Sodding has definite advantages over other methods of establishing a new lawn, ie the instant transformation of your lawn to a new tailored look for your continuing use and enjoyment. It can be done anytime throughout the year except when the ground is frozen or covered with snow. When sodding is completed and the grass well rooted your lawn will only need proper care and will last indefinitely.
A soil test is always advisable. Your county extension agent can get this done for a small fee. His report will tell you how much lime (for lower pH soils) and the amount and kinds of fertilizer your soil may need, and the frequency of application. If you can not get this done before you sod, get it done after planting, and follow the recommended program on lime and fertilizer. Most soils are low in pH and lime is important to raise low pH soils to an ideal pH of between 6-7. High pH soils use sulphur to lower pH instead of lime. Winrock Zoysia likes most soils, whether sandy, silty or clay based.
Grade the lawn to a smooth surface sloping slightly away from the house. A slope of one foot to 50 linear feet is usually adequate for drainage. Remember to smooth off the surface as much as possible so your lawn will be smooth and will mow without scalping. Steep slopes are difficult to water and mow.
Plow, disc, till or otherwise loosen the soil about 6 inches deep. Remove rocks, sticks, and clods that are near the surface. The lime (or sulphur if high pH) and fertilizer needed should then be applied and mixed in the loosened soil. If you do not have soil test results, about 2 pounds of lime per 1,000 square feet is usually adequate.
Use fertilizer called for in your soil test results. If no soil test was made, we suggest 2 pounds of 10-20-10 or 13-13-13 fertilizer per 1,000 square feet. Both the lime and fertilizer should be thoroughly mixed into dry soil before sodding or irrigating.
Sod normally comes in strips 18 inches by 24 inches, and is easily laid. Lay as close together as possible. Stagger the lateral joints if desired and butt the ends close together. If available, roll with a light roller after laying to firm the pads against the soil.
As soon as the sod is laid, water until water is soaking into the ground beneath. For the next two to three weeks repeat heavy watering every two or three days. Be sure the soil does not dry out during the rooting period.
Apply 1-inch of water every week or 10 days either by natural rainfall or supplemental irrigation. At least an inch of water every week is needed during the hot summer growing season. It is best to apply water in the morning. In winter or when the sod is dormant you do not need to water unless the ground becomes dry from drought. Most problems we see after the Zoysiagrass has become established stem from over-watering or over-fertilizing.
A healthy mature stand of Zoysiagrass will choke out weeds on its own. However, a first year application of pre-emergent herbicide is a good idea in the early Spring or early Fall.