St. Augustine & Zoysia Sod Installation Replacement near Plano, Frisco, Dallas, Allen, Lewisville, Mckinney, Carrollton & Little Elm

As a diagnostician and consultant in the turfgrass industry, sod "installation" is a sore subject for us. It appears to be one of those things in life where the majority of property owners must learn by failing (several times). Most people just do not have the patience to keep looking at bare dirt, nor the knowledge about how to get the HOA off your back for a while (and we get our customers 4-6 month extensions for treatment protocols). Then you throw in the sales pitch from the neighborhood mowing and lawn service that a cheap "instant lawn" is available next week and the broken cycle continues.  

Most homeowners in North Texas re-sod 2-4X before it becomes financially painful enough to pay a professional consultant to give them the hard truth: lawn grass cannot die of old age. It dies for one of four reasons (and usually a combination of several): soil, disease, irrigation deficiency, and sunlight deficiency. Please read this blog post for more details: Why is my Lawn Brown & Dying

Throwing new Zoysia sod or St. Augustine sod onto the same diseased and deficient soil is like putting makeup over skin cancer or putting lipstick on a dead pig.


Bottom line: if you do not cure the original root problem that killed the grass, it will kill your new lawn in 1-3 years (depending on shade levels vs. disease). 

How to Lay Sod & How to Install Sod Grass

For do-it-yourselfers, they typically ask Google the following questions: How to Lay Sod and How to Install Sod Grass? Laying sod is what we call "throwing down some sod.” It falls in the category of unskilled, manual labor. And quite frankly, you don’t even need to contact a sod installation service if you want to lay sod on the dirt under your tree. You can go to Home Depot and buy sod for $3.00 a piece and be done with tossing it down in less than an hour.

Properly installing sod grass, on the other hand, is tough work. It is hard work because it requires diagnosing and then curing the original problem. But then it also requires stripping out and hauling off the old, dead 3/4 inch sod layer before starting the installation of Zoysia sod, Bermuda sod, or St. Augustine sod grass.  

If you want proper sod replacement installation done at your home, then here is the process we use:

  1. Consultant - hire a qualified lawn consultant or landscape consultant to tell you why your lawn died.
  2. Disease Testing - based on how the dead area looks, and if rotting seems prevalent, overnight a stolon, root, and rhizome sample to a university disease testing lab. Results come back in around 3-weeks. 
  3. Soil Testing - contact a soil testing service. Properly pull soil cores from the entire area. Send them off to the lab. Results usually come back in 2-3 weeks.
  4. Sunlight Deficiency - learn the difference between filtered shade, part shade, full shade, and dense shade. It is a lawn crew myth that "Zoysia lives in the shade and Bermuda in the sun." All warm-season turfgrass lives best in full sun; Zoysia and St. Augustine will tolerate a little shade, but they will not live (long-term) in full or dense shade. Homeowners have to come to grips with the fact that unless they are willing to remove some trees and tall shrubs or bulldoze their neighbor's house, some deep shade pockets of their lawn will need decorative rock, mulch, or groundcover.  Trimming trees works in some areas and not others. It requires someone with local knowledge and an educational background in the field to walk the property and point out all the "no grow" pockets. 
  5. Start the treatments immediately if you have a turfgrass or fungal disease. Then put sod installation on hold until the disease is in remission, and it is safe to replace the sod. 
  6. Spray the existing weeds and remaining turfgrass with a non-selective herbicide killer.
  7. Use a sod cutter to strip out the top 3/4 inch layer of dead grass (or even bare soil). Load and then haul 3000-25,000 pounds of old soil to the Melissa landfill or the South Dallas landfill. Note: your local city garbage dump will take tree branches and trash, not soil and rock. This is why doing proper sod replacement is so expensive.
  8. Replace any sprinklers that are old or damaged. 
  9. Level the overall yard grade with sandy loam soil. Till or use a lawn aerator to work the new soil in. 
  10. Spread missing nutrients, fertilizer, sulfur (to lower our high PHs), compost, and sand to loosen the black clay.
  11. Level the new sod grass.
  12. Use a heavy roller to roll the sod grass (optional).
  13. Do not let your dogs pee on the new sod for at least 30 days. Note: dog pee always kills a small circle area in established, well-rooted sod. But new sod is akin to a baby, as it has no roots. Therefore, when dogs pee on new sod, it usually kills the entire square. 

Grass Seed vs Sod - Which is Cheaper?

A common question people ask on Google is: grass seed vs sod. And their goal is to find answers as to which is cheaper or better. Unfortunately, seeding is not viable for most homes in North Texas as most homes need Zoysia or St. Augustine grass and seed is not available for those varieties. Bermuda seed can be used in areas with at least 8-10 hours od direct sunlight, but that is it.

DFW Turfgrass Science LLC offers residential sod installation consulting services to the following areas of north DFW: Plano, Frisco, Lewisville, Allen, Mckinney, Carrollton, The Colony, Richardson (north), Dallas (far north), Little Elm, Prosper, The Colony and a few other bordering cities. Several clients have called our lawn consultant services a "protection of my investment." We agree you could call it an insurance policy or just state you are learning how to perform the sod installation, which is 100% technically correct.

Our consultant services are available for DIY homeowners, along with people who are planning on having a sod installation service do the work.  As part of the consult, we will come out and do all of the pre-testing work; then, we can also come out on the installation day and supervise the process for an hour or so, if you schedule the appointment with us in advance. 

Please go to our Contact Us page if you are ready to have us come out and start the various evaluations and testing: