Anyone who has purchased a new home understands the importance of curb appeal. But pride of ownership continues no matter how long you reside in you home – and your lawn is a big part of the aesthetics of your property. If your lawn is lacking and needs a makeover, you may be wondering if it is best to sow grass seed or lay down sod.
The first step will be to determine if you are going to fix the lawn you have, or begin again from the dirt up. Experts suggest a rule of thumb of 40% – if more than 40% of your lawn is dead, comprised of weeds, or diseased, you may want to start over.
In this blog, we will take a look at sod vs. seed to help you decide on the best option for your home and property.
When you lay down sod, the “growing” part is taken care of by a sod farmer. This means you get the instant gratification of a fully grown lawn, as soon as the sod is laid. When installed correctly. a sod lawn will grow roots and be firmly established in less than a month.
Because Florida experiences rainfall deluges throughout the spring, summer and fall, soil erosion can be a real problem for some homeowners. If your property is susceptible to erosion, sod acts as a heavy “blanket” which significantly minimizes the chances of soil erosion. If you purchase high quality, state certified sod, your new lawn will also be highly weed resistant. Because the grass is established and has no weeds, it effectively rejects weed seeds and is less likely to be compromised in this way.
Another positive aspect of laying sod is that it can be installed effectively throughout most of the year, with the only exception being in our hottest months. Because the roots establish quickly, it is ready for traffic within weeks. Therefore, you can lay sod in the winter or early spring and be more than ready for parties, sports or relaxing by the time the summer months arrive.
Still, it is important to point out that sod does have a higher up front cost than seeding your lawn, especially if you are not skilled in doing the work yourself. If sod is not laid down correctly, the seams will likely be visible, and the roots won’t take properly. This will result in a lawn which fails to achieve the gorgeous property you expected. Therefore most people will need to not only purchase the sod, but pay for experienced professionals to install the grass.
Be aware that the conditions at your property may differ from where the sod was grown. Have your soil tested and consult with a local landscape supply company to determine which sod is best for your lawn. Local expertise is invaluable as they are well-versed in the types of sod which work for our climate and soil types. (Read more about testing your soil. )
Sod establishes itself most efficiently when it has been freshly harvested. Within 24 hours is best, so be sure to ask the retailer about the time from harvest to your front yard.
Choosing Grass Seed
Grass seed will cost you less upfront, even if you choose a premium variety. Seeding your lawn is a relatively easy process when you follow advice from the pros. You’ll want to speak to a professional about which types of grasses are best suited to our climate and your specific soil makeup. The goal is always a high-performance lawn with as little maintenance and drama as possible. Seed allows your grass to grow deeper, healthy root systems,
One of the biggest downsides to growing your grass from seed is the long maturation time period. It will take a full growing season for the lawn to be established enough to support traffic. It may take 3-4 months before the lawn is even ready for light foot traffic. Grass seed will also face rigorous competition from weed seeds, which will steal water, light and nutrients from the grass.
There will be much more defined windows for planting grass seed for its best effect, so be sure to research the best months for growth. In South Florida, the opportune time is usually between April and July for our warm weather grasses. This gives the seed many months of warm weather to establish before the air cools off and slows the growth. Your grass seed will require careful monitoring of water needed. Florida residents should also be aware that the same season recommended for the best growth is known to produce heavy rainstorms – so erosion is a distinct possibility.
For more information on grass seed vs. sod, visit Big Earth Landscape Supply at one of our 4 Tampa Bay area locations.