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How to Lay Sod in Texas [Best Grass for Your Texas Lawn]

When laying sod in Texas, it’s imperative to choose the right type of grass for your region. As a large state with diverse weather patterns and soil makeup, choosing the right sod for your Texas lawn isn’t one-size-fits-all.

Once you’ve chosen the right grass for your lawn, it’s time to install it. To get it right, you’ll need to carefully prepare and level your yard. Then, perform proper sod installation and follow a watering/fertilization program that will nurture your new grass.

How to lay sod in Texas

When Should You Lay Sod in Texas?

Because Texas has a moderate climate, the grass you plant will likely be a warm-season variety. Warm-season grasses experience their best growth in late spring and summer. Lay sod between April and early June in Texas to encourage your sod to root quickly, which will make it better able to withstand heat and foot traffic.

  • In late spring or early summer (April–June), when warm-season grasses are in their peak growing season.
  • When temperatures are 65–80℉.
  • Avoid laying sod during extremely hot conditions (over 90℉) as sod may dry out.

The optimal time to lay sod in Texas is when daytime temperatures range from 65 to 80℉. Sod laid during extremely hot temperatures or during drought conditions is prone to drying out before it can establish deep roots and become more resilient.

The Best Sod Type for Your Texas Lawn

Grasses that thrive in the high-rainfall regions of southeast Texas may not fare well in the arid zones of west Texas. In order to make sure your sod installation yields the best results, choose the right grass type for your area.

Bermuda Grass

Bermuda is a fairly drought-tolerant grass that can be grown in most Texas regions. It does well in humid climates but can also perform well if exposed to long dry periods. In this regard, it is much more resilient than other grasses, such as St. Augustine.

  • Houston and Southeast Texas
  • Coastal Texas
  • Central Texas (Austin, Waco, San Antonio)
  • Dallas/Fort Worth and North Texas

Bermuda does not grow well in shady lawns. If you lay Bermuda sod in areas that receive daytime shade, the grass may struggle, die, or grow very thinly.

Buffalo Grass

Buffalo grass is the only turfgrass species on this list native to Texas. As such, it grows well in most regions of the state. However, it does not thrive in humid climates or clay soil. If you live in East Texas, including the Houston area, avoid Buffalo grass sod.

  • South Texas (including Corpus Christi)
  • Central Texas (Austin, Waco, San Antonio)
  • Dallas/Fort Worth and North Texas
  • West Texas

Buffalo grass is the most drought tolerant grass you can plant in your Texas lawn, whether you’re laying sod or planting grass seed. It consumes less than half the water of the other grasses on this list. This makes it perfect for lawns in dry regions.

Centipede Grass

Centipede grass thrives in humid regions with heavy rainfall. Once established, it is a hardy, low-maintenance grass that’s easy to care for.

  • Houston and Southeast Texas
  • Coastal Texas

Many homeowners opt for Centipede grass in lieu of the more traditional choice of St. Augustine. The two species grow well in similar climates.

Fescue

Fescue is traditionally a cool-season grass, but certain varieties can flourish in Texas, especially regions with cooler winters. It’s best suited for:

  • West Texas
  • North Texas and the panhandle

If you live in a region of Texas with short or mild winters, fescue is not the best choice of sod for your Texas lawn.

St. Augustine

Due to its high humidity, the Houston area and much of coastal Texas are ideal for St. Augustine. St. Augustine is very common in the Houston area and is unique in that it cannot be grown from seed. If you want a St. Augustine lawn, you have to lay sod.

  • Houston and Southeast Texas
  • Coastal Texas
  • Central Texas (Austin, Waco, San Antonio)

Although Bermuda and Zoysia are more drought-resistant than St. Augustine, they may perform poorly in the shade. If you have a shady yard, St. Augustine is your best bet.

Zoysia

Similar to Bermuda grass, Zoysia is a versatile grass that can be grown across several regions. It can handle drought better than St. Augustine and Centipede grass and is slightly more shade-tolerant than Bermuda.

  • Houston and Southeast Texas
  • Coastal Texas
  • Central Texas (Austin, Waco, San Antonio)
  • Dallas/Fort Worth and North Texas

Zoysia greens up beautifully in spring and can be grown successfully in many Texas regions. If afforded enough water and sun, it may even thrive in areas of West Texas.

6 Steps to Laying Sod in Texas

Steps to laying sod in Texas

Now that you’ve chosen the right type of sod for your region of Texas, it’s time to get that sod down on the ground. Follow these steps to get your new lawn off to a strong start.

Remove Existing Grass and Weeds

It’s essential to get rid of weeds and grass before you lay new sod. New sod will not be able to take root if it laid on top of an existing yard. Your new sod is likely to die and weeds below will either come up through the sod or turn into a slimy, half-rotted mess.

  • Never lay sod on top of existing weeds and grass.
  • Remove old vegetation or old sod with a sod cutter.
  • Instead of cutting sod, you can spray existing grass and weeds with a glyphosate-based weed killer.

Your best bet is to remove the existing lawn with a sod cutter. This will cut out grass and weeds, along with root material, making for great sod-to-soil contact essential for new lawn success. However, if you’re renovating a bare, weedy lawn, you can attack it with a grass and weed killer like Roundup to clear the yard for sodding.

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Till and Level Soil

Sod needs at least 3 inches of loosened topsoil in order to develop healthy roots. Prepare the soil and destroy any remaining weeds and grass by tilling the yard prior to sodding.

  • Till to a depth of at least 3 inches.
  • Ensure any vegetation left after Step 1 is fully broken up.
  • After tilling, use a rake to level the yard.
  • Add topsoil as necessary.

Once you’ve tilled the soil, a garden rake or similar tool should be used to ensure the lawn is level and drains properly. You don’t want any low spots that may flood. You may need to add a layer of topsoil in some areas. However, make sure the soil level is at least 1 inch below paved surfaces. This will ensure good drainage once your sod is laid.

Spray Any New Weeds

Wait 2 weeks after tilling before laying sod. The tilling process may bring weed seeds close to the surface, causing them to sprout. Kill or spray these weeds as they come, otherwise, they may invade your new sod lawn.

  • Monitor lawn for 2 weeks after tilling.
  • Spray any weeds that sprout at this time.

Again, a glyphosate weed killer like Roundup is great for this step. It kills weeds fast and doesn’t remain in the soil long enough to harm your sod.

Order Your Sod

Texas sod pallet

Now’s the time to put in your order for the grass type you’ve chosen. Make sure to calculate the square footage of the area where you’re laying sod. Keep in mind, you will have to cut some sod pieces, so slightly over-ordering is desirable.

  • Calculate lawn square footage to determine how much sod you need.
  • Work with a reputable sod dealer that will deliver the same day the sod is cut.

Sod does not survive long on a pallet. Make sure the seller will cut the sod the same day it is delivered. Sod left overnight on a pallet can dry out and die.

Lay Your Sod

Laying sod is tough work. Make sure you have a large enough crew for the job and plan the right amount of time it takes to lay sod. It’s critical to determine how many hours of work you have ahead of you. Remember, since sod doesn’t do well if left on the pallet, it should be installed the same day it arrives.

  • Calculate how many hours of work it will take to lay the sod you’ve ordered.
  • Lay sod the same day it is delivered.
  • Lay sod in a brick-like pattern, offsetting seams.
  • Use a sod knife to trim sod to fit around curves and lawn fixtures.

When laying sod, make sure the edges of each piece are snug to its neighbors but not overlapping. Lay the pieces of sod in an offset, brick-like pattern for a more uniform look. You may need to use a sod knife to cut pieces of sod to fit in certain areas.

Water and Fertilize Your New Lawn

New sod craves water, especially in Texas heat. To prevent your sod from drying, shrinking, and possibly dying, water twice per day for the initial 2 weeks. This is enough time for your sod to develop initial roots and become more self-sufficient. From there, you can gradually reduce watering until you’re on a standard watering schedule.

  • Week 1 and 2: Water sod 2 times per day (10 mins per watering)
  • Week 3: Water sod once per day (15–20 mins per watering)
  • Week 4 and Beyond: Water 2 times per week (30–40 mins per watering)
  • Use a liquid fertilizer, like Simple Lawn Solutions 16-4-8 to feed your new sod.
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To boost your sod’s performance, spray liquid fertilizer on your new lawn 3 weeks after installation. This will ensure increased growth and stronger roots.

How to Plant Sod in Texas

Texas is a unique state because different grasses thrive in different regions. The St. Augustine grass that grows well in Houston will struggle in West Texas, while the Buffalo grass that grows well in most of the state won’t take to the clay soil in East Texas. First and foremost, make the right choice of grass when laying sod on your Texas lawn.

Once you’ve selected a grass that will do well in your area of Texas, you’ve already won half the battle. A good install and high-quality sod from a reputable dealer will take care of the rest. Just remember to give your grass sod plenty of water and nutrients and you’ll have a fully established lawn in just 6 weeks.

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