How To Choose Sod Type For Your New Lawn

Sod is a homeowner's dream if your goal is an instant green lawn. The key is picking the right type of sod for your area.

Local Availability

The first thing to consider is what type of sod is available locally. There are two reasons for this. First and foremost, shipping sod long distances puts a lot of stress on the grass. The sod can't be allowed to dry out during travel, so any delays could lead to sod death or major root damage that will prevent the sod from establishing well in your lawn. Shipping sod is also expensive simply because it is delicate.

Another issue with sod that is shipped in is that the grass may not be adapted to your local environment, which includes both the climate and the soil type. Many bigbox-style stores ship in sod from regional distributors. Unless that distributor is nearby, the sod they receive won't grow as well in your area as it would if you had chosen sod from a local sod company or turf farm.

Site Use

Consider how you plan to use the lawn you are planting. Will it primarily be for looks or do you have pets or children that will be playing on it daily? If a green lawn is all you desire, then planting a mixed sod that has a combination of warm and cool-season grasses can provide you with the greenest lawn for the most seasons, generally at least spring through fall, but you may be able to enjoy a green lawn year-round in mild climates.

For a lawn that will be heavily trafficked, check out more durable grass varieties. Zoysia, for example, is extremely durable, particularly if the lawn sees heavy use and is exposed to drought. Kentucky bluegrass is another popular option throughout the United States because of its durability and resistance to a wide range of climatic conditions.

Exposure and Microclimate

How exposed your lawn is also affects your choice. Some grass varieties, like St. Augustine, for example, don't do well in areas prone to freezes and it needs full, all-day sun to thrive. If you have heavy tree cover or cold winters, this isn't the sod type for you.

For shade, fescues are usually the preferred grass type. Fescue won't do as well if it is exposed to extreme heat, which means it thrives when growing in the dappled sunlight below your landscape trees. It's also frost hardy, meaning that a freeze will send it into dormancy but it won't kill it. Knowing your climate and exposure in the yard will help you choose the right type of sod.

Contact a sod company in your area for more assistance.