What to do with composted sod?

Asked April 19, 2020, 9:45 PM EDT

Hello gardeners, I have a few large pens of sod that has been composting for about 9 months or so. This was from a brick walkway project where we had to cut out the lawn to a certain depth. Since its mainly clay, I was wondering if folks have any ideas on how to use it. I'm hoping it's somewhat rich from the decomposed grass and root thatch, but I don't fancy adding clay to my raised beds. I have quite a lot of it, so I was hoping someone might have a clever idea how to utilize it. Thanks

Benton County Oregon

1 Response

Before trying to use your composted sod anywhere, it would be a good idea to dig in it to check its condition. If sod is composted properly - wet down each layer, add some extra nitrogen, and cover the whole thing with black plastic - it can break down pretty fast. In my experience, though, if the sod it simply piled up, it takes much longer for the dense root layer to break down. This can make digging in it and using it difficult, even if the grass is dead.
As to ways to use it - there is no reason not to add clay to raised beds, if you mix it with plenty of organic matter. Often people import "raised bed mix" or something similar, which is mostly organic matter with no real soil component, and these need to be replenished frequently. If you use a good component of actual soil, your beds will be longer lived. Clay is also excellent for retaining nutrients and moisture. (Not to downplay the problems with clay - but it has good points too).
You could use your sod to build a raised berm to plant on.
If you have drainage problems, you could use the sod to raise up an area you want to keep dryer, and re-direct the water elsewhere.
That's all the ideas I have. Hope they are helpful.