Choosing between sod and seed for a greener lawn

It doesn’t matter if you’re in a newly built home with no lawn or an older home with patchy spots of grass here and there, you have two options to turn your yard into a lush, green showplace your neighbors will envy: sod or seed.

A good, thick lawn always starts with a well prepped base.

“It’s important to prepare the soil, whether you’re doing sod or seed,” said Angie’s List founder Angie Hicks. “So go ahead, rake the soil and add at least two inches of fresh top soil or compost, so that the sod or seed has good soil to take root in.”

Sod takes just two or three weeks to establish a good root system. It’s about eight times more expensive than seed, so don’t waste your investment – water it daily.

“Keep it wet for a couple weeks,” lawn care specialist Terry Jungels said. “I mean, every day, ten minutes a day, two times a day, because that helps. All their roots are in the tops of the sod, so you don’t need to soak the ground to get it wet. You want all the moisture to be in the top layer.”

“If you’re considering sod, be sure that your yard has a good amount of sunlight because sod doesn’t do as well if it’s laid in an area of all shade,” added Hicks.

Seed is a better option for people who don’t need immediate results or who don’t want to spend a lot. A seeded yard develops a stronger root system because it’s established in native soil. Fall is the ideal time to spread seed; springtime requires more patience.

“Because they’re so much cooler, the seed lays dormant, and when it does germinate, it’s fighting against of a lot of the early spring weeds that are already germinating at that time. I would much rather do seeding late summer through the fall,” said T.J. Houghtalen, a lawn care specialist.

If you decide to plant seed, Angie says to buy the highest quality seed you can afford. Check to make sure it has zero weed content and a germination rate of about 85 percent.