I was considering installing a new lawn using rolls of grass, and got to thinking about all the terms used for the ground cover. You can almost use the terms, turf, sod, and lawn interchangeably, and most people would know what you mean. But since I like to be somewhat correct in my choice of words, I researched the difference between these terms. To accomplish this I decided to use a dictionary and in each case went with the first dictionary option. Here are the results. Turf: A surface layer of earth containing dense growth of grass and it's matted roots. Sod: A section of grass-covered surface soil held together by matted roots. Lawn: A plot of grass, usually tended or mowed, as one around a residence or in a park or estate.
Of the three definitions lawn stands out as the most different from the other two. Lawn is more the finished product, as what would go around a house or park. To illustrate, lawn would be like a fully tiled floor in a house, not the individual tiles before being Installed.
Sod and Turf are a little closer in definition but not exactly the same. They both have a surface layer of soil or earth, both have grass and matted roots. The difference in the definitions I found is that, Sod is a "section that is held together" by matted roots. Rolls of grass come in sections and need to be held together by matted roots. Even if they use meshing to help hold the rolls together they still need the matted roots.
Turf is not held together by matted roots, and does not necessarily come in sections. It is a surface layer. When people claim an area as 'Their Turf' it is bigger than a section of sod.
My conclusion is that the most correct term for rolls grass is Sod. Having a new lawn installed could include using rolls of sod but it could also by definition include having an area seeded with grass that will eventually grow into a lawn.
Once a turf farm cuts out sections of grass and matted root, those sections become Sod. They are then rolled up and shipped out to a requested location. once at the site the Sod is laid on the ground one matted section at a time. To go back to the illustration the sod is laid out like tiles on a floor. Once the sections are laid out and joined together it becomes a lawn or turf.
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