Do-it-yourself home improvement is incredibly popular today. Along with the wonderful invention of the internet has come a TON of useful information on how to do all sorts of home improvement projects. More and more homeowners are taking on home improvement projects that require laying sod, and we want to make sure that those homeowners have the best chances at establishing their new turf.
**This article is not meant to be an instructional on how to lay sod; you can get that here. Use this article to learn the proper care for your new sod.**
Establishing New Sod: Storing Before Install
Sod is a LIVING thing. Most materials used during DIY projects are not which means that sod requires special attention to keep it alive. The process of harvesting sod causes a lot of stress on the plant. The faster you can return the underside of the sod to soil and the grass blades to air, the better. Heat can cause more stress on sod rolls, eventually killing them. Grass and soil are very good insulators. (Fun fact: in the 1800’s, North American settlers built houses out of sod.) Because of this, the sod rolls in the middle of a skid are usually the first ones to overheat. If a skid of sod cannot be laid straight away, consider breaking down the skid, separating the rolls and allowing a lot of air to flow through them. Sod is best kept in a cool, dry place, uncovered with lots of air flow.
DO NOT water rolled up sod.
Lay Your Sod Quickly
Another thing to consider is the biological processes that grass goes through in order to grow. These processes release gases that can accelerate the heating and rotting process; even more reason to get your sod laid promptly.
Grass and Moisture
Like any other plant, sod needs water. Contrary to popular belief, grass only loses its moisture through the blades. Many homeowners will notice that the underside of a sod roll is sometimes rather dry, but what they don’t realize is that the grass itself is well hydrated. It will hold enough moisture to sustain itself for 6-12 hours depending on the conditions it is stored in. (REMEMBER: a cool, dry place with lots of airflow.)
Water Sod Quickly
Due to the stress from harvest and delivery, the sod will be craving water. Remember that sod loses moisture through its leaves. Turf will immediately begin to dry out once you’ve exposed the leaves to the air. Here at Greenhorizons Sod Farms, we recommend that you start to water your farm fresh sod within 15 minutes of laying the first roll. If you have a large area to be sodded, once you have a sprinkler-sized area laid, start watering it. Sod needs a healthy amount of water put on it while it is becoming established and the roots start to take.
Ensure Water Soaks Through
Cut sod is actually hydrophobic (repels water) due to certain properties of its rooting system and soil. This means ensuring that the water penetrates deep into the sod is essential. Lift up the edges of the sod and make sure that water is getting down to the underlying soil. Sod that has not received enough water is easily recognizable. Our GHG Premium Bluegrass blend will first turn greener, then blue, then silver, then blonde to brown. The blue stage is a good reminder to water your new sod. Remember to keep up with our proper watering schedule before the grass begins to turn.
Slowly Reduce Water Amounts When Establishing New Sod
It may seem counter-intuitive, but slowly reducing the amount of water is necessary for sod to take root. A good analogy for this is to think of the grass as being “lazy”. If the sod is constantly getting more than enough water, then the roots wont spread out and down looking for water. If you follow the watering schedule and you slowly acclimate the grass to getting less and less water, then it should take root very well. There are some occasions where you may have to stray from our watering schedule. In very well shaded areas, the sod takes less time to dry out due to the lack of sun exposure, and you may have to water it less. When establishing new sod, the most important thing to remember is to check your sod frequently to see if the moisture is penetrating down under the sod.
Here at Greenhorizons we have a vision of making the world a little greener, one property at a time. Hopefully, this article will help many people looking for sod laying advice, tips, and tricks!