There are two methods to establish new grass in your lawn: by seed or using sod. Sod refers to mature grass exploded over surface soil and held together by its origins. Installing sod is merely a matter of transplanting, similar to moving an established plant from indoors to outside. Even though a more expensive process than seeding, sodding has several advantages, such as flexibility when planting, since you can lay it at any moment during the season. The “Palmetto” varietal of St. Augustine grass is a fast grower that thrives in Mediterranean climates and carries root fast, which makes it an ideal choice when sodding a lawn in U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zones 8 through 10.
Search your lawn for rubbish, stones, large limbs and debris left from building function and discard. Remove weeds by hand as required. Turn the soil having a mechanized tiller until loosened and aerated.
Apply a starter fertilizer high in nitrogen and phosphorous, such as 10-20-10, at a rate of 10 lbs per 1,000 square foot. Add 1 inch of compost over the top layer of the soil. Till the starter fertilizer and compost to a depth of 4 inches to incorporate.
Rank the tines of a garden rake against a stationary surface of the lawn, such as the edge of the pavement, porch or driveway. Rake the lawn at a straight row until you reach the end of the yard. Increase the pressure on the rake that the closer you get to the end of the lawn to make a downward 1- to 2-percent slope away from the fixed surface. Continue raking the entire yard.
Return to the start of the row and then row again. The soil must be 1 inch below the amount of the fixed surface when completed to allow the sod to fit against it properly. Continue grading the soil, sloping it from all fixed surfaces. Also fill in any holes in the ground, as they gather water and inhibit runoff.
Turn the rake over and place the bottom of the tines from the borders of their fixed surfaces and then press firmly to tamp it down. Fill the lawn roller’s drum with water and then roll above the ground the exact same manner you graded it — row in one direction.
Irrigate the ground with 1/2 inch of water, which works out to approximately 2-1/2 gallons of water per square foot . Permit the planting site to settle for a single week.
Moisten the topsoil gently with a hose if not moist from the previous irrigation.
Rank the loose end of this roll St. Augustine sod in the left end of their lawn and unroll it over the ground. If you need to lay the other roll of sod at the exact same row following the very first to make it into the end of the lawn, unroll a new roll where you left off and cut to fit using the utility knife. Fill at the seam where the two pieces of sod join soil or compost, and tamp down lightly with a garden spade.
Rank the loose end of another roll of sod on the right end of the lawn as you did with the left hand. Unroll the sod and cut to fit using the utility knife, then filling the flux using soil as required and tamping it into position.
Alternate between the left and right sides of the lawn placing sod, unrolling and cutting to fit as required. However, stagger the ends of adjacent rows and create a brick-wall pattern to avoid one seam running across the width of the lawn. As you reach the end of the roll after laying an adjacent strip, then stop a few yards short of the end and cut it using the utility knife. When you roll up the strip beside it, then don’t cut it short, and so on for the remainder of the lawn. After the sod strips match in the middle of the lawn, you most likely have to cut the previous roll lengthwise to allow it to fit between the 2 strips on either side of it.
Survey the lawn for uniformity in height. If you see a few layers of sod sitting a little lower than others, add enough soil underneath them to raise them until level with the remainder of the lawn.
Drain 2/3 of this water from the lawn roller and go over the lawn again to release any air trapped underneath the sod. Water the sod daily to keep it moist until it takes root.