What You Need to Know When Choosing Sod for Your Property

Written by Susan B.

As Southern California residents, we value our climate and the outdoor lifestyle it affords us. We spend a lot of time thinking about and planning before we choose plants and flowers for our gardens. And we understand the importance of curb appeal when were thinking about landscaping for the front of our properties. We believe that most of us don’t think twice about the importance of choosing the right sod for our property, or what we need to consider when selecting sod.

We rarely stop to think about the fact that sod provides the soil beneath it with a protective shield. When you look at the landscape in the aftermath of natural disasters, you gain a better understanding of the risk that these catastrophes pose for soil erosion. Well-established sod develops an extensive root system that helps the grass protect the soil beneath it from erosion.

 The Most Important Considerations in Choosing Sod

Before you choose sod, you need to factor some vital considerations into the equation.

  • Think about the visual appeal of the sod. If it is aesthetically pleasing, it will invite visitors and family.
  • Think about the amount of maintenance the sod requires. If you mow, aerate, and fertilize your grass as needed, then you might choose a higher maintenance cultivar, you have a busy life with little time for yard work, then you should select a sod variety that requires little to no maintenance.
  • Think about the environmental factors that may affect the growing conditions where you live. If youre close to the coast, is salt spray a problem? If you are close enough to the water that salt spray is a regular problem, then look for a sod cultivar that tolerates salinity. If you dont, the grass wont do well there.
  • Do you have a large backyard where your active kids run around, play games, and subject it to abuse? If so, be sure you choose a cultivar that will withstand the abuse.
  • Do you live in an area where drought is often a problem? Does your community issue frequent watering bans? If so, choose a sod cultivar that is drought tolerant, that can survive with little water and dry conditions. 
  • Do you have full sun, full shade or partial sun or shade? The amount of sun your property has is a critical consideration in selecting sod cultivars. Make sure that this is one of the factors to think about when comparing sod varieties. 

Our Superior-Quality Sod

We are proud to be an exclusive retailer for Southland Sod. Our inventory of sod products come from Southland Sod Farms in Oxnard, California. They grow sod that is ideally suited for growth throughout our Southern California service areaMost sod cultivars are cut in 5-square foot rolls. Sod cannot be delivered on Sundays or Mondays.

 The Marathon™ Sod Family

The Marathon™ line of sod products is the most popular sod among Southern California homeowners. 

Marathon I (Original Marathon) 

Marathon I (the original cultivar), is designed for family and recreational use. It is the most durable variety in the Marathon line. It can withstand the most abuse and stand up to unlimited foot traffic. Original Marathon recovers from injury faster than other cultivars. It has a coarse texture. It is the most shade-tolerant Marathon variety that can tolerate up to 40% shade. Cut this cultivar to a height of between 2 ½-and-3 ½-inches tall. It will stay a medium shade of green all year. Think of Original Marathon as the best all-purpose grass with the highest durability – except when subjected to dog abuse. 

Marathon II®

Marathon II® offers a good balance between ease of care and a beautiful appearance. That is why it’s the most popular sod choice among Southern California homeowners. It tolerates a moderate amount of foot traffic that it would endure from weekend activities. Unlike the original variety, Marathon II is far less shade-tolerant, with an ability to tolerate between zero shade up to 25% shade. Marathon II has medium-coarse texture and maintains a medium-dark-green color all year. Cut this sod variety to a height of between 2-and-3-inches tall. Marathon II appeals to homeowners in our service area because it represents a combination of an elegant and refined look and high durability. But it also requires more maintenance than Marathon™ I. 

Marathon III Lite®

Marathon III® is the slowest growing of the three Marathon™ cultivars, so it needs mowing with less frequency. It offers an outstanding balance of good looks and low maintenance. It has a medium-to-fine texture, and it maintains its dark green color all year. It is considered the state-of-the-art dwarf fescue sod variety that offers a combination of slow growth, and an elegant dark green, almost carpet-like look when it is maintained at mowing heights of between 1 ½-and-3-inches. Marathon III Lite is only suitable for low levels of activity, and it takes longer than any Marathon™ cultivar to recover from injury. 

Marathon III Lite isn’t grown in the soil like the other cultivars in this sod family. It grows in a hydroponic soilless substrate, the result of which makes the sod rolls lighter and easier to install. But because Southland grows this cultivar hydroponically, it requires constant attention to maintain water and nutrient levels, and other environmental factors. Consequently, it is the most expensive product in the Marathon™ sod product line. 

 Pureblue™ Lite

Pureblue™ Lite is an improved variety of the elite bluegrass blend. It grows best in moderate coastal areas. By that, we mean areas that aren’t subject to salt spray because this grass cultivar doesn’t tolerate salinity. It is also unsuitable for inland valley areas or warm and arid regions. Grow in soil with excellent drainage. Its appeal is its dense medium-fine texture and elegant appearance. And because it requires so much care, the maintenance is best left to knowledgeable individuals or professionals. That’s the key to maintaining a highly desirable elegant, and refined look. Pureblue™ Lite stays green all year. 

 Tifgreen™ Sod

Tifgreen™ is a low-growing, very dense, fine-textured hybrid Bermuda grass cultivar. Its main uses are as a recreational turf, on athletic fields, and frequently for golf course putting greens. 

 It is prone to developing thatch. Tifgreen™ sod requires consistent care, which can involve time-consuming trimming to create and maintain the desired, visually appealing, manicured look. It must have concrete borders to contain it. Tifgreen™ goes into dormancy over the winter. 

 St. Augustine™ Sod

St. Augustine™ is a coarse-textured sod cultivar. It spreads through the thick-stemmed runners it produces. It is native to the southern part of the country where consistent warm temperatures and high humidity levels prevent cool-season grass cultivars from thriving. 

St. Augustine™ has more shade tolerance than any sod we carry. It is prone to developing lots of thatching, and it needs to be contained in concrete b.orders. St. Augustine™ goes into dormancy during the winter. 

 Greenwave™ Sod

The common name for Greenwave™ is Creeping Red Fescue, a name that aptly describes this sod cultivar. Its botanical (or species) name is Festuca Rubra. It is commonly seen on slopes or terraced areas where mowing isn’t necessary. It is also useful as a mounding and spreading groundcover in ornamental areas. 

Although it is possible to use Greenwave™ as traditional turf grass when it’s cut to a height of 2-inches., It is ill-advised except in areas where Marathon™ and other sod varieties are unsuitable because of full shade. Greenwave ™ is not suitable for any level of activity, or anything but minimal foot traffic. 

We hope our guide has given you a lot of helpful information about our sod varieties. Although you may place sod orders online, you can always call one of our stores to order and talk to our landscaping experts who can guide you in choosing sod that fits your recreational, activity, or entertaining needs.

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