It's time to vote on our 2017 photo contest! Vote for your favorite photos of the year here!

Laying Sod

Fort Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10b)

Hi, can I lay new sod over existing grass, or does the ground have to be absolutely clear of grass, weeds before putting down the new grass.?

The next door neighbors had part of their yard resodded professionally and the landscapers simply put the sod over existing grass, it seems to have grown in fine-- but maybe i missed a step they took?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

I'd personally never heard of laying sod over existing grass, so i googled it (as i do everything -- actually I "yahoo'ed" it)

here were 2 decent article i found:

When i've done sod, i've always cleaned up the old stuff, raked soil and add more, etc - grade, then lay the sod.



Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

I don't think you could lay sod over existing sod--in order to get it to grow, you need to lay it against the ground and run a roller over it to press it down, making sure that the roots of the sod are in good contact with the soil so they can grow down into it. If you put it over existing sod, then you won't be able to get that good contact between the new sod and the ground. Pros have sod cutters that enable them to rip up old grass pretty quickly, so I'm sure you just missed seeing that part when your neighbors were having their yard done. If your current grass is looking a little ratty and you don't want to go to all the trouble of removing it, then you might consider seeding in the bad spots rather than sod.

Menasha, WI(Zone 5a)

I don't think there is any way they could have layed sod over grass. The roots would dry out and die that way.
Yes a sodcutter(rentable) or even dethaching the grass and removing down to bare soil would work. Either way the roots of the sod need to make contact with soil to take hold. It's work no matter how you do it.

Tulsa, OK(Zone 7a)

My next door neighbor and another home in my neighborhood applied sod to their yards last spring. The work was done by professional landscapers. The sod was laid over the existing lawn. They didn't even bother mowing it. Last summer the two lawns were the greenest in the area. The lawn next door is now turning green before mine. The process seems to work fine. I have seen this done on several other yards.

Menasha, WI(Zone 5a)

Learn something everyday I guess. What type of grass works for that?

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Can't imagine how that would work, I have no idea how the roots from the sod would be able to get into the ground and find moisture before they dry up and die, but I guess they must know something I don't!

Tulsa, OK(Zone 7a)

This photo shows a strip of sod that was installed over a week ago. The sod was laid down over the grass which was about two or three inches tall. The owners had bermuda there and decided that they wanted fescue. It gets full sun there so I don't know why they wanted fescue. I watched the installation. I was told that the weight of the sod compresses the grass and of course it dies. The layer of grass becomes sort of a layer of compost that acts as a connector between the sod and the soil and supplies nitrogen. It has worked every time that I have seen it done. They suggest watering three times a week until the sod has been firmly rooted.

Thumbnail by Rocco
Fort Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10b)

Thanks for all of your comments I appreciate the input. BTW, here's the little patch getting the sod

Thumbnail by jmf_sofla
Watkinsville, GA

I laid sod directly on top of old grass last year and it looks great... but it may well make a difference that my front yard tends to be a SWAMP, and has large bare patches in the old grass anyway. I love the side-effect that the new sod then raises the soil level a teensy bit as well, which hopefully will redirect more of the water to run off (I'm on a hill) rather than collecting in puddles on my lawn. So the new grass/sod sits happily atop the old and thrives, whereas grass seed tends to drown. (I know, I could relandscape and grade the entire lawn, but other home-improvement projects are higher on my priority list and the sod was free, from parts of the lawn I'm turning into the garden, plus from neighbors stripping off lawn to build a deck :) ).

Ponce, PR

I ended up at this forum when I googled "sod applied installed over existing lawn". Why? Because yesterday I decide to get quotes to sod my front yard to rejuvenate it from seeded 10 years ago. Today one of the landscapers gave me a quote - the lowest - and when I asked how he would install the sod, he said just over the existing lawn. I was shocked ! Thought I was "hearing things." After more 17 years doing my own landscaping, I thought I had heard it all. I had never read of landscapers that installed sod this way or even heard friends or neighbors that they had it done this way, not even that they knew or heard of anyone else having their sod installed this way. Nothing! Nada! Zero! So I came here for help, and help I got the help I needed. Yes, it is true this sort of thing is done. BTW, the other two quotes were by applying a herbicide first to kill the existing grass and by using a sod-cutter to eliminate teh existing grass. Now I know I am not the only one surprised by this installation technique. Tomorrow I am calling him to sign the contract for the installation this spring. Happy landscaping!!! Bobby

Long Beach, CA(Zone 10a)

I have laid sections of sod over old grass and it worked fine, but never an entire lawn, and that was usually in spotty areas where kids or animals had destroyed it, so there was ample room for soil to root contact from the get-go.

I'd be leery of laying fescue over bermuda for fear the bermuda would come back with a vengeance, due to it's deep roots.

I suppose anything's possible.

Miami, FL


I sprayed grass killer to kill the grass and weeds and just ripped everything off the ground when it died. It took about a week. So I layed down the sod over the dirt. Now, I have one section where I did not spray grass killer because it didnt look that bad. But since I have some sod left over, I thought about laying it right over the sod. I had started to do it but decided to google it just in case it was impossible to do. But it seems not.

These postings were very informative.

Tampa, FL(Zone 10a)

The only problem with laying sod on an existing lawn is that it may interfere with the sprinkler system (if you have one).

Most lawn pop-up heads are only 4". If you cut your lawn at 2-3" that leaves a clearance of 1-2" for the head to spray over the turf. When you lay the new sod you will raise the soil level by 1" to 1 1/2". It can really mess up the coverage.

Thumbnail by DaleTheGardener
Bethel, CT

Depends on the grass and the thatch layer underneath. If the thatch is thick, you'll have a very, very hard time. The roots need to grow into soil where nutrients and water can be held in store. Thatch will not suffice.

If the lawn is very thin though, it would work. The roots will go down into the soil and the thin, existing grass will decompose.

Good luck!

-C.J. Brown

dhaka, Bangladesh

If you want design your yard first time, you need to consider the layout of your yard, the condition of soil and to choose a grass that will grow best in your yard’s environment. When you have a good planning, your grass will have a much better chance of taking root and growing into a lush, successful lawn.If you r in USA, Austin your best choice will be sod Austin for your beautiful yard.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

I don't think I would use a roller on the new sod, the rolling needs to be done to the soil to level out lumps and raised areas before the sod, then watered and normally a pellet ?? feed is scattered on the rolled soil , then the sod is laid like brick pattern, you need to lay boards down on the sods as you work so you dont crush the tender roots when walking over it, the planks of wood spread out your weight, after the sod is laid, stay off the sod but make sure it's watered every day or evening till it's roots take, In your area and heat, the best time to do this is the cooler months and make sure the sod don't dry out, it might be best to water mornings so the humidity don't leave too much moisture on the TOP of the green part, but look around your neighbours to see there watering times as most will have a system set up on a timer.
Good luck. WeeNel.

Camas, WA

A few years back my husband and I bought our first house and we decided to lay the turf on our own. Biggest mistake ever, we spent days laying the turf and ended up with many problems. Next time I will hire someone to install the turf.

Elk Grove, CA

Just moved about fifty square feet of original but 14 year old turf off one lawn and onto bare and trouble spots on another. I patchworked the 1/2 sq ft turfs into place, watered them until they were squishy, then stomped all over them, especially the edges. I watered and stomped them daily for a week, then did occasional additional hand watering for another week in addition to twice-daily 5 min. watering as usual. Finally, I strew lawn patch seed from Green Acres nursery around any weak spots or to blur the edges. Throughout I have kept the lawnmower off.

That was July. Got a little yellow in early August, but now that it is cooling and getting more humid, it is greening nicely, the turfs are rooted into the old stuff (which included clay, moss, old grass). I will dust the entire lot with patch seed to make it more uniform. The additional soil had improved drainage. However, sprinklers are a problem as noted above; I may replace popups with installed oscillating fan sprinklers governed by simple hose timers.

Post a Reply to this Thread

Please or register to post.

Upload Images to your reply

    You may upload up to 5 images