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Is Fall a Good Time to Sod?
By Don Schlup

Cooler autumn weather signals one of the ideal times to sod a new lawn or upgrade your old, tired lawn.

For the most immediate impact and gratification, plant sod. The hard part of growing a healthy root system has been taken care of and all you have to do is install the new sod on a foundation of well-drained soil. There is less weed competition and less frequency of watering when planting sod.

Build your soil with good organic matter and don't skimp when planting a lawn. They key to a deep-rooted lawn and one that is draught tolerant is proper soil preparation.

Incorporate a minimum of three cubic yards of quality compost per 1,000 square feet of lawn area. The compost should be worked to a depth of four inches or more, and the deeper the better.

Moisten the prepared soil bed several inches deep several days before you purchase the sod. The soil should be slightly moist when sod is installed but not so wet that you leave footprints in the ground.

Water the new sod daily and apply 1/2 inch of water per sprinkler zone. Set out rain gauges to measure the amount of water being delivered by your sprinkler system.

Sod is an amazing marvel of grass plants that will root into the soil within two to three weeks. Tug on the sod gently to determine if it's well rooted.

Mow the sod as needed, even if it hasn't rooted down. When the grass reaches three inches tall, allow the sod to dry out slightly so you can mow the grass diagonally to the direction in which the sod was laid. Catch the grass clippings. Then, resume normal watering procedures to permit the sod to knit down into the soil.

Once established, you can water less frequently. Develop a schedule that waters deeply to promote a well-established root system.