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Sod vs Seeding
Old 07-29-2008, 11:09 PM   #1
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Sod vs Seeding

Thinking about rolling sod on the back lawn versus planting seed. I'm not a gardening type, don't have any heavy equipment. What are the pro and cons of each and what's the best way to proceed? What are some horror stories/experiences. Live in the SE and dry weather is a factor as well as water restrictions.
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Old 07-29-2008, 11:15 PM   #2
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You're probably going to need to "rough up" the soil before sodding, and spread some loose soil on top before laying the sod down. At that point you could seed and save a ton of money. You would need to make sure its not too hot or cold for the seed to set and grow and give it plenty of water several times a day to keep it moist.

Sod is a little more forgiving, but a lot more expensive. Other issue is that sod will pretty much raise the ground level 2" or more. Make sure that doesnt cause a drainage problem on your property.
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Old 07-29-2008, 11:19 PM   #3
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wait til fall and seed...and WATER....then seed a week later...and WATER. starter fert with the first round of seed, then again in 4-6 weeks...let grass get 4-5"before first cut-cut it long


good luck
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Old 07-30-2008, 06:42 AM   #4
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I sodded my back yard, seeded my front. My back yard is steep, so seed would not have held. Even the sod started to slide during heavy rains. I had to stake the sod to get it to hold.

My seeded front yard starting looking as good or better than my sodded back yard about a year after planting. I also recommend seeding, water, fertilizer on a good base of raked topsoil. Both sod and seed require a lot of water to get going, and heat takes its toll on both. So I would wait until fall to seed. Save your money and go with seed unless you need an instant lawn fast.
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Old 07-30-2008, 08:12 AM   #5
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Yeah, sod is for quick results. Another reason would be serious weed issues that are best handled with total vegetation killers (a la Roundup). If you just seed, you'll still have the weeds; you can round up everything, and place sod down just a few days later.

But generally, in my experience I'd seed unless you're in a big rush.
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Old 07-30-2008, 08:43 AM   #6
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I LIKE St. Augustine grass, so sodding is the only option, because they haven't found a reliable way to grow, harvest and sell the seed for it. I would go with sod.....duh.
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Old 07-30-2008, 09:06 AM   #7
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If your yard is bare earth and ready to go, I'd sod. But if you need to pull up old clumps of grass etc. to get the soil level for sod, I would go with seed. My backyard was wrecked recently by having my two pine trees removed (leaning and too many roots). About 60% of the existing grass recovered. But I would have had quite a job digging down, cutting custom edge etc. to do sod right, where seed I was able to just "rough up" the dead areas and removed the surface grass. But you will be re-seeding missed spots and waiting weeks, sod is instant gratification.
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Old 07-31-2008, 09:27 AM   #8
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For sodding: I've read its best to buy from a sod farm. Just curious as to weather its best to have the same company lay the sod or get a journeyman / handyman

For seeding (approx 4,200 sf), where's the best place to purchase: ?? Lowe's , Home Depot or someplace else. We have a upsloping burm in the back yard and still debating on seed vs sod.

I'm getting estimates now. Do you think prices drop in the fall?
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Old 07-31-2008, 11:10 AM   #9
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I have done a lot of sodding. Did it a couple of times to over 6,000 SF back and front yards. I would buy from a Sod Farm (should be in the local Yellow Pages under Sod, Sod Farm or some such, much cheaper and much fresher product than the local hardware people (that is where they buy it). It is generally delivered on wood pallets (check to see if they a: charge a fee for the pallet and how you get the deposit back (most want you to return the pallets yourself). Generally a pallet holds about 500 SF (although I have seen some cut it back to 400 SF a pallet - large difference 100 SF, less per pallet, when you have about 4,000 SF to cover). My experience is limited to St Augustine Sod and it is relatively easy to do (I was 65 when I did it last) and, if the sod is fresh (and it should be), you can spread the job out over a few days. The tools needed are 1: a good Wheelbarrow, 2: a good sharp Machete and 3: a good pair (or two of work gloves) a strong back and some help would be nice too. It is simple "grunt work" - and as has already been posted water, water, and then water the stuff again for about 2 weeks. If it applies, and you do not have one yet, before sodding is the time to put in an irrigation system if you ever plan to put one in. That is another new subject but, it too can be a DIY project that will save yourself a lot of money (Tip use schedule 40 PVC Stock).
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Old 07-31-2008, 12:31 PM   #10
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You might consider Hydro seeding. Its a sprayed mixture of grass seed and a fertilizer binder often a blue green color. We did this on bare ground in the fall and by spring had a well established lawn. Application took about three hours on the 8000 sq ft.
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Old 07-31-2008, 01:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by USK Coastie View Post
You might consider Hydro seeding. Its a sprayed mixture of grass seed and a fertilizer binder often a blue green color. We did this on bare ground in the fall and by spring had a well established lawn. Application took about three hours on the 8000 sq ft.
I have been curious about the cost of Hydro-Seeding (obviously not to curious - or I would have known by now). Any idea of the cost-per-square foot for this stuff, guarantee (if any), what to look out for? I have seen it go down and it seems to be really simple.
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Old 07-31-2008, 02:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by USK Coastie View Post
You might consider Hydro seeding. Its a sprayed mixture of grass seed and a fertilizer binder often a blue green color. We did this on bare ground in the fall and by spring had a well established lawn. Application took about three hours on the 8000 sq ft.
Interesting, tell us more! I have lots of bare earth to do, what's the watering schedule like after application?
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Old 07-31-2008, 03:31 PM   #13
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Maybe its a myth or no longer true, but I thought that most of the seed used in hydroseeding tended to be varieties that quickly established themselves but werent particularly hardy or long lived.
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Old 07-31-2008, 05:17 PM   #14
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so you do seeding in the fall right before winter?
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Old 07-31-2008, 05:53 PM   #15
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Hydro seed applicators can use the seed mix you specify.

Different seed mixes for different uses and climates. Although the PNW is a major sod grower I vote for seeding in the fall if you are willing to parent it for about 6 weeks.
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Old 08-01-2008, 11:49 AM   #16
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August and September is the optimum time for seeding here in SW Ohio - we have humid days and cool evenings leading to dew forming every night and then still there is lots of strong daylight - both combine to make for fast growth and reduce your watering requirement.

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Old 08-01-2008, 11:51 PM   #17
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Cost IRRC was .50/sq ft after ground prep. We put it down last week of August. Watered 3x week until first frost. Did not cut until spring of the next year. Winter was normal with 2-3 feet of snow for cover and to provide moisture for early spring. Mowed after lawn was dry, fertilized and lawn has been gong ever since (4) years.

I think the trick is to get the lawn established in the late summer/early fall and let it winter over before it is mowed for the first time. Mine was 6 -8 inches at first cutting. Our lawn is Red Fescure which is a recommended grass for this area. Your area may be different.
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