optimum growth. At the 1-month mark, you can begin to feed your Scotts® ProVista™ lawn. Use a product that’s appropriate for the season and is labeled safe for St. Augustine grass.
Finally, move on to the last step in the process, which might just be the most important—pat yourself on the back for a job well done! After all, you are responsible for how amazing it is. We’re just here to cheer you on.