Problems with Laying Sod Over Existing Lawn

Person wearing white garden gloves rolling out sod for a new lawn.

You may be wondering how to lay sod over an existing lawn, and it's easy to see the appeal. After all, why go through the hassle of tearing up your old lawn when you can just lay down a new one? However, there are some serious problems with this approach.

Here, we will review what those problems are and provide useful tips for laying sod the right way.

Roots Don’t Make Contact

Corner of sod roll on top of soil

While it may not be the answer you’d like to hear, if you want good results, the answer to “Can I lay sod over existing grass” is always no. One of the most important reasons why you should not lay sod over an existing lawn is that when you lay sod over existing grass, the roots of the sod won't make contact with the soil beneath. This means that the sod will have a harder time taking root and may eventually start to die. To avoid this problem, you need to make sure that the roots of the sod are in contact with the soil. This can be done by removing the old lawn before you lay down the sod. This will help ensure your new sod gets off to a successful start.

Sod Likely to Die

Dead rolls of sod

Another problem with laying sod over an existing grass is that it greatly increases the chances that the sod will die. If the sod can’t reach the soil, it also can’t get enough water to survive. This is especially a problem if you have a thick layer of thatch on your old lawn. The thatch will prevent the new sod from getting the nutrients it needs to survive. To avoid this problem, you need to make sure that the sod is making direct contact with the soil below.

Drainage Problems

Pool of water on top of grass

Unlike an established lawn, new sod has different drainage needs. If you lay sod down without preparing the soil first, the new sod will be competing with the existing turf for water. This can lead to drainage problems and may eventually kill the new sod. To avoid this problem, you need to make sure that the soil is well-prepared before you lay down the new sod. This means removing any obstacles to drainage, such as rocks or roots.

Uneven Appearance

Yard with uneven patches of grass

The last major problem related to laying sod over an existing lawn is that it can result in an uneven appearance. This is because when the new sod is laid on top of the old grass, the result is visible differences in height. If your new sod survives, you are likely to end up with a bumpy surface that will be difficult to walk on, much less to mow. To avoid unsightly high or low spots, prepare the soil by removing your existing grass and then lay the sod as level with the ground as you can. The result will be a green, even lawn, which is pleasing to the eye and safer for regular use.

Best Time to Lay Sod

Sod rolls for lawn

When it comes to laying sod, the good news is you do have some flexibility. As long as the weather is warm, you can start laying sod (ideally spring, summer, and in some locations fall). The key to ensuring your sod takes root and grows into a healthy lawn is making sure the sod you use has been recently cut (within the past 24 hours). Although you have some flexibility when it comes to time of year, you don’t want to waste time laying your freshly cut sod. Once your sod is in, make sure you water it within 30 minutes. Water your sod enough to ensure the soil beneath is sufficiently wet. This will give it a good start by helping the roots take hold and grow.

Professional Sod Installation with The Grounds Guys

With so much that could go wrong, it’s easy to see why laying sod over existing grass just isn’t a good idea. Instead, it’s best to remove your existing lawn and give your new sod the best possible chance to grow green and healthy. Of course, removing your existing grass and laying new sod can seem like a challenging task, which is why you might want professional sod installation from The Grounds Guys!

The Grounds Guys® can help remove your existing lawn and lay new sod so that you can have a beautiful new lawn this spring. To learn more about laying sod, request a free estimate online today!

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