The Lowdown on Sod
(guest post by Cecelia Brown)
Are you thinking about a new lawn? One of the most common asked are, “How many square feet are on a pallet of sod?”. The amount of square feet on a pallet of sod informs you of how many pallets you’ll need to purchase to cover the area you’re laying sod in. The answer to this question largely depends on the sod farm from whom you purchase and the variables unique to that farm such as the type of harvester, moisture content, grass type, piece or roll size and soil type.
Most of the time, grass is quoted to homeowners by the pallet, so understanding pallet sizing is important for ordering purposes.
Because not all pallet sizes are the same, you may not be getting as good of a deal as it seems! Most variations in pallet size comes down to weight for shipping and desired stacked pallet height. The majority of pallets range from 400–700 sq. ft., and the weight of a pallet can increase up to 50 percent more when wet.
A pallet weighs between 1,500–3,000 lbs., so be mindful of this if you decide to pick up your sod in place of having it professionally delivered and the type of vehicle required to accommodate this weight.
If you aren’t sure how many square feet you will need to cover, find out by using this Area Calculator.
What is sod?
Some of you may wonder “what is sod?” or “what is turf?” to start with. This is a great question! Sod is different from grass installed as seed, sprigs or grass plugs. Sod typically comes in the form of pallets that you install into your lawn piece by piece. Read What is Sod? for more details.
How much does a pallet of sod cover?
Below are a few listed details on how many square feet are in a pallet of sod.
· Slabs (Most common in southern parts of the U.S.): Comes in 399, 452 or 503 sq. ft.
· Mini Hand Rolls (Gaining popularity in northern parts of the U.S.): Comes in 400, 450 and 500 sq. ft.
· Large Rolls (Most common in northern parts U.S.): Comes in 500, 600 and 700 sq. ft.
How much does a pallet of sod weigh?
A pallet typically weighs between 1,500–3,000 lbs.
How much does a pallet of sod cost?
One of the first go-to questions when installing a new lawn is “How much is a pallet of sod?”. The cost varies depending on the variety of grass you select, where you buy it from and where you are located for delivery.
Slabs of palletized sod
Most pallet sizes are commonly sold in ranges between 400, 450 or 500 sq. ft. in size. In the southern United States, these grass types include bermuda, zoysia, St. Augustine and centipede. Most sod in the South is palletized in rectangle slabs that measure 16 x 24 inches and cover 2.66 sq. ft. each.
When purchasing sod, it’s important to know the price per square foot (not per pallet) and to understand that there is some variability in how many square feet come on a pallet.
The below table illustrates the difference that slabs, mini rolls and large rolls have in the number of square feet per pallet. Although single slabs (2.66 sq. ft.) result in finished pallets with irregular numbers (399, 452 and 503 sq. ft.) they are still sold as 400, 450 and 500 sq. ft. pallets. Most sod farms add one extra slab to 399 sq. ft. pallets, so in all cases, the end-consumer is getting a slight deal.
It’s important to know 1) the price per square foot and 2) how many square feet are included in a pallet.
Mini Hand Rolls
Mini hand rolls have also been gaining popularity in recent years. You will find them mostly in northern cool season markets. Mini hand rolls are usually 40 x 18 inches and cover five sq. ft. each. There are 80 of these on a 400 sq. ft. pallet, 90 of these on a 450 sq. ft. pallet and 100 on a 500 sq. ft. pallet. Occasionally, you will also find 60 x 24 or 80 x 18 inch rolls in bermuda grass that are 10 sq. ft. each.
In the northern cool season markets, most sod is sold in large rolls. These are usually 60 x 24 inches or 80 x 18 inches. Both of these work out to be 10 sq. ft. per roll. Standard pallet size in these markets is usually 500, 600 or 700 sq. ft, and will have 50, 60 or 70 rolls per pallet. Common grass types in these markets are tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass.
Knowing pallet sizes is helpful when planning your project. Be sure to gain an understanding of sizing before ordering from a farm or distributor. If you’re looking to purchase sod, be sure to check out the high-quality varieties available by the pallet here.
If you aren’t sure how many square feet you’ll need, you can use this integrated Area Calculator tool to find out how large your yard is. We recommend ordering 5–10 percent more sod than you measure due to waste from cuts and miscalculations.
To find out the next steps after making a purchase, check out the sod installation guide here.
Editor's Note: Cecelia Brown reports on behalf of Sod Solutions, which has helped successfully develop and release to the market over 20 different turfgrass varieties over the past 28 years including PalmettoⓇ and CitraBlueⓇ St. Augustine, EMPIREⓇ and InnovationⓇ Zoysia and CelebrationⓇ, Latitude 36Ⓡ and NorthBridgeⓇ Bermudagrass. The company is based in the Charleston, SC area.