How To

How to Sod


For optimum growth, turfgrass needs just four things (in the proper balance) to grow…sunlight, air, water and nutrients. Reduce any of these, or provide too much of any one, and the grass may die or simply suffer. In the right proportions, the grass will flourish, providing not only beauty to the landscape, but also a clean and safe place to play. It has many benefits to the environment.

Grass obtains three of these four essential factors (air, water and nutrients) from the soil, but many soils are less than ideal for growing grass. Some soils contain too much clay and may be very compacted…great for roads, bad for grass because air and water aren’t available to the roots and the roots can’t grow. Other soils may have too much sand… beautiful on a beach, but difficult to grow grass because water and nutrients won’t stay in the root zone long enough for the plant to use. Another frequently observed problem with many soils is that its pH (the degree of acidity or alkalinity) is too high or too low for optimum grass growth.

Quick Fact: What is the best soil for Turfgrass?

Loams, sandy loams and loamy sands, with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0 are the very best soils for producing a beautiful, high-use, low-maintenance lawn. Unfortunately, this ideal soil mixture is seldom found on an property after construction.

Quick Fact: How deep should the soil be for Turf grass?

The absolute minimum quality soil depth for a care-free lawn is 10 am (4 inches); however, for deeper root penetration and the benefits that brings, the accepted standard is 15 cm (6 inches).

Quick Fact: Can soils be improved?

Practically without exception, not only can most soils be improved, they usually need to be improved to get the maximum results with only a minimum of other on-going effort.

The knowledge of whats necessary, the amount and availability of materials and the immediate costs of time and money are the factors that typically deter people from taking the steps necessary to improving the soil. While some people do not fully understand the importance of good soils for grass, many also believe they can save time and money by ignoring the need to improve their lawn’s soil.

The fact is that failing to improve the soil before planting is only inviting a much greater and continual investment of both time and money, that will never return its value as fully as preparing the soil properly before planting any grass.

“The beauty is in the blades, but the ‘action’ is in the roots,” is a good adage to remember when growing grass. Thus, the value of proper site preparation and soil improvement, before any planting takes place, is that it will be easier for the grass roots to penetrate deeply and evenly. Deep roots will make the lawn more drought resistant, a more efficient water and nutrient user and more dense as new grass plant shoots emerge. A dense lawn crowds out weeds and better resists insects and disease.


With a tape measurer, measure the area of your planned lawn. Give us the length and width of the area to be sodded. For irregular areas, break down into small squares and rectangles. We can calculate the amount of sod with you.

Schedule your order for delivery of Willowlee Sod after prep-work is completed and you are ready to install. Sod is a perishable product. Prompt installation on the day of delivery is crucial, no later than 24 hours.


Step 1. Preparation

Sod must be laid on bare soil. To achieve this you can

a. Rototill area and then rake off all debris and level the surface


b. Set mower very low to the ground, rake off the debris then put down 2.5-5.0 cm of good topsoil.

Step 2. Leveling

Grade the surface by carefully leveling all

surfaces to be sodded.The level of the soil should

be about 2.5cm below walkways and driveways.

Step 3. Fertilizer

Apply Willowlee Starter Fertilizer at a rate of

9 lbs per 1000 ft and rake it into the topsoil.

Step 4. Sod Installation

Install your lawn immediately upon delivery. Begin watering lawn within 30 minutes of installation. Turf is a living plant that requires ground contact and moisture to survive.

In hot weather, protect unlaid turf by placing stacks in the shade, covering with moist burlap sacking and/or sprinkling.

Begin installing turf along the longest straight line, such as a driveway or sidewalk. Butt and push edges and ends against each other tightly, without stretching. Avoid gaps or overlaps. Stagger the joints in each row in a brick-like fashion, using a large sharp knife to trim corners, etc. Avoid leaving small strips at outer edges as they will not retain moisture. On slopes, place the turn pieces across the slope.

To avoid causing indentations or air pockets avoid repeated walking or kneeling on the turf while it is being installed or just after watering.

Step 5. Rolling

After installing the turf, rolling is recommended to ensure good root-to-soil contact and remove air pockets if the area is uneven preventing root to soil contact.

Step 6. Watering

Give your lawn at least 2-3cm (1 inch) of water within half an hour of installation. Water daily, or more often, keeping turf moist until it is firmly root (about 2 weeks). Then less frequent and deeper watering should begin.

Weather conditions will dictate the amount and frequency of watering. Be certain that your new lawn has enough moisture to survive hot, dry, or windy periods. Water areas near your home or establishment more often where reflected heat dries the turf.

Caution: During the first three weeks, avoid heavy or concentrated use of your new lawn. This gives the roots an opportunity to firmly knit with the soil, and ensures that the turf will remain smooth.

Step 7. Maintenance

a. Water daily to keep soil moist beneath the sod for about 2 weeks, then water less frequently, but deeper watering should begin.

b. Mowing should begin once the sod has rooted enough to prevent the edges from being pulled     into the mower blades. Test this by gently pulling on a corner of the sod roll installed. The sod should be rooted within 10 to 17 days. Once sod is established, mow often removing no more than 1/3 of the grass height each time.

How To Fertilize


Willowlee Grow- In Promotes Root Growth and Lawn Health

-apply early mid-May at a rate of 5 lbs per 1000 ft (squared)

Willowlee Pro-Maintenance Dark Green Growth Fast

apply, mid-June and late July at a rate of 5 lbs per 1000 ft (squared) per application.

Willowlee Dormant Fertilizer Protect Your Lawn Through the Winter

– the most important application of the season. Apply at a rate of 8 lbs per 1000 ft (squared).

*Time each application just prior to rainfall or watering if possible.

For new lawns

-Once your site is prepared, apply Willowlee Starter Fertilizer at a rate of 9 lbs per 1000 ft (squared).
-4-6 weeks after seeding or sodding you can continue with the previous program for established lawns.

Calculate your rate

-Measure the area of your lawn and calculate the sq. ft. Convert to 1000 ft (squared) units.
-Apply the suitable season product for your lawn.


We carry a full line of organic user friendly products from Turf Revolutions

To prevent weed seed germination use Green Revival 8-1-6 at the end of April and in Early August

For a healthy green lawn apply Green Acres 5-1-5 in June and October

To help with those irritating pet spots on your lawn you can use Salt Stopper

To add organic matter to you lawn try Top Dressers Delight

How To Seed

Soil Preparation

  • Remove dead grass and debris.
  • Rake level and ensure adequate depth of soil, add more if required.

(For more information on soil preparation, see our section about sod installation.)

  • Measure area to be seeded, calculate in sq. ft (length and width).
  • Spread starter fertilizer over entire area to be seeded.

Willowlee starter fertilizer is spread at a rate of 9 lbs Per 1000 ft

  • Evenly spread seed over area at a rate of 5 lbs per 1000 ft. A light raking will improve seed-to-soil contact. Do not rake aggressively. Seed germination is lowered if seed is incorporated too deeply. It is easier to under apply seed and have to reapply than to apply too heartily.
  • Roll entire area to firm seed to soil.
  • Cover area with Strawnet mulch at a rate of 50 lbs per 1000 ft to prevent erosion and improve water retention.
  • Water area until the soil is saturated. This will leave water on reserve to aid in seed establishment. Excess watering will cause erosion, monitor water application carefully.
  • Subsequent light watering is required to keep soil moist and aid seed germination. Our Strawnet will reduce the frequency of watering required, (about 15 minutes each day with an average sprinkler). The soil surface should not be allowed to dry out.

(For more instructions on watering, see Lawn Maintenance tips.)

  • Limit traffic as much as possible during the first few weeks, until the grass is established, usually 3-4 weeks.
  • Mowing should begin once the grass reaches a height of 3-4 inches.
  • After 6 weeks, apply Willowlee lawn fertilizer

(For more information on fertilization, see Lawn Fertilization.)

When can I seed my lawn?

The best time for maximum germination is mid August to mid September, when nights are cooler than during the heat of mid summer

Spring seeding can be done when soil temperatures reach 15 degrees C, normally mid may.

At Willowlee we carry professional all-purpose blends, and blends specifically for shaded areas. We also carry pure Kentucky blue grass, the same grass that we use in our own fields.

Seed is available in 2.27kg, 10kg and 25kg packages.

Turfgrass Sod Calculator