I got an interesting email recently. A person stated that the old grass in their lawn was sparse at best and 90% dirt. They have a large oak tree in the front yard that coats the yard with acorns and leaves that cover the dirt. Their question was, can they lay new sod over the ground the way it is. The simple answer is no. But to elaborate, if the area is too shady, consider a ground cover. You should do some weed control, remove weeds, and remove all debris. Since you will be basically starting from scratch, you should determine what killed the grass; fungus may have killed it.
A preliminary application of fungus control should take place at least two weeks before installing new sod.
If the area is densely shaded then you should consider using St Augustine, otherwise I suggest shade tolerant Ultimate flora Zoysia. You should also review your irrigation system; too many irrigation heads are better than not enough. Examine the grading as well, and check to see if there are areas that are low and potentially have standing water.
Do not resod without proper weed control. The average cost of remedial weed control could be $400 – $500. In addition, it could potentially damage your grass and make an unslightly mess. It’s impossible to remove weeds without killing your grass. (e.g. crabgrass, bermuda grass) During the year 90% of our resod jobs take 30 – 45 days before we install the grass.
Steps to replacing sod :
1.) First off, the area that you want to improve should be marked out and sprayed with weed killer to kill off existing growth (meaning the weeds).
2.) After growth has died, the area should be tilled over, leveled and raked to provide a nice even service.
3.) The irrigation should be marked out and system checked to ensure good coverage before the final step of installing the new sod.
4.) Last thing to do is to remember is that new sod needs to be watered so irrigation systems should be set to come on every day to water the new sod, plus a fungicide treatment should be applied in the first week to prevent fungal infections.
Check out these videos for more sod tips!