There’s no quicker path to a thick, green lawn than with sod installation. While sod provides undeniably fast results, though, it’s nowhere close to or as DIY-friendly as regular grass seed.
Calculating how much sod you’ll need to complete your project — not to mention how you’ll transport the material to your property in the first place — requires a lot of careful planning. If this is your first time ordering sod for installation, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by industry concepts like pallets, rolls, slabs, and more.
In this article, I’ll be taking the mystery out of sod distribution and how it’s sold to homeowners. Most notably, I’ll explain how much a pallet of sod weighs, as well as how much sod actually comes in a single pallet.
How Much Does A Pallet Of Sod Weigh
The average pallet of sod weighs approximately 2,000 pounds or 1 ton. Keep in mind that this is just an average weight, however, and that in reality sod pallets can vary by several hundreds of pounds for a number of reasons.
If you have, for example, an order of sod that is both cut thick and damp from the rain, the weight per pallet can easily meet or exceed 3,000 pounds. But this extra weight does not equal greater coverage for your project.
Many sod distributors also offer half pallets. On average, these units will weigh half as much as a comparable full pallet from the same source. Half pallets are a great solution for projects that do not call for an even number of pallets. They are also easier to transport than full pallets if you wish to haul your sod order yourself.
What Affects The Weight Of A Pallet Of Sod
As I said, there are several reasons why a pallet of sod could weigh more or less than the average amount. While these factors have little impact on the quality of the sod itself, knowing a bit more will help you understand why two seemingly identical pallets of sod can be so different when it comes to weight.
It’s important to remember that a pallet is not a standardized unit of measurement. What one sod distributor sells as a single pallet could be bigger or smaller than what another distributor offers.
Sod also varies in thickness. In my experience, sod is usually cut at a thickness between 1 and 3 inches. The thicker the sod is cut, the more soil will be attached to the roots. This obviously alters the total weight of a pallet of sod.
There are even some new hydroponically grown sod varieties that are sold without any soil attached to the roots at all. These specialized roles are significantly lighter than their traditional counterparts due to the lack of heavy soil.
Finally, moisture level has a huge effect on the weight of sod. If it recently rained or the sod has been irrigated on the pallet, it can weigh hundreds of pounds more than it did when dry.
Types Of Palletized Sod
Pallets are not the only units in which sod is sold. In fact, each pallet is made up of many smaller pieces of sod that are stacked atop each other.
Depending on your location and your chosen supplier, your sod may arrive cut into slabs, rolls, or mini-rolls. In some cases, your desired type of grass may only be available as one of these options. If not, however, it’s important to know the difference between each cut so you can choose the option best suited to your project.
Sod slabs are the smallest option offered by most distributors. They are cut from established lawns using a sod cutter or tiller. Slabs vary in size but are typically cut to be 16 to 18 inches wide. The average length for a sod slab is 24 inches.
Aside from their size, slabs are distinct from rolls because the sod is laid flat after cutting. I’ve also seen sod slabs referred to as sod squares.
Slabs are very popular in the southern United States and similar regions. Warm-season grasses like zoysia and Bermuda grass are frequently sold as slabs versus larger rolls. Sod slabs tend to establish faster and are more drought-resistant than rolls.
When you think of sod installation, you’re probably picturing standard rolls. Again, rolls vary in size but usually add up to 9 square feet a piece.
In my experience, the average sod roll measures 24 inches wide and 4.5 feet long. But some will be wider, narrower, longer, or shorter.
You’ll typically find sod sold in rolls throughout the northern United States. If you’re looking for smaller pieces of sod for your project, mini rolls may also be an option.
Mini rolls are yet another non-standardized unit offered by many sod distributors. Mini rolls are usually advertised as less labor-intensive for installation due to their smaller size and lighter weight.
Generally, but not always, mini rolls are the same length as full-size rolls but are cut narrower. However, I’ve also come across mini rolls of sod that are shorter and narrower than standard rolls (yet not as small as a standard slab).
Pallet Sizes Used For Sod
A typical pallet base measures 40 by 40 inches. However, some sod distributors use smaller (36 by 36 inches) or larger (48 by 48 inches) pallet bases which can in turn affect the coverage and weight of the sod stacked on top.
Pallet sizes can vary greatly between suppliers and even types of sod. While the pallet base is usually a standard size, the height at which the sod is stacked will have a big impact on its total coverage. For example, half pallets tend to be stacked half as high as comparable full pallets.
Different sod cuts may also result in more or less coverage from a pallet of seemingly the same size.
How Many Square Feet In A Pallet Of Sod
According to Mississippi State University, the average pallet contains 450 to 500 square feet of sod. Just as weight can vary from one pallet to the next, however, so can the total coverage. Some pallets cover as much as 700 square feet. Others only cover approximately 300 square feet.
The type of sod pieces often plays a role in how much ground a given pallet will cover in square feet. For example, a pallet of slabs usually ranges from 300 to 500 square feet. Meanwhile, a pallet of large rolls typically covers between 500 and 700 square feet.
How Much Does A Pallet Of Sod Cost
Sadly, I can’t tell you how much a pallet of sod is likely to cost you. Prices vary between $150-$450 based on a number of factors, including:
- Sod type
- Total coverage (in square feet)
- Delivery option
It’s no secret that landscaping services of all kinds vary in price depending on location. If you live in an area with a particularly high or low cost of living, the cost of a pallet of sod is likely to follow.
Each grass variety fetches a different price when sold as sod. This is usually directly related to how much work is required to grow a given grass type and get it ready to be sold. In my experience, specialty sod —hydroponically grown sod is a great example — is also sold at a premium.
It’s only natural for pallets containing more square feet of sod to cost more. While this isn’t the case 100% of the time, it’s a good rule of thumb to use when pricing out your next lawn installation.
Just as your general location can affect sod pricing, different sod suppliers will charge varying prices. I recommend reaching out to several local sod suppliers to get a better idea of your project’s total cost. This will also point you in the direction of which distributor is most likely to fit within your budget.
The price per pallet is not the only factor to consider when estimating the cost of your sod project. Delivery fees are commonly charged per pallet and can make a big difference in the final total due at the time of installation.
How Much Does A Roll Of Sod Weigh
Your standard roll of sod — i.e., one with 9 square feet of total coverage — weighs between 35 and 50 pounds. Slabs and mini rolls usually weigh between 15 and 30 pounds.
Again, weight largely comes down to the sod’s thickness, grass type, soil composition, and total size. Also, wet sod weighs much more than a roll of dry sod.
The weight of each individual piece of sod is something to consider in particular if you’re planning to lay down the material yourself to save on labor costs. Installing sod is hard work but using lighter — this often means smaller, as well — pieces of sod will take far less of a toll on your body. In fact, it may be worth opting for smaller pieces of sod solely for this reason.
How Many Feet In A Roll Of Sod
A standard roll of sod measuring 2 feet by 4.5 feet contains 9 square feet in total. While not all rolls adhere to these exact measurements, most still equal close to 9 or 10 square feet of coverage.
With that said, you shouldn’t just assume that your supplier’s sod comes in 9-square-foot rolls. This could end disastrously if you bank on receiving a certain amount of sod with your order only to learn that their rolls are larger or smaller than average.
When planning out your sodding project, you should always base measurements and your final order on total square feet rather than pallets. Square feet are standardized. Pallets are not.
If you know the length and width of your local distributor’s sod rolls, you can easily calculate how many square feet are covered by each piece. Just multiply the length by the width to determine the total area per roll.
Could I Fit A Pallet Of Sod In My Car Or SUV
Even the smallest pallet of sod is extremely large when compared to the average capacity of a car or SUV. I don’t recommend hauling an entire pallet of sod using any standard passenger vehicle.
It’s not just a matter of whether your vehicle can accommodate a pallet of sod. The sheer weight of a pallet of sod will put an incredible amount of stress on your vehicle during transport. For this reason, you also shouldn’t attempt to tow a trailer containing a pallet of sod with such a vehicle.
If you own a large-capacity pickup truck, you may be tempted to pick up your pallet of sod instead of having it delivered. However, few consumer trucks can safely haul a pallet of sod. Remember that the average pallet weighs approximately 2,000 pounds — nearly as much as a modern pickup truck.
You can, however, haul a half-pallet of sod with most pickup trucks. I still recommend checking your truck’s individual carrying capacity and inquiring about the total weight of the half-pallet of sod to ensure you don’t exceed your vehicle’s limits.