feet in grassWe live in a society of instant gratification for sure. Many people like the idea of sodding because they don’t prefer to wait for a lawn to develop from the initiation of seeding. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, and you will have to make the decision of what is best for your new lawn area after weighing those features.

sodSodding a lawn is in essence a lawn transplant. Sod farms grow large fields of turfgrass and then harvest it for use in new lawn situations. Most sod products have a high concentration of Kentucky Bluegrass because its rhizomes (root structures) help it to knit together tightly versus bunch-type grasses. These fields start as bare dirt and are seeded, maintained with a lawn care program to grow thick, weed-free turf, and irrigated to deliver a nice lawn. The whole process from seed-to-sod can take 7-12 months to grow a product ready to harvest. A machine then comes and cuts pieces of sod with some of its roots still intact. These sod pieces can come in squares or rolls, and then installed to a new lawn area.

Installation of sod entails more than just throwing a piece down on dirt like a welcome mat. The area must be prepared by loosening the soil with a tiller or machinery with similar implements. Since most of the root system of sod is damaged when it is harvested, it needs to have loose, well-drained soil to grow its repairing root system into. Often times, starter fertilizer is also applied to this prepared soil bed to give abundant nutrients to stimulate new root growth. The sod pieces or rolls are then laid fitting tightly as possible, so not to show seams. Areas on banks benefit from having large pins installed to hold the sod fast so a hard rain won’t dislocate it before it begins to root into the soil.

Sod will provide you with an instant lawn but it is at least 4 times as expensive as seeding. It can be an attractive option if you have pets or a lot of traffic on lawn areas, because it will tolerate minor wear better than new seedlings. It will require much more watering than a newly seeded lawn. The grass plants are very mature and the soil underneath it will need to not dry out, or you’ll be throwing your money away if it isn’t properly watered. Depending upon temperatures, your new sod can start to root within a few weeks to month. Remember, it takes awhile to grow a healthy root system, so keep your newly sodded lawn watered well for the first year. You’ll also need to aerate your lawn regularly if it contains Kentucky Bluegrass due to the abundance of rhizomes in the root system.

grass seed in handSeeding a lawn is an economical choice to establishing a new lawn. Economics aren’t its only advantage. In situations where the grass only needs improved versus starting from scratch, there are lawn seeding methods that can introduce new grass plants into weak turf areas to fill them in. Plus, seed comes in a variety of blends which can make it match your existing lawn better. If you are repairing only a portion of the lawn and sod it with a predominantly Kentucky Bluegrass sod, you will be able to notice a texture and color variation easier than if you use seed. Seed will also need to be watered, but doesn’t require quite as deep of a soaking as sodding.

Seeding does have some disadvantages like the implications for not using herbicides for a number of months until the seed matures. It also will be more likely to need touch-up work in the first year. Areas will, at times, wash out and need some spot-seeding to fill in areas.

Most property owners will elect the seeding option for economic reasons. Both methods are great choices with different challenges. To discuss which option is right for your lawn, find a lawn care company that can perform both operations and have them visit your site to help you decide which option you should choose.

Let’s Talk About Your Lawn Care Needs!


My property is:

ResidentialCommercial/Other

My Biggest Lawn Care Challenges for my property in Lancaster, York, Lebanon, or Dauphin County, PA (check all that apply):

CrabgrassBroadleaf Weeds (dandelions, clover, etc.)Lawn ThicknessLawn ColorNutsedgeGrubsTurf Disease/Fungi

LimestoneSurface-Feeding Insects (chinch bugs, sod webworms)Soil TestingAerationSeedingTopdressingTurf Growth Regulator