Posts Tagged ‘how to get rid of old grass for new sod’

How to Get Rid of Old Grass for New Sod

Friday, December 17th, 2021

If your yard needs renewing, you can install new sod, but not before removing the old grass. Installing new sod grass is the quickest way to transform your patchy yard into a green and luxurious lawn. However, you still need careful planning, preparation, and installation when laying new sod for effective results.

If you’re ready to upgrade your lawn, this article focuses on the steps to follow when getting rid of old grass for new sod.

Steps to Follow When Removing Old Grass for New Sod

Step 1: Gather Tools Needed

You’ll need the following tools:

  • Sod
  • Carpet knife
  • Organic matter/ grass fertilizer
  • Lawn roller
  • Tape measure
  • Rototiller
  • Lawn edger
  • Spading fork
  • Soil Rake
  • Lawn sprinkler

Step 2: Prepare Your Lawn

The first step is to mark the area where you will be laying the new sod. After marking, water the area 24-48 hours before the removal process to soften the soil.

Lastly, decide which method of grass removal you will use.

Step 3: Remove the Old Grass

If your lawn is extremely small, a grape hoe will do the trick. For larger lawns, sod/turf cutters are more efficient.

When you buy or rent a sod cutter from your local hardware store, all you have to do is adjust the blade to the appropriate height to clear the existing grass.

Step 4: Till the Soil

When tilling the soil, you’ll need a rototiller. Like the sod cutter, you can buy or rent a rototiller that penetrates your lawn down to a 6-inch (15cm) depth. Tilling helps to break up compacted soil allowing easy rooting of new sod.

In addition, tilling provides an opportunity for you to insert compost into your lawn which increases the quality of your topsoil by adding nutrients.

Note: Tilling increases the chances of weed sprouting. You can avoid this by:

  • Solarization: Kills weeds by overheating them under a thick blanket of clear plastic paper. For effective results, the solarization process requires two months before starting your tilling process.
  • Herbicides: Spray herbicides on your old grass or turf for approximately four weeks before tilling.

Step 4: Adjust the Soil Height and Slope

Now that you’ve tilled your lawn, it’s time to level the soil using a lawn roller.  When leveling, ensure that the soil is 1-1.5 inches lower than the pavements to prevent flooding. It’s okay to add or reduce the soil until you achieve an even height.

Now that you’ve leveled the lawn, you’ll want to focus on the slope. The slope of your lawn is important to ensure smooth drainage. Measure your lawn slopes 2-2.5 inches descending in the first five feet from pavements and building foundations.

Step 5: Spread the Lawn Starter Fertilizer

Keep in mind that sod needs nutrients and minerals to grow. Add essential nutrients by using a lawn starter fertilizer on your tilled and leveled soil before installing your sod.

Lawn starter fertilizers are rich in phosphorus nutrients which promote quick growth and rooting of the grassroots.

Note: Do not use fertilizers designed for mature grass because they lack phosphorus nutrients.

Step 6: Order Your New Sod

Before ordering your sod, measure the square footage of your lawn using a tape measure and calculate the amount of turf needed. Please see our page on how to measure for more information:

It’s recommended that you increase your sod order by 5-10% to account for trimmed or gap-free edges. So for example if you need 1500 square feet, your order should be between 1575 and 1650 square feet.

Step 7: Install Your New Sod

If you have a large lawn, you may want to pay for professional install, or at the very least, seek extra help from your family or friends. When installing your sod, arrange the square yard pieces in a brick-like pattern. The brick-laying pattern enables the seams to offset and establish perfectly and prevents the sod from dislocating or slipping.

As you install your sod, use a sod knife to shape the curves and edges of your yard to ensure a gap-free lawn. Use your lawn roller to press your sod in place for the finishing step and ensure complete sod-to-soil contact.

Step 8: Water Your Sod

After successful installation, water your sod for 10 minutes with a sprinkler. Repeat this step two times a day for two weeks before gradually reducing to once per day then two times a week.

Note: If you deprive your new sod of water, you will likely experience your grass drying out.

In Conclusion

When looking for the best way to revive your yard’s landscape, sod is the best option. Install your sod the right way and get a dense, green, and strongly rooted lawn that is appealing and weed-free.

Now that you understand how to get rid of old grass for newly sodded grass, it’s transformation time!