This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.
For some people, the road
to immediate satisfaction is laid with sod. A piece of sod has grass on the top
and soil on the bottom. It can provide thick green grass without the work or
wait required to grow a lawn from seed.
Some property owners are replacing grass with ground
covers that require less care and water. But others want a traditional grass
lawn. Sod, or turf, might not seem like a farm crop. But farmers grow it around
the world for everything from homes to sports fields.
Sod farmers often grow different grasses
for different conditions. Farmers must cut, fertilize and water the sod often. The
crop may not be ready for up to two years. Farmers harvest it in pieces of
various lengths and up to one meter wide.
Making the best of sod
takes work. Preparing the ground to lay sod is important and may require soil
David Robson from the
University of Illinois Extension says the best results come from moist, richly
organic black soil. He says that is because the farmer used rich soil to
produce the sod, so it might not do well in clay soils.
prepare an area by removing the existing top soil and grass. This can be done
with a shovel, hoe or sod-cutter machine. But live roots or weeds might remain below
Another preparation method is to till
the ground completely. Still another involves using an herbicide chemical to
kill the existing grass. Sod can also be placed over existing grass. The grass
will die and become fertilizer for the sod.
After sod is in place, it needs to be pressed down
firmly. This will remove air pockets and help the sod make contact with the
ground and take root. A water-filled drum called a sod roller can be used.
Sod can grow at times and in places where growing grass
from seed is difficult. But sod can also have problems, especially if it was
not very fresh. Newly laid sod needs water -- lots of water. It can quickly
become dry. It will need water two times a day for at least three months. Sod
should also be fertilized. And it should be treated with limestone if the soil
Sod can be
cut to fit a space. But small pieces should not be placed along the edges of an
area as they can dry out more quickly.
can find other advice online. For example, we learned that sod should not be placed
so that the ends of the pieces are all in a line. Instead it should look like a
brick pattern on a building.
And that's the VOA
Special English Agriculture Report, written by Jerilyn Watson. I'm Bob Doughty.