Grass Farm  | Garden Accents

Quality Sod Lawns
Since 1969

Morgan Hill & Gilroy, CA

Any problems with your new sod will be obvious within the first week. Please notify Grass Farm no later than 2 weeks from the delivery date for problems or questions. Your ground preparation should be complete before your sod arrives. Sod is perishable and should be installed immediately. However, if you cannot install your sod immediately upon its arrival, keep it moist and in the shade. Do not cover with plastic, as this will cause heat build-up and cook your sod. If you wish to cover your sod, use a bed sheet, burlap or other breathable material.

Step 1: Pre-plant Fertilizer

Just before rolling out your sod, apply a pre-plant fertilizer to the ground. This helps the sod transplant more readily. Grass Farm offers a fertilizer low in nitrogen and higher in potassium & phosphorus than typically used for maintenance of established turf. This promotes quick root growth for your new sod lawn. In hot weather above 90’F, pre-plant fertilizer is not recommended at time of installation. You may use the pre-plant once the temperature has dropped below 80’F on top of the lawn as you would a maintenance fertilizer. Always follow directions on the fertilizer bag.

Step 2: Sod Installation

Start laying sod along the longest straight edge of your lawn area. Fit joints and seams closely; do not overlap or leave gaps. Stagger Pieces so seams form a brick like pattern. A sod knife works best
to cut around borders, trees and sprinkler heads. In hot weather above 85 degrees Fahrenheit, water lightly after each 200 square feet installed.

Step 3: Rolling Sod

Water lightly, then roll sod to bring lawn into close contact with your prepared soil. Rolling eliminates air spaces between the sod and soil, which enhances your lawn’s rooting and prevents
premature drying.

Step 4: Watering

Water is the most important aspect of sod transplanting. For the next 7 to 10 days, keep the sod moist (not flooded) at all times. Generally, an application of 1/4 inch of water three times
per day at 5:00am, 10:00am and 2:00pm is sufficient. Evening watering, between 3:00pm and1:00am is not recommended as this could cause turf diseases. Gradually transition from watering three times per day from initial Installation watering down to the Maintenance watering schedule which is explained on the reverse side of this sheet. Keep in mind, in hot, dry windy weather it may be necessary to sprinkle new sod even more often to avoid wilting and sod damage. Keep your eye out for dry spots, which will require irrigation adjustment or hand watering for new sod to survive. Sod lawns can be damaged from too much or too little watering. A correct watering schedule is crucial to new and established lawns. Remember once established our Double Dwarf Champion only need water every 4th day in the heat of the summer. If you have any questions, please call our Customer Service Representatives for full explanation.

The key to the continued health of your new lawn is the right amount of water, mowing and a regular fertilizer application program.


Most lawn problems result from improper watering (either too much or too little). After sod is established, water less often for longer periods of time, paying close attention to the
amount of water applied. To judge how much time this will take for your lawn, you can audit your sprinkler system by placing cups in the lawn area and measuring the amount of water captured in a specific length of time. Watering between 3am-7am is the best time of day for established lawns. Double Dwarf Champion should only need water every 4th day in the summer. Conduct your water audit to determine how much time you should water with your specific sprinkler system (located under Education Center)Detailed information on watering is available from Grass Farm Customer Service.


Regular weekly mowing is strongly recommended (in winter you can go at least 2 weeks). Mow your lawn when the blade height is between 2.5 to 3.5 inches, never cutting off more than 1/3 of the entire leaf blade in one mowing. Be cautious when mowing; scalped or closely cut areas damage your lawn and provide opportunities for weed infestation. A sharp, properly adjusted lawn mower produces a clean cut allowing the grass blade to heal fast. Dull mowers injure the lawn’s leaf blades (which may affect the overall health of your lawn). Grass cycling recycles nutrients back to the lawn and simplifies mowing by eliminating the need to bag clippings. Ask a Grass Farm representative for current information on lawn health tips.


A healthy, vigorous lawn is the best barrier to weed infestation. Tightly laid sod can choke out most weeds. Proper watering and fertilization will also prevent most pests and diseases from attacking. In the event a problem does develop, visit Grass Farm’s Turf Supply Store for products and information.

Seeding a Lawn

Preparing to seed a new lawn calls for many of the same steps as sodding. The key tasks you will undertake are:

  • Selecting the right seed
  • Preparing the ground
  • Planting
  • Watering
Grass seed is available in a variety of blends that are designed to suit different purposes. You can find a blend made especially for shady areas, for play areas that take hard use, that require less water, or that will give the deepest blue_green color. In selecting your seed, it is important to pay attention to the Crop and Weed figures on the label. Doing so will protect you from actually planting thousands of weed and other undesirable seeds along with your grass seed. Crop tells you what percentage of the seed is a different variety that’s not supposed to be in this mix. Weed tells you what percentage is actually weed seed. Your best choice is a seed that shows 0 Crop and 0 Weed content. How important is this? When you consider that there are 2_1/2 million seeds in one pound of bluegrass, just a .05% weed content means you would be planting 1,250 weed seeds with each pound of bluegrass!
This is where the majority of your work comes in when planting a lawn.

There are several steps to follow when preparing your planting site:

  • Clear the area
  • Add compost and Rototill
  • Install sprinklers
  • Grade the area
  • Seed

Step 1: Clear the area

Clear the area to be planted of all debris, including rocks over I inch diameter. Smaller rocks are OK and, in fact, improve drainage. If you have persistent weeds such as crabgrass or Bermuda grass, chemical herbicides like Roundup can be used to help sterilize the area (consult directions for proper use).

Step 2: Rototill and compost

The soil should be rototilled to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. For the long-term health ofyour lawn, mix in an organic landscape orplanting mix to help loosen the soil. A 1/3compost to 2/3 native soil (6 yards compost to 1,000 square feet) is recommended to ensure a long lasting lawn. Spread the compost evenly over the entire seeding area, then rototill it in. Level the area, smoothing out high and low spots.

Step 3: Install Sprinkler System

An automatic sprinkler system is invaluable in germinating your new lawn and in handling ongoing watering needs. The newest SDI KISSS (Sub-Surface Drip Irrigation) technology can save you up to 70% of water than the traditional “above ground” irrigation systems. In the 15-30 days, your lawn may need to be watered 2-3 times a day to keep the area moist as the seeds germinate. Later, the best watering times are early in the morning (4 to 5 a.m.) when heat and wind speeds are low. Thus, automatic irrigation timers are a valuable tool. Additionally, in order to have a consistent color and growth rate throughout your lawn, uniform watering coverage is a must. This is very difficult to achieve with hand watering systems. After your automatic sprinklers are installed, the areas covering the trenches should be jetted with water to reduce future problems with sinking and settling.

Step 4: Grade the Area

Do a final grading of the lawn area. It should be smooth and level, without low spots or dips that may fill with water. All run_ off should flow away from the house. Dirt should be 1/2_ inch below lawn border.

Step 5: Planting

Planting involves the distribution of fertilizer, then the lawn seed, and finally top dressing. Just prior to spreading seed, a pre_ plant fertilizer should be distributed over the top of the soil. These starter fertilizers have a high phosphorous level that helps establish a strong root system. Now, sow the grass seed. Soil temperatures of at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit will give you the best success. Use a spreader with controls for seeding, instead of broadcasting the seed by hand. A spreader distributes the seed evenly over the ground, giving you correct, consistent coverage without waste. Check your spreader directions and seed label for the proper coverage rates. After distributing the seed, cover the area with a very thin layer (I /8_inch) of potting soil or peat moss, using a roller_type top dresser. This applies the correct thickness of material to help keep the seed moist with consistency across the entire lawn. Hand distribution of top-dressing results in uneven coverage_some too thick, some too thin_and thus, uneven germination of your lawn.

Step 6: Watering

Seed needs three things to germinate: light, warmth and moisture. Your part in applying water correctly plays a large role in how successful your lawn germination will be. On planting, apply I inch of water, saturating the soil to a depth of 8 inches in two waterings. After the initial watering, change to a 1/4_inch application per watering, saturating the soil to a depth of 2 inches. Do not allow the seed to entirely dry out once you have begun applying water. In hot weather, this may mean watering 4 or more times a day. In cooler weather, or when it rains, you can cut back on your watering. The key point is to not skimp on the watering when the seed is germinating. Do not apply the water all at once; instead, use multiple waterings. If some areas appear to be coming up bare, you can overseed these areas and apply some hand watering.

Step 7: Mowing

When your new grass reaches a height of about 3 inches, it’s time for your first mowing. Set the mower height between 2 and 2_1/2 inches so you are cutting off no more than 1/3 of the leaf blade. About 45 days after planting, start your regular maintenance fertilization program. See Grass Farm literature on lawn maintenance for further instructions or visit our “Helpful Tips” page on our website at