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Angie's List: Give Your Lawn A Makeover

By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Do you ever experience lawn envy when you look at your neighbor's lush green grass? Maybe it's time to give your yard a makeover.

In this week's Angie's List report, Jim Donovan takes a look at sod versus seed so you can decide which one is best for your lawn.

A good, thick lawn always starts with a well prepped base.

"It's important to prepare the soil, whether you're doing sod or seed. So go ahead, rake the soil and add at least two inches of fresh top soil or compost, so that the sod or seed has good soil to take root in," said Angie's List founder, Angie Hicks.

Sod takes two or three weeks to establish a good root system. It's significantly more expensive than seed, so don't waste your investment. Water it daily.

"Keep it wet for a couple weeks. I mean, everyday, ten minutes a day, two times a day, because that helps. All their roots are in the tops of the sod, so you don't need to soak the ground to get it wet. You want all the moisture to be in the top layer," said lawn care expert, Terry Jungels.

If you're trying for a beautiful green lawn this summer than sod is your best bet. But if you aren't in a rush, you might want to go with seed instead.

"While it's fun to see the immediate finished product of sod, seed can be a better option in the long-term because it has a better root system, and it can be cheaper," said Hicks.

If you are thinking of using seed instead of sod, experts suggest waiting till late summer or early fall. And make sure you choose a high quality seed with zero weed content.

More from Angie:

Before you sod or seed:

1. Understand your climate… All grass is good for sunny climes, but shady areas require certain seeds.

2. Test your soil…No grass will thrive in poor soil. Get a soil test to determine pH, organic and mineral content so you know what grass to plant. Clay soils, for example, may need a layer of compost or high quality topsoil first.

After you sod or seed:

1. Water… Sod needs twice daily doses for two weeks straight; seed requires just one drink/day.

2. Maintain… Continually re-seed, fertilize and aerate in fall and/or spring

Pros & Cons - Sod:

Pro: Immediate gratification.

Con: Often grown in climate different than yours.

Con: Takes two weeks to establish good root system.

Con: Costs more than seed; 50 cents to $1 or more per square foot - $9,555 to seed the average American yard (9,800 sq. ft.)

Pros & Cons - Seed:

Pro: Better long-term solution because roots establish in native soil.

Pro: Costs less than sod - a penny to 3-cents or more per square foot - $1,225 to seed the average American yard.

Con: No immediate gratification; takes weeks to establish and months to "thicken."

Grassy Specifics:

Centipede grass only needs one fertilization a year plus mowing, but it can't take traffic or compaction.

Bermuda grasses tolerate heat and trampling, but need irrigation, fertilization and frequent mowing.

Bluegrasses are better in full sun.

Fescue is better in shade.

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