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Using a pick, scrape away dead plant material, removing the roots, and move any rocks out of the way. If the space is large, consider renting a sod cutter from a local rental yard or home improvement store. If possible, plant new sod around existing irrigation. You may need to alter the irrigation to water new sod.
Using a sod roller or rakes, level area so there are no major mounds or holes. Then roll over the dirt with a water-filled roller to weigh down and compact dirt. Leveling is the most critical part of laying down new sod.
As long as sod is kept moist it will grow. If you have a slope, lay sod crosswise so the lines or seams run perpendicular to the slop; this will ensure that water doesn't run downhill at each seam. In order to keep grass growing straight, begin along a straight edge of hardscaping or a planter bed, using the edge like a ruler. Start laying sod by staggering each piece similar to the way bricks are laid. This staggering will also support the new sod and keep entire rows from sliding off a slope. Run all rolls the same; your yard will look neat and orderly because the grass blades will lie the same direction.
Once sod is down, lightly water the new lawn. A weighted roller helps new sod come into contact with the soil. Dump half the water out of the roller (if it's too heavy it will damage sod), then roll over the sod in a perpendicular or diagonal pattern. If the lawn is really too wet, wait to roll it.
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