Maybe you are in a new house and have dirt where a lawn should be. Or maybe in an older house where a lawn used to be. What is the best way to establish a new lawn, with seed or with sod? There are advantages and disadvantages to both.
Advantages of Sod
- Instant lawn. Sod can take traffic and will be ready for activity in 2 to 3 weeks.
- When installed Sod is already a mature turf with an established root system.
- Sod can withstand heavy rains providing superb erosion control.
- Sod acts as a weed barrier, preventing weed seeds from taking hold.
- Visual appearance is one of immediate enhancement and appeal.
- Sod can be installed any time of year that the ground is not frozen and can be worked.
- Uniformity of coverage is 100%.
- Risk of installation failure is low.
Disadvantages of Sod
- Initial expense of installation is high.
- Initial water usage for first two weeks is high.
- Labor needed to install is greater, requiring more time.
Advantages of Seed
- Initial cost of seeding is much less than installing sod.
- Seeding is less labor intensive.
- There are many seed varieties and mixes available, sod choices are limited.
- Seeding can be done quickly.
- Initial watering costs are less.
Disadvantages of Seed
- Erosion potential is far greater. Heavy rains can do big damage, even washing out a seeded area.
- Time to establish a seeded lawn can be several months to a year.
- Seeding times are limited, with only two ideal times available-Spring or Fall.
- Seed must be kept constantly wet, requiring multiple waterings daily.
- Seeded areas are prone to weed invasions. Bare soils contain weed seeds just waiting for the right conditions to grow. Frequent watering will bring them to life.
- Seeded areas can not take much traffic the first year until established.
- More fertilizer and water will be needed long term.
- Visual appearance will be unattractive until established.
- Uniformity of grass coverage will be spotty.
- Some areas will need to be reseeded.
- Once the seeds germinate, they will take a long time to grow into a lawn.
- Possibility of installation failure is much greater.
Cost vs. Value for Sod
- Higher initial cost is offset by short term delay of 2 to 3 weeks needed before area can be used for activities.
- Quick establishment of a mature lawn will mean less and less long term water usage.
- Installation of a mature lawn will need minimum weed control.
- Uniformity of grass coverage is 100%.
- A sodded lawn will be instantly visually attractive.
Cost vs. Value for Seed
- Lower initial cost is offset by the higher maintenance costs of long term watering and weed control that is necessary to establish a mature lawn from seed.
- The need for more frequent will mean higher long term water use.
- Delay of several months to a year is needed before area can be used for activities.
- Increased use of chemicals required for weed control.
- Uniformity of grass coverage will spotty for some time and visually unattractive.