How To Prepare Your Soil For Sod

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:34 pm

Preparation for new sod is simple, but requires some patience and the right approach. We show step by step how to create an optimal result.

  • old lawn must be thoroughly removed
  • Start preparations best in the previous year
  • fertilizing is necessary
  • green manuring can be useful
  • digging up is necessary in any case

Remove turf

First step of preparation for your new sod is to remove the old grass plants. For this purpose, a lawn peeling machine is a good choice. The procedure is as follows:

  • the lawn is mowed as short as possible
  • the lawn is cut into strips with the lawn peeling machine
  • each strip is rolled up individually and disposed of

How To Prepare Your Soil For Sod

Hints: An appropriate machine can be rented, for example, in a hardware store. Alternatively, the old lawn can be cut with a spade. However, this requires more time and means more effort.

Digging up

In order for the roots of the grass plants to grow optimally, the soil must be loose and well aerated. For this purpose, the soil should be dug up to a depth of at least 30 centimeters.

Tip: During this measure, it is convenient to use lawn edging stones or an irrigation system. Since the soil is already loose and excavated, it is very easy to make appropriate changes.

Clean the area

Removing the old lawn is still not enough. If you want to achieve the best results, you also need to clean the soil from other foreign objects. These include:

  • Moss
  • Stones
  • Weeds
  • Roots
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The easiest way to remove them is to use a sieve. Optionally, you can buy one or make your own. For this purpose, four strips and a piece of close-meshed wire will be enough.
Another advantage of this measure is that the soil can be sifted very finely. Larger lumps, stones, twigs and even plant bulbs, if any, can be removed very easily. The substrate becomes loose, well-drained and receptive. This makes it particularly easy for the roots of the rolled turf to grow.

Tip: Sieve the soil several times. Even if this means more effort, it is worth the effort. You can also mix in sand to loosen up a very clayey substrate.


There are several options for fertilizing. These include:

  • Ready-made fertilizer
  • Horn meal
  • Compost

A combination of also sifted compost and horn meal is ideal and, moreover, environmentally friendly. The best variant of distribution is a spreader cart and subsequent incorporation into the soil.

Tip: You can also rent a spreader cart. In the long run, however, the purchase is more favorable, because necessary nutrients can be distributed more evenly and precisely dosed with it.

How To Prepare Your Soil For Sod

Alternative: Green manuring

If you start preparing the subsoil for sod already in the spring or summer of the previous year, so-called green manuring can be a valid alternative to the application of additional nutrients. This involves seeding plants such as:

  • Field beans
  • Lupine
  • Persian clover

You can also apply a mixture of them. The plants provide good aeration of the soil, help colonize soil inhabitants and microorganisms, and provide nutrients. In the fall, you can mow down the plants and incorporate the green clippings directly into the substrate. Over the winter, the components will rot and enrich the soil with nutrients. The disadvantage of this is that the lawn cannot be used for a longer period of time and initially looks overgrown. However, the advantage is that the preparation is particularly thorough and creates optimal conditions for a long time.

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In order to create a flat, smooth lawn, you need to smooth the area in advance. For this purpose, the simple raking is sufficient. A positive side effect of this measure is that the surface is again loosened.


Before new sod is spread, it is necessary to water it several times. This is important so that the nutrients can be evenly distributed and penetrate deeper into the soil. Watering should also be done again before spreading the individual strips.

A distinct advantage of sod is that you do not have to wait for the seeds to germinate. It grows quickly and therefore green the area in a short time. Lay out strip by strip, making sure that there are no grooves between the rolls. After that, watering should be done again, so that the growth is faster. In addition, you should not walk on and use the green area at the beginning. At least one to two weeks the plants need to be resilient.

Frequently asked questions

When should the soil preparation take place?

The ideal time is the previous year. In this way, the soil is optimally prepared and new sod not only grows quickly, but also can be loaded without problems shortly after application.

When to spread new sod?

Roll out can be from spring to autumn. The only thing to avoid is frost. Nevertheless, the best time is the spring after the last frost. In this way, the lawn can grow well and harden.

What alternatives can be found to sod?


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts. Jones James

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