When it’s time to establish a new lawn, is it better to plant grass seed or lay fresh sod? Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Here are some pros and cons to consider before making your choice.
- A wide selection of species available.
- Less initial expense than sodding or plugging.
- Stronger initial root system development.
- Timing is critical. There’s a smaller time window for planting and establishing a lawn from seeds.
- Longer time to establish a dense, usable lawn.
- You may need to re-seed areas where the seeds didn’t germinate properly.
- Requires constant moisture during germination.
- Rain or irrigation may wash away seeds from some areas, especially if there’s a slope.
- Weeds can be a problem while the lawn is getting established.
Can be planted at any time during the growing season.
- You get an “instant” lawn. The results are immediate, predictable and visible.
- You will be able to safely walk on it soon after planting.
- Immediate reduction of dust, mud and soil erosion.
- You don’t have to worry about thin or thick patches.
- High-quality sod is weed free.
- Careful watering will give you a rooted and established lawn within a few weeks.
- There’s less care involved with establishing a full, lush lawn.
- The initial cost is higher than for seeding.
- Your choice of species will be limited to those that are known to grow the best in your area.
- It needs to be watered consistently for the first few weeks until it becomes established.
- Must be properly installed with staggered seams to help prevent weeds from invading between pieces.
In the end, the choice often comes down to time vs. money. A quality sod installation provides a nearly instant lawn with predictable results. (You can see what you are getting in advance.) Seeding will take more time, diligence and sweat equity to produce the desired results. And with a sodded lawn, you can take full advantage of summer holidays, from Memorial Day and the July 4th weekend through your Labor Day barbecue party. So instead of growing grass all summer, you can be growing family memories, and that’s a great investment.