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, and use this article to try and be diligent with the care of your new sod.**
Sod is a LIVING thing. Most materials used during DIY projects are not, and that means that sod requires special attention to keep it alive. The process of harvesting sod causes a lot of stress on the plant. Pulling the grass away from it’s native soil and smothering it doesn’t exactly make it happy… The faster that you can return the under side of the sod to soil and the grass blades to the air, the better.
Heat can cause even more stress on sod rolls, eventually killing them. Grass and soil are both very good insulators (Fun fact: in the 1800’s, North American settlers built houses out of sod) and because of this, the sod rolls in the middle of a skid are usually the first ones to over heat. If a skid of sod is purchased and it 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.
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.
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 air flow).
Once the sod is laid, it will be craving water due to being stressed out from harvest and delivery. Remember that sod loses moisture through its leaves and now that they are exposed to the air, the turf will start to dry up. Here at Greenhorizons Sod Farms we recommend that you start to water your farm fresh sod within 15 minutes of laying the first roll (see the watering schedule). 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.
Cut sod is actually hydrophobic (repels water) due to certain properties of its rooting system and soil, so ensuring that the water penetrates deep into the sod is essential. Lift up the edges of rolls 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. New sod must be watered once it reaches the blue stage. Remember to keep up with our proper watering schedule before the grass begins to turn.
It may seem counter intuitive, but slowly reducing the amount of water you put down on your lawn is necessary for the grass to take root. A good analogy for this is to think of the grass as being “lazy”. If the sod is laid, and it is constantly getting more than enough water, then the roots wont spread out and down looking for water. If our watering schedule is followed 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 sometimes you may have to water it less. The most important thing to remember is to check your freshly laid sod frequently to see if the moisture is penetrating down under the sod. For more information on establishing sod in the shade, check out our next blog post that will outline more on the subject.
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!
Again, if you are looking for a step-by-step guide on laying sod, you can find ours by clicking the link below!