Some sod is grown in the Virginia Crop Improvement Association (VCIA) sod certification program. This sod must meet established standards of quality, which also qualifies the sod to be marketed under the Virginia Department of Agriculture "Virginia's Finest" program.
VCIA certified sod or "Virginia's Finest" is sod of high quality, meeting rigid standards requiring preplanting field inspections, prescribed varieties and mixtures, periodic production inspections, and a final preharvest inspection. This program serves as a marketing tool and provides the consumer with guaranteed standards of quality. Consumers purchasing VCIA certified sod will receive a VCIA certified sod label with each load of sod.
While high-quality sod is available outside of the VCIA certified sod program, the consumer is encouraged to be aware of factors that are important in determining sod quality. Quality sod contains excellent turf varieties with good sod strength and has no serious insect, weed, or disease problems.
Measure area to be sodded in square yards or square feet.
1 square yard = 9 square feet
111.1 sq. yds. = 1,000 sq. ft.
1 acre = 43,560 sq. ft.
1 acre = 4,840 sq. yds.
Determine whether you have the proper vehicle to transport the amount of sod you need and how many trips you will need to make.
The safe carrying capacity of vehicles varies:
|medium sized car||5 to 10|
|half-ton pickup||25 to 50|
|one-ton truck||150 to 200|
|two-ton truck||300 to 350|
|tandem (10-wheel)||500 to 600|
|tractor trailer (18-wheel)||1,000 to 1,100|
If the soil is wet, less sod can be carried. Dry sod weighs about 20 to 25 lbs. per square yard whereas wet sod can weigh 30 to 40 lbs. per square yard. A pallet of sod will contain 50 to 75 square yards (450 to 675 sq. ft.) of sod.
Remember that some sod comes with netting to aid in harvest. Netted sod may not be desirable if you anticipate cleated traffic on the sodded area (e.g. athletic fields).
Determine what services each grower you contact can provide and the cost of those services (e.g. pallet charges).
Sod-farm services vary and can include any of the following:
Once you select a grower, call as far ahead of installation time as possible to insure the sod will be available when you need it.
To greatly improve the chances for long-term success, incorporate fertilizer and lime according to the soil test. If no soil test is available, incorporate 20 lbs. of 5-10-5 or 10 lbs. of 10-20-10 and 50 to 100 lbs. of agricultural ground limestone per 1,000 square feet to a depth of four to six inches.
Rake the area until smooth and even removing debris and stones.
Wear work clothes. If you are buying sod by the roll and are concerned about keeping your vehicle clean, bring something on which to lay the sod.
Do not overload your vehicle.
On hot days when sod will be transported for an hour or more, use light, vented covers to reduce drying and heat buildup.
If buying VCIA Certified Sod, request the certification labels with each load you purchase.
Lay the first line of sod along a straight line such as a driveway, sidewalk, or string stretched between two stakes. Then stagger the sod pieces in the adjacent rows in "brickwork" fashion. Since sod pieces may shrink after installation, push the sod pieces together tightly.
Try to minimize soil compaction in the installation area by using wheelbarrows to move the sod. Plywood boards laid in heavy tracking areas will minimize compaction.
Roll the sod with a heavy hand roller after you lay it to press roots to the soil.
Saturate the sod with water immediately after installation, wetting the soil under the sod to a four-inch depth. Examine the soil under several pieces of sod to insure proper wetting.
Mow Kentucky bluegrass and tall Fescue sods at two to two and one-half inches and Bermudagrass and Zoysia at one-half to one inch.
From October through April, apply water every second or third day for three weeks, even if it rains. The rule is to make sure the soil is wet to a three- to four-inch depth. In hot weather (above 80¼ F) water the sod daily, wetting the soil thoroughly until the sod is well rooted.
After the sod is well rooted, irrigate to prevent drought damage.
Extension publication 430-011, Lawn Fertilization in Virginia, provides information about fertilizing your newly established sod. This publication, as well as others, can be accessed via Virginia Tech's "Turf Science" Web page at http://sudan.cses.vt.edu/html/Turf/turf/index.html.
Retail nursery operations not specializing in either sod production or sod sales were intentionally excluded from this directory. These businesses typically buy their sod for resale from the producers listed in this directory, and they may not stock sod throughout the year. In addition to locating sod sources in this directory, home consumers may wish to contact their local retail nursery center to determine turfgrass sod varieties available locally.
Information presented in this directory was gathered during 2004 in a phone and mail survey of producers in Virginia. Every effort was made to contact all known producers in the state of Virginia. Sod producers or other business entities specializing in the production or sale of turfgrass sod who are not listed in this directory and who wish to be included in the next update of this directory should direct their request to: Mike Goatley, Extension Agronomist, Turf, Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech (0403), Blacksburg, VA 24061.
Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.
Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Interim Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.
May 1, 2009