sod layered on pallets

Sod vs. Seed for Your Lawn

All you want is that perfect green lawn that makes everyone wonder how on earth you do it! However, getting to that point requires a lot of work, patience, and decision-making.

When your lawn needs to be replaced or gaps need to be filled, how do you choose between sod or grass seed? What is the best choice for you and your lifestyle? A lot of choices need to be made before making your final decision. So, where do you begin? 


5 Differences Between Sod and Seed


Cost of Sod and Grass Seed

The cost of sod far outweighs the cost of grass seed by over 100%. Grass seed can be installed for around $0.24 per square foot, while sod costs an average of $1.29 per square foot. If cost is a significant factor to you, then grass seed would be the optimal choice. Those on a tight budget generally opt for grass seed to save costs.


Time for Care of Sod or Grass Seed

Your time is precious. Knowing how much time you have available to commit to your lawn will help you decide which route you should choose. When choosing grass seed to grow your lawn, it is important to know it takes a significant amount of time.

It can take a year for your lawn to become fully established and ready for use! On the other hand, sod is considered ready for use for all types of activity after only two weeks!


Quality of Sod for your Lawn and Grass Seed

Grass seed and sod come with numerous different grass types to choose from. Grass seed typically has a broader range of options over sod.

Because grass seed takes so much longer to cover the lawn completely, weeds may mix with the grass during this process, making the initial appearance of the lawn messy and in need of immediate maintenance.


Difficult Spots in the Yard

One of the great things about sod is that all the pesky issues you have in your yard can usually be covered with it, making any extra maintenance no longer needed in those specific areas.

When using grass seed, it can be much harder to avoid spots on the lawn that don't grow correctly or at all. Flooding and mud buildup during rain can also be an issue when using grass seed. However, you won't run into it when using sod for your lawn.


What are the Pros & Cons of Sod?

Pros of Sod

  • Instant Lawn
  • Can be installed in fall/spring
  • Cheaper soil prep


Cons of Sod

  • Expensive
  • Hefty installation
  • Less variety
  • Moderate soil prep
  • High maintenance for two weeks


While sod has many pros and cons, the ultimate decision is up to you and what would work best for your needs. Are you trying to get your yard set up quickly, and the cost is not an issue? Then sod is the way to go.

Make sure to factor in the time expected for future maintenance needed in your yard, either short or long term. You don't want to spend a lot of money on something that you can't maintain. 


What are the Pros & Cons of Grass Seed?


Pros of Grass Seed

  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to install
  • Lots of variety


Cons of Grass Seed

  • High maintenance in the beginning months
  • Time to establish
  • Weeds may mix in with the grass


Just like sod, grass seed has many pros and cons, but regardless the final decision is up to you and what will work best for you and your needs. Do you enjoy the process of gardening and lawn care? Is cost a factor but time is not?

Grass seed is the most cost-effective but takes a lot of time. However, if you are in it for the long haul of a year 1+ and excited for the journey, grass seed is the way to go.


What Type of Maintenance is Needed for Sod vs. Seed Lawns?

Lawn care maintenance is necessary whether you choose to go with sod or grass seed. Maintaining your lawn is one of the most critical factors in a new lawn and keeping it nice for years to come.


Lawn Maintenance for Sod

Most lawn maintenance for sod takes place in the first two weeks. Watering is essential for the successful rooting of your new lawn. Make sure that the sod is kept moist throughout the day for the first two weeks. However, be careful not to overwater. Make sure to cut back a tiny bit on watering before your first cut.

The first time you should mow your new lawn is about two weeks after installation. Make sure not to mow your lawn too short as it will mess up the growth and rooting of your new sod. Also, take good care of your lawnmower as this helps with proper mowing.

Fertilize your lawn one month after installation and cut back on watering it after the first mow. Fertilization is vital for the longevity of your lawn. However, make sure to confirm the proper timing for your fertilizer as it should not be applied after x amount of time, depending on the climate.


Lawn Maintenance for Grass Seed

The process for lawn care once planting your grass seed begins right away. For at least the first two months, water is critical to establish your lawn. It is crucial that you do not let the lawn dry out. It is best to water earlier in the day, so blades of grass do not remain wet overnight.

Mowing generally needs to be done every week through the entire growth process. Restrict foot traffic for at least a month after planting and be sure to remove any necessary weeds. After applying starter fertilizer, fertilization is not needed until 6-8 weeks after being planted.

Now that you have all the information, you should easily be able to decide what the best choice for you is in the sod or grass seed debate. While many factors come into play, especially cost and time, both are great options.

Whatever you choose, your new lawn awaits you. So, get ready for the whole neighborhood to be asking how you have such a green thumb and how you keep your lawn always looking lush green.

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