Typically, you have to prepare your lawn before laying new sod to give it the best chance of taking root quickly and maturing first.
However, is it possible to lay sod next to existing grass to renew your lawn, fill the sparse areas, and grow a thick healthy lawn?
If you have specific areas of your lawn that are struggling due to damage or death, laying sod next to existing grass can provide an effective solution.
However, preparation is necessary because you must ensure the new sod directly touches the soil to allow proper rooting.
You may be tempted to lay the new sod over existing grass, but doing so isn’t a great idea because it will likely damage the sod and prevent it from taking root.
Therefore, it’s best to start afresh when you decide to lay new sod, which means removing the existing grass and preparing the soil.
Nonetheless, let’s take a look at everything you need to know about laying sod next to existing grass.
Also Read: Can sod grow in shade
Can I Lay Sod Next to Existing Grass?
Yes, if you have specific areas of your lawn that are struggling due to damage or death, laying sod next to existing grass can provide an effective solution.
Here are the steps to ensure a seamless integration:
1. Accurately measure the affected area to determine the necessary sod quantity.
2. Obtain a quantity of sod that is approximately one-third more than the affected area and ensure that it is of the same grass variety.
3. Remove the dead grass by cutting around the affected area in a neat square shape, extending two inches into the surrounding healthy grass.
4. Prepare the soil in the patch area by loosening it to allow for proper root growth of the new sod.
5. Ensure the new sod sits flush with the existing lawn by adjusting soil levels as needed.
6. Cut the sod to fit the patch area, ensuring that the edges align closely.
7. Provide adequate watering and maintain consistent moisture for a minimum of two weeks after installation.
5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Lay Sod Over Existing Grass
You are advised to ensure your new sod is in contact with the soil to help your new turf thrive.
Therefore, laying sod next to existing grass presents problems that compromise your sod’s growth.
1. Rooting Problems
Instead of the next sod having direct contact with the soil, it will lay on thatch and the old grass blades; hence it will not have a place to establish its root system.
Moreover, even if the next sod manages to grow some roots, it will have a challenge getting a foothold because the roots of the existing grass will be occupying the topsoil.
Read more: How long does it take new sod to root?
Without proper deep roots, your new sod will have trouble accessing the water and nutrients required for growth.
Due to improper the sod laid next to existing grass is susceptible to drying out and dying because of lack of nutrients and moisture.
2. Drainage Issues
Poor drainage in a lawn established by laying sod next to existing grass is a serious problem that comes about because of two reasons.
First, the height of the existing grass (about 1 to 1.5 inches) raises your lawn’s height putting it above the paved area in your home like the walkway, patio, and driveway.
Read more: How to improve lawn drainage with sand
The water will flow to these hardscaped sections from the grass, flooding them.
Secondly, laying sod over a small portion of existing grass to replace damaged, patchy, or dead grass raises this section higher than the rest of the yard, making your lawn uneven, unappealing, and causing drainage issues.
3. Leaves Gaps
You will not achieve a uniform installation if you lay new sod next to existing grass since your old lawn makes the ground uneven.
Due to this, you will have gaps in your new sod, allowing water to puddle and pool, making the roots rot.
Moreover, empty spaces and air bubbles can lead to misalignments with minerals, nutrients, and gases. The old grass may also sprout out of these gaps.
4. Disease Infestation
The grass under your new sod will not simply decompose but instead turn yellow, die, and form slimy grass that breeds grass disease and fungi.
The diseased grass can infect your new sod, killing your lawn.
Moreover, walking on your lawn with the slimy grass underneath will be a nightmare since it will make the yard slide.
5. Weed Invasion
The poorly rooted, dry sod in your new lawn will shrink, forming gaps between the sod pieces, giving the old lawn’s remains and weeds sprout through the spaces.
This will turn your new yard into an ugly, uneven, patchy area.
Laying sod over existing grass also means working much harder on your yard. while not removing the existing grass before laying sod seem to reduce the preparation work, you will still need to get your yard ready for new sod.
Read more: Why does my grass look like wheat
How To Remove Existing Grass For New Sod
Now that you know it’s better to remove the existing grass before laying new sod, you ought to know how to remove the said existing grass. You can prep your current lawn for new sod in different ways.
One of the ways used to remove existing grass for new sod is to till the whole lawn and then compress it.
The problem with this method is that the grass is still alive and will grow back in about four weeks which is counterproductive.
Although tilling under does an excellent job of getting rid of most vegetation, you will still remain with some live grass.
The key to giving your new sod the best environment to grow is killing the existing grass first.
Therefore, spray your turf with round-up, wait for a couple of days, then spray again and wait for about ten days for the chemicals to be inactive.
If the ground is compact and there are uneven or hilly spots, you will need to disturb the soil and loosen it using a rototiller to make it level.
However, if your lawn is leveled and the roots are already dead, you don’t need to disturb the whole yard.
Instead, use a string trimmer to zip down to the dirt line to reveal the uneven spots and the water’s natural grade, which you will want to encourage.
Add soil to the areas with low spots and knock down the hilly parts with a sod cutter to make the lawn more even and encourage the water’s natural flow.
Instead of tilling the entire lawn, spread compost mixed soil and level your lawn with rakes to have an even yard.
Next, use a lawn roller to compact the grounds a bit to ensure the sod is nice and even when you lay it.
How Do I Get Rid Of Grass Without A sod Cutter?
A sod cutter removes grass more efficiently than any other tool, especially if you need to remove large parts of sod. However, work doesn’t have to stop because you don’t have a sod cutter.
Alternatively, you can use a flat D-handle shovel or a flat shovel.
These tools will cut your sod in parts, so you will spend more time removing a large portion of the lawn than you would with a sod cutter.
To use these tools, trim the outline of the lawn you will remove into a rectangular shape. Once you do that, pry the leading edge and cut it down parallel to the grass.
Once you finish removing one section, proceed to the next and keep going until you are done removing the grass.
Will Sod Blend In With Existing Grass?
Sod will blend with existing grass if you use the same type of grass for the whole lawn and prepare the lawn before installation.
You will want to ensure your yard is levelled to avoid having some sections higher than the others.
It’s also essential for the new sod to take root in order to access the nutrients and moisture needed to grow into lush green grass.
Laying sod next to existing grass is a convenient way and fast way to re-establish your lawn after some sections thin out or die.
However, ensure you prepare the soil before installation to avoid the issues associated with laying sod over existing grass.
Hey there, I’m Derek Schew, a writer for Lawnholic.com, where we cover everything and anything related to lawns. As someone who’s spent countless hours tending to my own lawn, I’m passionate about sharing my knowledge and helping others achieve the perfect yard. From lawn care tips to product reviews, I’m committed to providing our readers with the most accurate and up-to-date information available. So whether you’re a seasoned lawn enthusiast or just getting started, I invite you to join our community and discover the joys of a lush, green lawn.