The easy answer is to measure the length and width in feet of the space you want to cover. Multiply those two numbers together, then divide by the sod that will come on the pallet. (See below to find out how much sod is on a pallet.)
The tricky part is that we usually don't have easy to measure spaces. You just have an area that was thinned or you cut a tree down or you just got tired of that really big bed of shrubs. You can either give it your best guesstimate or use a formula found here:
The bad news. You most likely will not come up with a number that neatly fits into the square footage that comes on a pallet. Sod farms will not deliver partial pallets so you will have to order a bit more than you need, then either find someone that needs the amount you will have extra or find other spots in your yard that might need some repair/replacement.
The other option is to order the pallet quantity just under what you need, have them delivered, then go to a landscape supplier or nursery and purchase the extra you need by the piece. You will find that buying per piece is much more expensive than by the pallet, often times times as much as 400% higher. Some providers do offer half pallets you can pick up.
Be aware - Sod coming from different suppliers may look different, even though it is certified to be the same grass. Eventually it will grow to look the same, but due to environmental differences, (different soils, different nutrition, growing sites) and how each farm cuts (thickness) the sod may not look the same when you first lay it. Within a year or so it should blend to where you can't tell a difference.
How much sod is on a pallet?
When you are ordering sod it is always a good practice to find out how much sod you are getting on each pallet. Ask your supplier how many square feet are on the pallets you are purchasing.
Mostly you will find that pallets of Bermuda sod will have 504 square feet of sod. If in slabs or pieces they will be 16 inches by 24 inches (2.66 sq ft each). 189 pieces on each pallet. When it is in rolls it can vary in length and pallet size, but most conform to the slab footage. I prefer the pieces because they are not as heavy, but you make more trips back and forth to the pallet.
The Zoysias, Fescue and Centipede grasses come a little more mixed related to quantity on the pallet. Some farms cut them at 450 sq ft each and others at 504 sq ft.
Can I carry a pallet in my FIT car?
NO, you can't. It won't 'fit' and the suspension system isn't strong enough to handle the weight. You run a strong possibility of damaging your vehicle.
Can I carry a pallet in my F250 truck?
YES, you can!
Pallets of are HEAVY. It takes a forklift to move a pallet. The pallets are usually 4 feet by 4 feet with some grass overhang. You can measure the inside of you truck bed to find out if it will fit. Be sure to measure between the wheel wells. A pallet of sod put on top of wheel wells will crush the metal. If you have a truck with a lid that won't come all the way off it is usually impossible to load a pallet of truck into the bed. If you only need one or two pallets and you have a truck it is usually more cost effective to go to a nursery or landscape supply yard and pick them up. Sod farms will deliver them, but usually the more pallets you purchase the less expensive the delivery charge will be.
How does the sod get delivered to my home?
Most farms will bring sod to you on a tractor trailer truck. They can hold up to 16-20 pallets of sod on one truck. There will be a fork loader on the back of the truck that will unload the sod. Farms LIKE to deliver over night when there is less traffic to deal with. If you live in a gated community or if you request a day drop they usually can accommodate you. Most sod farms prefer to deliver to the curb of your street. This reduces the likelihood of breaking things like your driveway or your irrigation. If you request positioning, some farms will charge you extra or ask you to sign a damages waiver. Usually reasonable requests can be accommodated. Generally, it is less expensive and better advised to have them deliver the sod to the curb, then move it from there.
How long in advance should I order my sod?
It depends on how many pallets, time of year and type of sod. Give your supplier as much time as possible to get your order fulfilled. Often times it requires some flexibility on your part. Farms cannot cut if too much rain has fallen on the fields, and you do not want heavy soggy wet sod. Sometimes they will be busier than other times and you will be in competition with professionals that are buying. Sometimes there can be shortages of a particular variety that makes it more difficult to source.
Can I order and lay my sod anytime of year?
If you are using Bermuda, pretty much yes. Be practical about it. If it is 100 degrees in August, you might want to wait until the heat wave passes. However it can be done, if you lay it quick enough and if you use plenty of water. If it is 0 degrees you might want to wait until it warms up a bit. You can lay dormant grass, without problems. When it is extremely cold, the roots might get damaged on the way to your lawn and it is really hard to get apart frozen slabs of grass. It isn't a good idea to lay Centipede when it drops below 32 degrees. It isn't a good idea to lay Fescue when temperatures exceed 80 degrees. Fall, Winter and Spring are ideal for Fescue. It depends on the type of Zoysia as to when is ideal and when it isn't a good idea. Check with your supplier to find out when you know what type of Zoysia you will be using.
If you still have questions on ordering sod please give us a call or contact us here on the site. Stay tuned for the next installment! The nitty gritty down and dirty how to Lay your sod.