Knowledge Base

Sod Basics
Which sod is best for you?

We offer a variety of sods depending on where you are in California. From high elevation, valley floor or ocean breeze inlets. The following list of sod types that are the most popular, depending on need and personal preferences Read More

Drought Tolerant Sod

There are many choices of drought tolerant sod varieties to choose from. Read More

Watering

Different sods take different amounts of water to stay healthy. Start with determining the type of sod you have. Soil types also can have an effect on how long you soil can retain water. If you have a heavy clay soil (clay will hold water) verses a sandy soil (sand won’t hold water). Keeping the lawn wet all the time can damage roots and growth as well as letting it dry out too much. Find the balance between the two. (most modern sods and combinations of soil types can get away with every other day watering in high heat environments.) Read More

Winter Watering

Watering your mature lawn during the winter months consists of “little” to “no” watering each week. Winter rainfall is always helpful to keep lawns healthy and looking beautiful. Just remember that during the winter months, your lawn will not even need half the amount of water used in the warm months. Be wise and save money by turning off the irrigation system when the day and night temperatures turn cool. Tip: Install a rain sensor on your clock, or install a wifi connected controller with auto weather adjusting. Read More

Ways to prepare your soil for new sod.

Ground preparation is the most work you will do for your new sod. After years of soil compaction, it is vital that the soil be broken up for new sod roots to establish in. Read more on the different methods of preparing soil for sod.

Ground prep not only involves breaking up the soil, but also the removing of old sod and weeds. After rototilling, old debris, such as tree roots and rocks, need to be raked out and the soil surface raked smooth to grade for installing new sod. Make sure that the grade is at least 1 inch below patio or cement sidewalks for easy mowing.

Some choose the method of spraying an herbicide on existing vegetation and allowing the herbicide to kill anything that is growing in the area. The area is then rototilled and dead vegetation raked out and the final grade is done to make sure the irrigation system will be most effective.

The last method of ground preparation is the use of a sod cutter. This can be rented from a local equipment rental store. The old sod is cut out with some of the soil. The ground still needs to be rototilled, and because a sod cutter removes some soil, it is likely that you will have to import extra top- soil to replace it. In the case of bringing rocks up to the surface top soil is also sometimes required. Contact your local bulk material yard for what is available in your area and pricing.

Note, when adding amendments or topsoil to your job area, the best way is to rototill it into your existing soil. Layering topsoil on top of existing soil is not as effective as incorporating your additives by rototilling all together. There has been a lot said about grading. Grading is another important step in ground preparation. Your final grading will ensure that you will have good drainage. A landscaper’s rake is a great tool for making the area perfect for your sod installation. A water roller will also help eliminating any air pockets in the soil and also to ensure that your sod has good contact with the soil.

Lawn Aeration

Aeration of your lawn is a maintenance practice that many people forget to do. If your lawn has been well used and is compacted, aeration is really important. Without aeration, the amount of oxygen, nutrients and water will be constricted. This will over time, diminish the health and growth of your lawn. Read More

Bermuda Control in Cool Season Grasses

Bermuda is a low growing invasive grass that can be found in various landscapes. To eliminate Bermuda in an existing lawn, try some of the following guidelines. Read More

Lawn Aeration

Lawns that become compacted may need to be aerated. Aeration is done by using a machine that pokes holes into the ground throughout the lawn, removing plugs of soil to help stimulate roots and new growth. Best time to aerate is in the spring or fall. Read More

What is a Water Star Rated Seed?

Water Star is a trademark of Pennington Seed given to qualified seed that has been tested by the Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance (TWCA) and proven to use significantly less water. TWCA results are based on computer analysis of digital images, density and green turf cover.

  • The TWCA is a non-profit organization
  • Provides testing to give the stamp of approval to drought resistant turfgrass varieties
  • Testing is done over a period of two years
  • After all data is collected and analyzed, the TWCA notifies Pennington Seed whether the seed is qualified.
  • Water Star qualified seed can not only survive limited water availability but can also maintain overall plant health during drought conditions.
Sod Delivery
When and how will sod be delivered?

Our dispatch department has a daily task of routing trucks with orders throughout California. Deliveries are made within hours of being harvested from the fields. The correct amount of sod is cut, rolled, placed by machine on a pallet and loaded onto a truck for next day delivery. Your scheduled time is a calculation of weight and location of jobsite in a fuel efficient manner. Read More

What type of truck delivers the sod?

For most orders, the delivery trucks are approximately 60’ long. The trucks are heavy and are built to haul heavy loads. There are many areas that a trucks of this size cannot safely stop and deliver sod. We try not to hinder traffic flow.

These large trucks also have an oversized forklift “piggybacking” off the back of the truck. This piece of equipment will set your pallets of sod easily and safely curbside in front of your jobsite.

Two of the six farms we deliver from, have a smaller truck called a “bobtail” to delivery sod down narrow streets, and mountainous roads. The “bobtail” truck is shorter, only about 32’ in length. There is a fee to use these smaller sized trucks, but it is usually a bargain, when you think of having to drive to the farm yourself, pick up the sod, drive back home and then hand unload your vehicle.

This type of truck can deliver anywhere in Northern California. However, there are some cities that restrict by ordinance those large delivery trucks. This may occur in your jurisdiction.

When is a Waiver required?

A waiver is a permission slip to go onto private property. Your driveway and sidewalks are considered private property. Customers must be OK with an oversized and heavy forklift and pallet of sod going over cemented driveways and sidewalks. The sod farms are not in the business of driveway repairs, when they are cracked due to excessive weight.

As mentioned, the waiver is a permission slip the customer must give to the sod farms to deliver sod on private property. Deliveries are usually delivered curbside in front of the jobsite, on the street. Not on the sidewalk. We can accommodate requests for a driveway drop with a waiver. Sod may be put into the backyard on request with a waiver, and that there is a gate or opening at least 12’ wide. Again, remember that the forklift and pallet of sod is heavy and could leave ruts in your graded soil. Be careful what you request. Customer must also be on sight to open the gate on delivery and spot the driver where to place the pallet of Sod. We cannot be responsible for pets making their “great escape” when the gates are opened.

Sod Installation
Sod Installation

Your soil should be leveled, dry and ready to lay sod down before the sod arrives. Use a water roller to help with compaction after you have rototilled and use a landscape rake to level out the soil and make the surface smooth. Leave a bit of a crown in the center so that water will drain towards the outer edges during watering and wet season. Keep the soil dry to keep from working in a muddy environment. (except for temperature over 90 degrees, you can lightly mist the soil before installing.)

When the sod is delivered, install it THE VERY DAY it arrives. The most important thing you should be aware of while laying the sod is making sure the seams are butted up nice and tight together, no gaps. Staggering the seams on each row helps too, like a brick pattern. This also is the last time you will be walking on the sod for 14 days. That includes pets. Read More

The first day of watering

It is very important that the sod gets hydrated with water as soon as the sod has been put on the ground. Remember, no watering on the pallet. Soak your sod with your irrigation system 30-40 min on each zone. This step is very important. The following day you will start the watering schedule every day as directed on the watering care sheet we provide. Heat and wind are elements that can adjust any watering schedule. Read More

When do you Fertilize?

Fertilizing is an important step to your lawn to be the nicest looking on the block. We suggest that you put down an all purpose fertilizer onto the bare ground before you lay the sod. The fertilizer will be right there for the roots to absorb and encourage new and quick growth. The fertilizer that we recommend is called Triple 15. (15.15.15) Many manufacturers have this type of fertilizer available and can be found most anywhere. To continue to have the grass as beautiful as the day it came to you, it needs to be fertilized every 2-3 months during the growing Season.

The first 14 days of your new sod is critical.

Why is this time so critical? You must remember that the sod has had its roots severed and needs some TLC to get the roots to establish in your prepared soil. Proper watering is a priority as this time.

The sod needs to be kept moist. Not like a swamp, but like a soaked sponge that has been wrung out, so not to puddle. This is accomplished by watering your sod 2- 3 times a day for 2 weeks. More water may be needed if you have wind or excessive heat. Water only in the morning and early afternoon during this time. How many minutes to water each day can be as different as the different types of sprinklers heads. You may start out at 10 minutes but find out that it is not enough water to keep your sod moist, and adjustments are necessary. This is when customers may run into trouble. Just remember you need to adjust, adjust, adjust.

One set time will not accommodate all sods or soils. Another important factor that needs to be remembered at this time when putting down sod is that there should be No traffic on the sod during the first 2 weeks. That also means pets are also to be kept off. Moist sod is not like memory foam it does not spring back when pressure is applied.

First mowing.

The first time you mow your new sod is when the sod has established enough to not move around when mowing. This usually occurs after 2 weeks of daily watering. When you are getting ready to mow, turn your irrigation system off for at least 2 days so that the sod can firm up and not be too wet for a mower. Sod that is too wet will leave wheel ruts. The second thing you do is raise your lawn mower to the highest setting. The first day of mowing will be just a trim off the top. Each consecutive mowing you can lower the mower until you reach the desired height. Note: Never mow off more than 1/3 the length of the grass. That may scalp your lawn and damage the lawn. Read More

How long can rolls of sod sit on a pallet?

The clock is ticking once the sod has been harvested. Sod needs water soon after harvest. Watering the sod while rolled up on the pallet can damage the sod. (a light misting is ok) During the summer months, the rolled sod is warm, and pouring water on the rolls can “steam” the sod. Our advice is to put the sod down the day you receive it. During the cooler months of the year, (winter) sod sitting over night on the pallet is not as critical.

Trouble Shooting
Too much water, not enough water

Too much water during the summer months can cause lawn disease. Fungus is the most common problem. Always water your lawn at the coolest part of the day if you can. We like 1 am in the morning. If you have an irrigation clock you can set it and forget it. Remember, the warmer the weather, the more minutes on the clock will be needed.

No clock? Irrigate with sprinklers as early in the morning as you can. Water is not free, we need to conserve as much as we can. If possible no afternoon watering and no night time watering. Daytime watering when it is hot can waste water due to evaporation before it even hits the ground. Also, fungus is more likely to happen when the ground is extra moist and hot.

Fungus- Lawn Disease

Lawn Fungus is a common disease. Fungus will usually occur when a customer is putting a lot of water on sod that has been heated by the sun during the summer months. This is why night watering should be eliminated. This combination is a recipe for fungus to get started. Read More

Insect Control in Lawns

Insects can damage and ultimately kill patches of your lawn, without immediate action. Most infestations can be controlled by the appropriate insecticides. Read More

Lawn Care After Installation

Maintenance of your lawn is an ongoing job. Proper irrigation, fertilization and pre-emergent products will help keep your lawn green and healthy and looking beautiful. Read More

Turf Disease

It is important to diagnose your lawns fungus problem quickly, as fungus can take over a lawn in a few days. Most often a trip to your local garden shop or hardware store will provide you with a fungicide to retard it’s progress and allow your lawn to recover. Be mindful that sometimes a professional licensed sprayer is required if your efforts aren’t successful. Read More