Can I Lay Sod Over Existing Grass?

by Editor

Lawn and Garden Questions and Answers

Question: I hate the way my lawn looks, but I really don’t want to do all that digging and tilling. Can I just lay new sod over my existing grass?

- Kevin B. (Little Rock, AR)

Answer: Unless you’re only doing a very small area, I would plant new grass seeds as opposed to laying down new sod. And here’s why:

If the existing grass already has problems, laying new sod on top of it only mask it temporarily. It could be a matter of compacted soil or issues with insects and diseases. Depending on how much you’re laying down, sod can get pretty expensive. So, before you waste your money, you need to spend some time diagnosing and solving the underlying problem that’s causing your existing lawn to be the way it is now.

When you put sod on top of existing grass, that part will be higher than the rest. It will look uneven. Plus, the new sod will dry up faster.

The roots of the new sod need to reach the soil to properly develop. It’s more difficult for the new sod to establish its roots when it has a layer of unfavorable grass it has to go through.

Laying new sod over old grass cuts off sunlight and air to that layer. Without sunlight and air, that layer can turn slimy. I don’t think you want a layer of unhealthy and slimy turf underneath your nice new sod.

Again, when you lay sod over old turf, you’re just covering the problem temporarily. It may just be a matter of time when whatever is causing the old turf to look bad rears its ugly head through the new turf.

My advice is to start fresh by prepping the space and plant new grass seeds.

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