Sod vs Seed. The biggest considerations when choosing a new lawn are time and money. Think about how patient you will be in waiting for your new lawn and think about what your budget is. Seed or sod, the soil is prepared the same.
Sod: If it is important to have a lawn that can be used and enjoyed in a short time, then sod is the best investment for you. A professionally grown lawn can be yours in eight hours and ready for play.
Seed: If your budget does not allow for the cost of sod, seeding is an economical alternative. Keep in mind the wait could be 1- 2 years to reach the quality and beauty of a sod lawn.
|Coverage||Seed takes weeks to fill out. Seeded lawns are not uniform at first.||Sod makes an instant carpet of grass. New sod is rarely patchy or uneven in color.|
|Planting||Not recommended for winter or summer, possible in spring, best in fall for most areas.||Year around installation if available.|
|Cost vs. Value||Higher maintenance costs, increased water & chemical applications, as well as delayed use. These are trade off’s for lower installation costs.||Installation costs are offset by added value of timing, usability, uniformity and visual appeal. Reduced maintenance, chemical and water costs.|
|Erosion||Heavy rains on sloping areas will cause seed, chemicals and silt to wash into sidewalks and into drain systems.||Capable of accepting heavy rains without erosion or damage.|
|Weeds||Multiply applications of chemicals usually required to combat weeds until turf is established.||Minimal, if any chemicals required.|
The bottom line on sod vs seed
Seeding will have a lower initial cost than sod. But, in the long run the amount of watering, fertilizing, care (risk of failures or washouts), and weed killing applications will be much more expensive than sod. The sod arrives as a finished product on day one and seeding will take at least 2 years to compare. A sodded location will be usable in 2 weeks.
For a more reliable lawn that’s not threatened by erosion, go with sod! Depending on the climate you live in and your budget, you may not have a choice at all, but if you do, it may be best to shell out the extra bucks for sod.
ADVANTAGES OF SOD:
- With sod, you instantly have a beautiful, manicured lawn. There’s no waiting for seeds to sprout. And sod can be installed year-round, while seeds are generally planted in the spring or fall. Following installation the location is transformed from dirt into a beautiful lush lawn with an established root system in a matter of hours. The decision of sodding versus seeding will save years of hard work, frustration, and additional expense while trying to achieve a similar result.
- Because sod is fully mature at the time it is installed, it serves as immediate erosion control eliminating the chance of heavy rains causing permanent washboard damage to the lawn. This is a major advantage over seeding, especially when dealing with slopes or swales.
- Sod is much less susceptible to invasion by weeds, as compared to seeding, since the thick turf mat acts as a weed barrier to sprouting weed seeds.
- Sodding has less water requirements versus trying to grow new seed, plus when you do water you won’t be washing away the new seed and sprouted seedlings.
- A sodded lawn is ready for mowing and various recreational activity 2-3 weeks after installation.
- Sod isn’t as fragile as a seeded area. You don’t have to worry about the lawn being destroyed in the first few weeks by kids or pets trampling across it.
- Sod requires far less maintenance in the first few weeks. You’ll need to water and weed the lawn, but not as frequently as you have to with seed.
DISADVANTAGES OF SOD:
- The initial cost of sodding is considerably more expensive than seeding, however; many find that choosing to seed can often end up being the more expensive option in the long run.
- Sodding an area is much more labor intensive than seeding. The grading requirements are more difficult for sodding, and the sod rolls can range from 20-50 lbs each.
ADVANTAGES OF SEED:
- The initial cost of seeding a yard versus sodding is usually much less. Certain varieties of seed can be chosen to best suit extremely shady areas of a lawn. Seeding is less labor intensive compared to installing new sod. Seeding a lawn is a time-consuming process. But the results are rewarding. With a bit of hard work and a little luck, you’ll have a plush, green lawn.
- There are many different varieties of grass, and thus, many different types of seeds. It is important to do some research before you buy to find out which type of grass performs best in your climate.
DISADVANTAGES OF SEED:
- A seeded yard can often take 1-3 years depending on the soil and growing conditions before it can be compared to a newly sodded yard.
- If a lawn becomes eroded prior to becoming fully established, it may need to be totally redone.
- Seeded lawns are not uniform in height and color and can appear patchy until all areas properly fill in.
- Seeded lawns cannot handle a great deal of traffic throughout the first growing season.
- A seeded area is much more prone to weed invasion compared to a sodded area.
- New seed requires much more water and fertilizer than new sod before reaching a state of maturity.
- It usually takes several hours to lay grass seed. If it rains that night, you’ll have to spread more seed the next day. Then, you’ll need to spend the next few weeks watering and weeding the lawn to promote growth. About three weeks after seeding, the grass will begin to sprout.
- Seeding doesn’t work very well in hot climates; it is best in the north, where the winters are cold and the summers are hot. If you live in climate that is hot year round, sod is your best bet.