Having a beautiful bed of grass is very important in creating a beautiful property. Although other areas of your property often draw more attention, such as landscaping, the grass is very important, too. While well-kept grass doesn’t normally catch people’s eye, patchy grass will certainly turn heads, and not in a good way.
Or, perhaps you don’t have patchy grass at all, and you need a brand new lawn for a newly built home. No matter your situation, you may be wondering whether you should choose seed or sod for your lawn. Seed and sod can both meet a variety of needs, and they have different benefits. If you are having trouble deciding between the two, keep reading to find out more.
Benefits of Sod
First, we will discuss the benefits of establishing a lawn from sod.
Instant New Lawn
Unlike grass seed, sod provides an “instant” new lawn. Since sod originates in a different location, it can take your lawn from dirt to grass in one day. Waiting for the grass to grow on your property can be very tedious, and sod can give you the instant satisfaction you wish for. If your newly built home still has a dirt lawn, or if you are trying to prepare your home for sale, you may benefit from sod.
In addition to an instant lawn, another benefit of sod is its density. Have you ever passed by someone’s yard and noticed how dense and healthy their lawn was? Dense grass is not only more beautiful, but it also has other benefits. Dense grass is your first defense against weeds, so you will need less weed control than if you use grass seed.
If your property is prone to erosion due to drainage issues or heavy rain, it may be beneficial to use sod. Grass seed washes away more easily, and it may end up displaced. Therefore, you may end up saving money in the long run by beginning with sod.
In addition to the other benefits, sod can also be less maintenance than grass seed. Sod is a grass that has already been professionally grown in another area, but has been moved to a new area to establish roots. Therefore, the only maintenance it requires is watering. This leads to less stress on you.
Disadvantages of Sod
While sod is a great option, it has drawbacks, as well.
Higher initial cost
After growing in one area, sod relocates to another area. This leads to denser, more beautiful grass that is less susceptible to weeds and erosion. However, it also leads to a higher initial cost due to less stress on you. While it may be worth it in the long run due to less spending on weed control or replacing eroded seeds, some homeowners cannot afford the higher initial cost.
In addition to the higher cost of the sod itself, you must also pay labor expenses for the team installing the new sod lawn. This adds to the initial cost of lawn installation.
Requires quick planting
Since experts remove sod from the ground before moving it to your property, it is susceptible to drying out very quickly. Therefore, we must move it and plant it in your yard very quickly. If something unexpected happens and your sod doesn’t make it in to your lawn quickly enough, it could dry out and die.
Growing conditions may differ
Lastly, the growing conditions may differ when comparing your property to its initial growing location. After transplanting the grass, these differing conditions could lead to poor growth on your property. Therefore, this is why it is important to select a grass that is hearty and grows well in your general region.
Benefits of Grass Seed
Now that we’ve explored the benefits of sod, let’s discuss the benefits of grass seed.
Less expensive than sod
Are you a homeowner on a budget? If so, then grass seed may be the solution to establishing a new lawn or rejuvenating dying, patchy grass. It has a lower initial cost, leading to more room in your budget for those other landscaping projects you’ve had in mind.
Lower labor expenses
Since it’s generally easier to spread grass seed than to lay sod, your labor costs will also be cheaper. When adding this to the low materials cost, you’re saving money all around.
No transplantation required
Unlike sod, your grass seed will remain on your property after being established. Since it is not being transplanted, you do not run the risk of different growing conditions or drying out your grass while it’s out of the ground.
Disadvantages of Grass Seed
All lawn care projects have their pros and cons. While grass seed has many advantages, it also has disadvantages.
Although grass seed has a lower initial cost, it has higher initial maintenance. In the first several weeks of growing grass seed, you must water, fertilize, and mow your lawn with proper technique. In addition, you must limit foot traffic and watch out for weeds.
Must follow a seeding window
You cannot successfully grow grass seed at all times of the year. To ensure the best growth of your grass, it is best to follow proper seeding windows. Depending on the type of grass you plant, it is usually best to plant grass seed in early fall for cool season grasses or early spring/summer for warm season grasses.
As we discussed previously, grass seed is more prone to erosion than sod. If you have drainage issues in your yard, or if heavy rain is common, your grass seed may wash away before it can take root. However, measures can be taken to prevent grass seed from eroding, such as placing straw over the grass seed.
More susceptible to weeds
Your best defense against weeds is dense, thick grass. Since grass seed grows in less densely than sod at first, it is more likely to be invaded by weeds. In addition, the fertilizer you likely applied to your lawn may encourage the growth of weeds.
Other tips for preparing for a new lawn
Other than choosing between seed and sod, there are other important considerations when establishing a new lawn.
Types of Grass
There are many different types of grass available, and it is important to choose a grass that will grow well in your area. This will help to promote your lawn’s beauty. The most common types of grass in our area are:
- Centipede Grass
- Bermuda Grass
- Zoysia Grass
- Fescue Grass
Learn more about the benefits of each type of grass here.
Soil Testing and Fertilization
Before planting your new lawn, it is very important to get a soil test. Soil testing will teach you about the chemical makeup of your soil and whether you are lacking any important nutrients. If you find that there is a chemical imbalance in your lawn, you can select a fertilizer that will help balance out the pH in your soil.
Both grass seed and sod are unlikely to survive without proper watering. Rather than standing outside and watering for hours each day, installing irrigation may be a great option. Irrigation can ensure your plants and grass receive the correct amount of water daily for optimal growth.
If you need new grass on your property, you could be just days or weeks away from a brand new lawn. Grass seed and sod both have their pros and cons, but both are great options for new grass. If you need help deciding which is a better option for your property, contact us. We can give you a free estimate for your new lawn today.