Friday, August 2, 2013

Let's Talk SOD


If you want the instant gratification of a green and lush lawn, knowing when to plant sod is critical to your success. The good news is that unlike grass seed, you have more options when to plant sod

In most regions of the country, sod can be planted at various times during the year. The exception is the most extreme conditions.

For example, in the upper midwest, you can't plant sod in the winter for obvious reasons (frozen ground and snow). 
You should also avoid the middle of summer as the heat of July and early August can burn the sod out.

In the deep south, the heat of the summer is the worst time to plant sod. But in some areas of the south, the winter months may be an ideal time to plant sod. You'll also want to avoid times when you know the weather will be too rainy. 

The rain will be great for the sod, but it might not allow you to prepare the soil properly. You'll have to till the soil thoroughly and get rid of any weeds or debris. This can be difficult in the mud. Ask when is the best time to plant because it can vary on the kind of sod you're installing.

Here in New York, it is ideal to plant sod in early fall and early spring. However, please be aware of the weather. It is not a good idea to plant in very hot heat. You generally don't need to worry too much about the first and last frosts, just remember that establishing a root structure in new soil is the most important factor in green, lush sod.


1. Make sure the weather is ideal for the sod. Have your area prepared prior to ordering your sod. Pull any weeds and old grass that you do not want to mix with the new sod that will be installed. Sod should be installed and watered immediately after being delivered.

SOIL depth should be between 4"-6" with good drainage under the soil. Add some lime and starter fertilizer to the soil and rake in. Make sure to rake in the starter fertilizer and do not let sod just sit on top of starter fertilizer as it can damage the tender young roots. Remember, sod is cut grass so the root system needs to be re-established.
3. RAKE out the soil surface as smoothly as possible. Level the area where the sod will be installed. Light rolling of the soil surface will insure total root contact with the soil. Any root area not touching the soil will dry out and die.

DAMPEN the ground where the sod will be installed. Sod will root quicker to a cool, moist soil condition that to a hot, dry soil condition.

STAGGER the sod strips in lines. Be sure each strip touches the next, but does not overlap the next strip. Try not to leave gaps in between the strips. Gaps will allow air to get in between the strips and dry the edges out. Staggering layers helps the seams to fill in quicker.

WATER newly installed sod frequently! Sod should receive 1" of water daily. (You can measure this by putting a small can such as a tuna fish can where the water hits from the sprinkler. When there is an inch of water in the can, you know you have an inch on the lawn.) When the sod has rooted into the soil (usually 10-14 days) sod should receive at least 1" of water per week.
7. MOW your lawn as soon as it needs mowing. A suggested mowing height is between 2" - 2 1/2". DO NOT mow to short, it can cause the sod to brown.

FERTILIZE your lawn after sod has taken root in the soil (usually around 5 weeks after installation). Use a complete fertilizer-one containing nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. BE SURE FERTILIZER IS WATERED IN!! Follow instructions on the fertilizer bag - DO NOT RISK BURNING YOUR SOD WITH TOO MUCH FERTILIZER! A heavier application of fertilizer is suggested in late November. This will aid in root growth during the winter.

WEEDS and INSECTS can travel from nearby areas into your lawn. A preventative maintenance program will insure that your lawn will not fall prey to insects and weeds.
For more information on SOD or a FREE CONSULTATION; email us


  1. This is my first time i visit here. I found so many entertaining stuff in your blog, especially its discussion, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! Keep up the good work.
    Sod California.