How to Grow Sod

Using pregrown sod can instantly give your lawn a plush, green look. But patching or replanting your yard with sod does not have to mean purchasing it from a greenhouse or garden center. By selecting the right grass seed, creating a nutrient-rich soil mixture and germinating seeds in a warm environment, you can start to grow your own sod.   
 
Follow these steps to grow your own sod and then transplant it into your yard.

1. Select your grass.
 
If you know what grass species is currently in your yard, use the same species. If you are starting from scratch, choose your grass species based on your local climate and yard conditions. For sunny yards, a mixture of Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass and fine fescue works well. For shadier lawns, try using a fine fescue blend.
 
2. Set up your trays.
 
Ideally, you will start your sod in a greenhouse. A small, backyard greenhouse from the local home improvement store will do the trick. If you absolutely cannot obtain a greenhouse, you can try growing the sod in a sunroom or on a covered patio. Within your growing space, start lining up planting trays on shelves or on the floor. If youʼre growing a large amount of sod, cut the ends off your trays so you can connect them together and make one long tray.
 
3. Fill the trays and plant the seed.
 
Create a mix of one third vermiculite, one third topsoil and one third peat moss. Fill your trays with this mixture, and then sprinkle your grass seed generously on top. Add about 1/4 inch more of the soil mixture to cover the seeds, and then water the seeds as well. You can add a few drops of liquid plant food to the water before watering in order to boost grass growth.
 
4. Keep the grass growing.
 
Water your grass each day to keep the soil moist. Let it grow for six to eight weeks; it should be thick and lush by this time.
 
5. Prepare the planting area.
 
Use a rototiller to loosen the dirt in the area where you intend to plant your new sod. This ensures the soil is well aerated, which encourages better growth. Work some compost or decaying leaves into the soil to add nutrients, and then rake the area with a dirt rake to create a level surface. Water the area to ensure the dirt is moist.
 
6. Plant the sod.
 
Take one strip of sod and roll it up. It should lift easily out of the planting trays, as the grass roots will hold it together. Place it on the prepared soil, using pruning shears to cut the strip to fit the area if needed. Water the sod as well, and continue watering it daily for about two weeks to establish deep roots.
 
Purchasing sod can be expensive, but following the tips above will allow you to have a beautiful lawn without spending a fortune.