Home>Discussions>YARD & GARDEN>rule of thumb? sod or seed?
5 posts / 0 new
Last post
rule of thumb? sod or seed?

This is the year!
I need to reclaim a quadrant of my front lawn from crab grass and am ready do the job whatever way is best.
Is there a rule of thumb for when to use seed vs. sod?
Additionally, it is a medium sized piece of ground (by midwestern standards), 45 x 25 feet. Can I do it myself?
You know; dig up the old, treat the soil, level the ground, order the sod, lay the sod, etc?

It is on my new year's to-do list but how to do it... that is the question.

Thanks, U-N-T

Re: rule of thumb? sod or seed?

Sod can be done anytime the ground isn't frozen. Keeping it from drying out during the summer drought may take a bit of watering.
The same is true to a greater extent for seed.
2 ways to go for seed especially if your prone to hot, dry summers. The first is to treat the lawn with a pre-emergent for crabgrass in the spring. Fertilize as recommended. My experience with organics is better than standard chemical fertilizer. Then spray for broadleaf weeds & get them under control. In the fall, mid august to september, overseed with a slit seeder or dethatch & seed. A minimal amount of watering may be needed.
The second way is to kill the grass with glyphosphate starting in early august/late july. After the grass is dead, take it out. Ammend & till the soil, reseed & cover with screened topsoil or compost. Fertilize & water as required.
I did the second method last summer with a patch a little more than half what you have & it was a chore. Of course the usual summer dry spell didn't end when it usually does so I still had to water a lot, but at least the temperatures were more moderate.
Don't use straw as a cover. It has too many weed seeds.
This website goes more in depth. I have used his advice for plants as well as lawn care & I think he has a good handle on things horticultural.

Re: rule of thumb? sod or seed?

Senior Member Ed21,
Thanks for the thoughts.
Honestly, I am ready to forego the crabgrass treatment process and move right to the sod or seeding.
The ground is very uneven and it is time for an overhaul.
If you have any thoughts on the sod vs. see question, please share.

A. Spruce
Re: rule of thumb? sod or seed?
A. Spruce

I prefer sod for a number of reasons. It's faster, instant green, chokes weeds before they get started, usable within weeks, more successful than spotty germinating seeds, and you get to enjoy a thick lush lawn all year, not a brown backyard with a few sprigs of tender grasslings that you can't walk on or utilize the yard because of.

I'm not a fan of herbicides in general, because they pollute the soil - regardless of claims by the manufacturer - and because they only kill what's on the surface, when you till the soil you bring new weed seeds to the surface where they get warmth, light, and plenty of water and nutrients for a happy healthy start. Skip the herbicide and just work the soil.

It's a good idea to amend the soil before laying sod. Some folks say the opposite, that the grass needs to learn to grow in whatever is available, however this can stunt the growth and the success of plantation. Generally, I cover the area with 3" or more of compost - if you have municipal green waste pick-up, then they likely compost it and sell it through local landscape material suppliers. This is what I use. Work the compost in to a depth of 6", rake the area out to level and grade as necessary. Roll with a lawn roller to compact, lightly water and let sit over night. Install the sod, roll again with lawn roller, water well. Water as necessary to keep well moist and cool (during times of heat ). That's about it. Within a week you'll be mowing, within another week you'll be able to use the lawn nearly as you please. :)

Re: rule of thumb? sod or seed?

If you go right to seeding, the crabgrass will germinate with the grass. If you apply a preemergent to control & keep the crabgrass from germinating, the grass won't germinate either.
If you apply the preemergent in the spring, a product with Dimension in it is probably best, you may be surprised how much the grass that is left will grow & fill in. If it's still too thin in the fall, then you can reseed.
The crabgrass you had last year left thousands of seeds ready to go this summer. If you don't treat, your patch last year is likely to grow.

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.