Sod vs. Seed: Making the Right Choice for Your Yard

By William Moore

When it comes to choosing which type of grass to plant in your yard, there are a lot of variables to consider. We chatted with Walt Stewart, vice president of Stewart Environmental in Tupelo, to get some insight into making the decision between sod or seed and to get a few tips for caring for your freshly planted lawn.

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Sod

Q: What is the best time of the year to lay sod and why?

A: Spring is the best, when temperatures are still mild. It doesn’t take as much water to get it to root.

Q: What makes sod a good choice for grass? How do you know if sod is the right choice for your yard?

A: It’s a question of budget and time. Sod costs more, but you get an instant lawn.

Q: What are the types of sod and how do they vary from one another?

A: The two main types of sod in (north Mississippi) are Bermuda and Zoysia. Bermuda thrives in sunny areas. If you have shady areas, then you need to look at zoysia. There are varieties that will grow thick and lush in the heaviest shade.

Q: How should you care for sod right after planting?

A: The most important thing is keeping it watered every day until the roots are established.

Q: How should you care for sod after it has rooted?

A: In the spring, it will take 10 days to two weeks for sod to root. But it is still advisable to wait several more weeks before there is any heavy traffic on it. That includes kids playing.

Seed

Q: What is the best time of the year to plant grass seed and why?

A: Winter grasses like rye need to be sown in the early fall. Bermuda grass seed can be sown in the late winter, but it will not germinate until the ground warms up.

Q: What makes seed a good choice for grass? How do you know if seed is the right choice for your yard?

A: Seed is more economical but it takes more work and time. It depends on your budget. We have grown some beautiful lawns with seed, it just takes a while.

Q: Are there different types of grass seed? If so, how do they vary/how should you choose a type?

A: There are a lot more options with seed, compared to sod. There are different varieties of Bermuda. For shady areas, you can use zoysia or St. Augustine. For cooler weather, there is fescue.

Q: How do you plant grass seed?

A: You want to make sure the seed makes contact with the soil. You need to scratch or till the top couple of inches. After sowing the seed, you need to top dress it (by scattering soil on top of the seed) or put out wheat straw or hay. That will help keep the seeds from blowing away or washing away.

Q: How should you care for grass seed right after planting?

A: Water every day until it sprouts. You don’t want any standing water. You want to make sure the soil remains moist.

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