Sod vs. Seed: Which One Is for You?

Springtime is fast approaching, which means that it is time to think about how you are going to get your lawn looking green and healthy. If you can’t wait to lay down grass until the fall, you still have one big decision: seed, or sod? There are pro’s and con’s to both choices, so keep reading to find out which type of grass is the own for your lawn!

The Similarities

Sod and seed are similar in that they both need to be laid when the weather is cooler, in the fall or early spring. Both types of grass take time to establish their roots, and need consistent and frequent care and attention when they are initially laid. In addition, once they are established, sod and seed both need the same amount of care in regards to watering and fertilizing.

The Differences

As mentioned before, there are pro’s and con’s to both sod and seed. Let’s begin by taking a look at the pro’s and con’s of sod.

Pro’s: Sod

The first benefit of laying sod is that it immediately transforms your lawn into a lush and healthy one; this is the main reason why people pick sod over seed. The prep work that goes into the soil is very minimal for sod, as it just requires a simple de-weeding, fertilizing, and raking. In addition, sod does not take as long as seed does to establish, as it only needs about 2 weeks to establish shallow roots, and 6 weeks to establish deep roots; this means that you can resume regular foot traffic sooner than with seed. Sod is a great choice for areas of your lawn that are on slopes or prone to erosion, as it will not wash away in heavy rains. Sod also trumps seed when it comes to weed maintenance, as the already-grown sod can fight all of the weeds that try to steal its nutrients, leaving you with very few weeds to worry about. Sod also requires less care when it comes to watering, as your fully-grown grass only needs watering in order to establish roots, rather than to grow.

In summation:

  • Sod makes your lawn look healthy and lush instantly, only making you wait a few weeks to walk on it and mow it.

  • Sod is already full-grown, and so is less prone to weeds.

  • Sod is a great option for areas on slopes or prone to erosion, as it won’t wash away in the rain.

  • Sod is very low initial maintenance when it comes to watering.

Con’s: Sod

The main disadvantage of using sod rather than seed is that sod is much more expensive. This is because it is already grown, there is a very small window of harvest, and you typically want to hire a professional to lay it. Since sod is real grass, it needs to be harvested and laid all within 24 hours, or it will die. Laying sod is something that not many are comfortable doing themselves, as there are many things that could go wrong in the process, and so it is wise to pay a professional to do so. As sod is grown somewhere else and then transplanted to your yard, it may take a while to assimilate to your growing conditions. Because it is grown somewhere else, sod also does not typically do well in shady areas. Unlike seed, there are not near as many options of grasses that are grown as sod. This means that there is a chance you will not be able to find a sod that is right for your soil conditions, and will need to use seed instead.

In summation:

  • Sod is much more expensive than seed, due to the fact it is already grown, should be installed by a professional, and due to delivery costs.

  • Sod will take time to adjust to your soil conditions, and does not grow well in shady areas.

  • There are less options for sod than seed, as not many grasses can be grown as sod.

Moving on from sod, let’s take a look at the pro’s and con’s of grass seed to see how they compare.

Pro’s: Seed

Many homeowners choose to use seed to get the grass growing in their yard, as it is something you can do yourself, and tends to be much less expensive than laying sod. Seed does not have a certain planting window like sod does, as seed can be purchased from most home improvement stores or even online. Seed comes in many shapes and forms, which means that there are so many more options for grass seed than there are for sod. This means that you will be able to find and plant the type of grass that will do best in your growing conditions, instead of choosing from a limited list. Seed does not need to adjust from one growing condition to another, as it will be growing in one place the whole time, and so does not need an adjustment period.

In summation:

  • Seed is much less expensive than sod; it can be 10-20% less expensive.

  • You can plant seed yourself, or pay a professional to do it for you for far less than laying sod.

  • Seed can be purchased at any time, as it does not have a harvesting and planting window.

  • There are many more options for seed than sod, and you can find the type of grass that is right for your soil.

  • Seed does not need an adjustment period from one growing condition to another.’

Con’s: Seed

One disadvantage of seed is that it takes far longer to make your lawn look lush and healthy than laying sod. Since seed needs to grow and establish its roots, it can take around 2 years before your grass seed is fully mature. Because it requires time to grow and mature, it can take months before your grass is ready for you to resume regular foot traffic. This means you should avoid playing in your grass until it has been mowed at least 3 times. The initial maintenance of seed is also much more than sod, as seed requires frequent waterings in the first 2-3 weeks, and very little foot traffic in order to grow. Seed does not do well when grown on slopes or spots that are prone to erosion, as one heavy rain could wash all of the seeds and soil away. Weed vulnerability is another thing to factor, as growing seeds may have their nutrients stolen from them by growing weeds.

In summation:

  • Seed takes longer to establish and mature, meaning you will have to wait for a lush and healthy lawn.

  • Due to this long growth period, you should not resume foot traffic on your seed until it has been mowed at least 3 times.

  • Seed requires a lot of attention and care in the first 2-3 weeks of growing, especially in the first stages of growth.

  • Grass seed does not do well on slopes or erosive areas, as heavy rains could wash everything away.

  • Lastly, seeds are much more prone to weeds than sod is.

Sod or Seed?

In the end, with all of these factors in mind, it is up to the homeowner to decide whether they wish to lay sod or plant grass seed to get their lawns ready for the year. Depending on how much you want to spend on your lawn, and what level of difficulty your soil shows for grass-growing, it is your decision to choose sod or seed! We hope this blog helped you weigh your options, and figure out what type of grass is right for you!

8826 Santa Fe Drive Suite 300,

Overland Park, KS 66212

Tel: 913-362-0089

© 2017 Principal Landscape Group, LLC

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram