New Sod: What is the Return on Your Investment?

If you were wondering what long term benefits a new sod installation might reap, you have come to the right place. The return on your investment in new sod comes in the form of enjoyment and the resale value of your home. George Woerner, CEO of Woerner Farms, said “The sod is what beautifies your house. It compliments it. A healthy lawn is pretty resilient and should be able to give you decades of enjoyment. [Additionally,] a beautiful lawn will increase the realty value. It tells your buyers that the house is well taken care of and follows the 80% rule of marketing (that 80% of the sale is the appearance).”

First Step

In order to maintain a beautiful lawn, you must first ensure that you are using the correct amount of nutrients for your soil. In fact, Mr. Woerner said that this is actually one of the first steps in installing new sod, as well as a key step in preserving it. Typically, the best way to measure what nutrients is by testing your soil. Mr. Woerner explained, “It all starts with a soil test. The soil test actually tells you what you need- it’s like going to the doctor and getting a blood test. What a soil sample does is it tells you what exactly you need for your lawn.” Mr. Woerner said that he recommends you invest in a soil test yearly, especially for sandier soils.

Blood Test

So, when should I invest in new sod and why should I do so rather than solving my lawn’s problems one by one? Well, Mr. Woerner said, “I wouldn’t tell someone to take out a healthy lawn, there needs to be a reason.” Over [or under] watering your lawn, over/under fertilizing your lawn, or mowing incorrectly are a few ways people may inadvertently harm their sod. Again, by investing in a soil test, you can rule out the fertilizing issue. As for watering your lawn efficiently, Mr. Woerner said to be sure that upon installing new sod, you water your lawn consistently for the first two weeks to ensure its overall health. When it comes to incorrect mowing, there are a few ways you can mess this up. Mr. Woerner explained, “When you mow, there are some things to keep in kind. One, Never mow it wet. Two, always have a sharp blade. And three, never mow over ⅓ of the leaf; If you let it get too tall the leaf gets woody and does not decompose. This creates a “thatch’ layer which water cannot penetrate.”

Watering Lawns
New Home

There are other, less controllable, reasons to invest in new sod, too. For example, if you have just bought a new home but there was a gap in time between owners, the lawn may not look in the best shape. In this case, the new owners will have to decide to invest in new sod. Another problem many face when their sod has been the same for a while is that trees might have grown large enough to cast shade over your grass. Mr. Woerner said, “Once you do have a [healthy] lawn I think it would be 10-20 years before you need to get new sod. What might happen in some places is trees will shade certain portions. That’s the reason so many people are having to rethink their lawn. If the trees get too big sometimes you might want to thin them. If your lawn went bad as a result, the best thing to do is replace it.”

New Sod Installation

It may seem easier to continue buying treatments for pesky weeds, or changing up your fertilizer, but it is often more efficient and cheaper to invest in a new sod installation altogether. Mr. Woerner explained, “[A new sod installation] gives you a chance to start over. A lot of times weeds and things get in the way, and many times it’s very difficult to fix them all. A start over is often cheaper.” Usually, new sod costs around 3 dollars per square yard, which is much less costly than some weed killers. Additionally, by pressing restart on your lawn, you are able to work towards maintaining its health so you won’t experience similar problems in the future. A healthy lawn doesn’t cost as much to maintain, so you save money by not having to constantly buy new treatments.

Types of Grass

The type of grass you have may also play a role in your return on investment. For example, St. Augustine is more beautiful than Centipede grasses making these lawns more gratifying and valuable. Another factor that plays into the benefits you can receive from new sod is the season of the year you are in, and the region of the country. This is known as cool and warm season grasses. On the gulf coast, we have warm season grass, meaning that grasses in that region tend to be green in the summer and brown in the winter. In Colorado and Kentucky, they have cool season grasses, meaning the opposite. According to Mr. Woerner, warm and cool season grasses are treated differently. “Even when you take a soil test, you will use a different blend of fertilizer. The reason is that in the south [there is] a lot of rain which leeches the nutrients out, but if you put the right nutrients down it will have more roots and hold nutrients longer. Some Northern grasses, like bluegrass will remain green year round.”

Ultimately, your sod is what makes your property more attractive, and can be uplifting for your soul. Mr. Woerner concluded, “If it’s properly cared for, [new sod] should be a long term investment.” By properly taking care of your soil, you are able to get the most benefits out of your lawn.