If you’ve ever wanted to give your yard a makeover and refresh your outdoor space but weren’t sure where to start – fear not. Installing sod is one of the best ways to completely update the look and feel of a lawn without too much work or stress. With so many options regarding types of grass, shade tolerance, soil quality, etc., understanding what is in a pallet of sod can be daunting at first. In this post, we will explore these factors and provide an easy step-by-step guide for installing sod in your yard to have beautiful grass that lasts for years to come.
What is Sod ?
Let’s begin by defining what “sod” means. Sod (surface of the ground), or turf, is a pre-grown section of grass harvested into rolls or squares with a thin layer of soil and roots attached. It is typically used in landscaping and gardening projects as an instant solution to establish a lawn or replace damaged grass areas.
Different Sod Shapes
Sod slabs are frequently used in the southern parts of the United States and come in various shapes and sizes. The most common length is 400, 450, or 500 square feet, although other irregular sizes such as 399, 452, and 503 square feet are also available.
Rectangular sod slabs measure 24 inches long by 16 inches wide, with each slab covering an area of approximately 2.66 square feet. When purchasing sod for your lawn, you must consider the total area covered by the sod and that you quote per square foot. This will help ensure you get all the coverage you need for your project.
2. Mini Hand Roll
Mini hand rolls have recently gained tremendous popularity in northern cool season markets. The standard size of these rolls is 40 x 18 inches, covering five sq. ft., and 80 are usually found on 400 sq. ft pallets, 90 on 450 sq. ft pallets, and 100 on 500 sq. ft pallets. Occasionally, you may find 60 x 24 or 80 x 18-inch rolls in Bermuda grass covering ten sq. ft.
3. Large Roll
Large rolls are also standard in the northern cold season markets and come in sizes of 60 x 24 inches or 80 x 18 inches, equaling 10 sq. ft per roll. Standard pallet sizes for these areas typically range from 500 to 700 sq. ft with 50, 60, or 70 rolls per pallet. The most popular grasses in this region are tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass.
Let’s begin by defining what “sod” means. Sod, or turf, is a pre-grown section of grass harvested into rolls or squares with a thin layer of soil and roots attached. It is typically used in landscaping and gardening projects as an instant solution to establish a lawn or replace damaged grass areas.
Sod vs. Grass, Turf, and Soil
To differentiate sod from other related concepts, let’s consider the following points:
- Sod vs. Grass: While the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, sod refers to grass’s pre-grown sections (rolls or squares), whereas grass describes the individual grass plants that eventually cover a lawn.
- Sod vs. Turf: Turf is another name for sod. The distinction may vary regionally or culturally, but the two terms refer to the same product.
- Sod vs. Soil: Soil is the natural, loose material that covers the Earth’s surface and serves as a medium for plant growth. While sod includes a layer of soil as part of its composition, it is predominantly a grass product.
When to Use Sod and How It Compares to Other Methods?
Sod is commonly used when an instant lawn is desired, such as for new housing developments, commercial landscapes, or sports fields. It is beneficial in erosion-prone areas as it provides immediate protection for the soil.
Seeding and grass plugs, however, require more time for establishment and growth and may not be suitable for these specific applications.
Compared to seeding, sod has several advantages:
- Quicker establishment: Sod creates an instant lawn, whereas seeding can take weeks or months to produce the desired coverage.
- Effective erosion control: Since sod comes with a developed root system, it is more effective at preventing soil erosion from heavy rainfall or wind.
- Minimal weed growth: Sod tends to contain fewer weeds than seed because it is grown and maintained in a controlled environment.
However, sod has its disadvantages as well:
- Higher cost: Sod is typically more expensive than seeding or grass plugs.
- Limited grass species: Sod offers fewer grass species options, as not all species can be grown as sod.
Sod Installation and Maintenance
To install sod, prepare the soil by loosening the top few inches, removing debris, and leveling the area. Lay the sod on the prepared surface, ensuring all edges are tightly pushed together to avoid gaps. Water the sod immediately after installation to encourage the roots to take hold in the ground.
For proper maintenance of a sodded lawn, follow these guidelines:
- Water frequently during the first few weeks, gradually reducing the frequency as the roots establish.
- Mow the lawn once it has reached 3-4 inches in height, careful not to cut more than a third of the grass blades at a time.
- Apply fertilizer and weed control as needed to maintain the health and appearance of your lawn.
Although sod is more expensive than seeding or grass plugs initially, it may be worth the investment because of the instant results and reduced maintenance requirements during establishment. For those interested in using sod, weighing the initial cost against the benefits of a more quickly established lawn and the potential long-term savings in maintenance time and effort is essential.
How many square feet are in a pallet of sod?
As a landscaper, calculating how many pallets of sod are needed to cover a specific area can be efficiently determined by considering the dimensions and types of sod available, their square footage, and the area to be covered.
There are three types of sod pallets to choose from, depending on your location in the U.S:
- Slabs (Most Standard in southern parts of the United States): Comes in 399, 452, or 503 sq. ft.
- Mini Hand Rolls (currently Gaining popularity in the northern region of the U.S.): Comes in 400, 450, and 500 sq. ft.
- Large Rolls (Most common in northern parts of the U.S.): Comes in 500, 600, and 700 sq. ft.
Let’s assume we are given a desired area
X square feet to cover with sod. To calculate the number of pallets required, follow these steps:
- Identify the sod type that is appropriate or available for your region.
- Determine the size of the sod pallet closest to or slightly larger than the required area, ensuring minimal waste.
- Divide the desired sod area (X) by the chosen sod pallet size to find the required pallets. Round up to the nearest whole number as you can’t purchase partial pallets.
(Number of pallets required) = CEIL(X / (Chosen sod pallet size)
Keep in mind that variations in sod thickness may slightly impact the overall square footage, as thicker sod may have slightly less square footage in a pallet. While this is generally not a significant issue, adding an extra margin, around 3-5%, can be helpful when purchasing sod to account for any inconsistencies or overlapping in your landscaping.
Things To Know Before Buying Slabs of palletized sod
When buying sod, it is essential to know the cost per square foot (not per pallet) and be aware of variations in how many square feet come on a pallet.
Pallets are typically sold in sizes ranging from 400-500 sq. ft., and the slabs of turf in the southern United States come on 16×24 inch rectangles that cover 2.66 sq. ft. each.
Common grass types available include:
- St. Augustine
- Centipede varieties.
The table below demonstrates the differences between slabs, mini rolls, and large rolls regarding square feet per pallet. Even though single slabs (2.66 sq. ft.) yield finished pallets with irregular numbers (399, 452, and 503 sq. ft.), they are still sold as 400, 450, and 500 sq. ft. Pallets. Sod farms generally add an extra slab to 399 sq. ft. pallets, thus offering a slight advantage to end-consumers in all cases.
|Sod Pallet Shape||Sq. ft||Standard Sizes Sold||Square Feet / Pallet|
|Single Slab Sod||2.66 Sq. ft (16 × 24 inches)||150, 170, and 180 slabs per a single pallet||399, 452, 503 Sq. ft|
|Single Mini Hand Roll||5 Sq. ft (40 × 18 inches)||80, 90, and 100 rolls per a single pallet||400, 450, 500Sq. ft|
|Single Large Roll||10 Sq. ft (60 × 24 or 80 × 80 inches)||50, 60, 70 rolls per pallet||500, 600, 700 Sq. ft|
How much does a pallet of sod weigh?
The weight of a pallet of sod depends on several factors, including the type and thickness of the sod, as well as its moisture content. On average, a pallet of sod can weigh anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000 pounds (680-1360kg).
Large roll sod tends to be heavier than slabs or mini hand rolls due to its larger size and higher moisture content. Additionally, thicker sod will weigh more than thinner sod of the same size due to its greater density.
It’s important to remember this when calculating how much sod is needed for a project, as heavier pallets may require larger trucks or other specialized equipment for transportation.
Regardless of the type and thickness of the sod, it’s always best to get a specific weight estimate from your supplier before committing to purchase.
How many square feet of grass is on the pallet of sod?
The amount of square footage on a pallet of sod will depend on the type of sod and its size. Slabs are usually available in 399, 452, or 503 square feet per pallet, while mini hand rolls come in 400, 450, and 500 sq. ft., and large rolls come in 500, 600, and 700 sq. ft.
A pallet is an area of 450 square feet, which contains 165 of the 16×24 blocks of grass. This defines one pallet, generally weighing 2500-3000 pounds across all the various varieties.
In conclusion, when calculating the amount of sod needed for a project, it is essential to consider the sod type and size that will be used. The most common types are slab, mini hand roll, and large roll, with standard sizes ranging from 400 to 700 square feet per pallet. Additionally, variations in sod thickness may slightly impact the overall square footage as thicker sod has less square footage per pallet.
Knowing the cost per square foot and the weight of a single pallet of sod can help ensure that you get the right amount of coverage for your project. Finally, getting an exact weight estimate from your supplier before committing to purchase is always best.
Douglas Mackalie is a Founder of Mackalies Garden. He is one of the most exciting people you’ll ever meet. He has 25 years of experience in horticulture and gardening, most of which he’s spent outdoors getting his hands dirty.