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Mistakes to Avoid When Installing Sod

Installing and Caring for New Sod: Top 4 Mistakes

Purchasing sod is a great investment that beautifies your home and pays off for years to come. Sod is easy to install, but there are a couple pitfalls that you need to be careful to avoid!

Waiting too long to install the sod

Sod should be installed as soon as possible after receiving it. Once sod is harvested, it begins to decompose. The rate at which this happens is determined by the air temperature. Sod ordered in winter will last for up to a week on the pallet, but if you are installing in the hot summer it will only last for 24 hours or less. Watering the sod while still on the pallet will not help. The heat of decomposition is what will make the sod turn bad, not a lack of moisture.

If you happened to wait too long and the sod is starting to yellow, it may still survive. The rule of thumb is that if there is still some green left in the blades it will come back with proper watering.

How to avoid: Make sure your area is prepped and ready for sod prior to delivery. This will make it easy to start installing when it is still fresh!

Not watering SOON enough

If you are installing sod when it is either warm or windy out, it is critical that the sod is watered within about 30 minutes of unrolling. When sod is harvested, it is separated from most of its root system and it will dry out very quickly once unrolled.

How to avoid: Once you have an area big enough for a sprinkler installed, start watering while you continue to install the remainder.

Not watering DEEPLY enough

Once you have installed and watered your sod the first time, it is important that it is watered every day for the first two weeks. As mentioned above, fresh sod has shallow roots that need to be watered while they grow deeply into your soil. It is important to use a sprinkler as opposed to hand watering. A sprinkler will distribute the water slowly over a period of 1 to 2 hours which allows it to soak in. Hand watering will dump a lot of water on each area for only a couple minutes, and most of this will run off. Shoot to water about an inch of water each day for the first two weeks.

How to avoid: Make sure you have a hose and sprinkler. Put out a rain gauge or coffee cup to ensure you are applying at least an inch of water each morning.

Watering in the evenings during summer

Summers can be very hot an humid in this area, which provides ideal conditions for fungus to develop. This is made even worse by leaving the grass wet overnight. It is important to take extra precaution when establishing sod this time of year. After the first watering, (which should be done as soon as possible even if its in the evening), you should water only in the morning which will allow the grass to dry out in the afteroon into the evening.

How to avoid: If installing sod in the hot summer, set up a timer to water your new sod each morning and allow the grass to dry out in the afternoon. Consider applying a fungicide as a preventative measure if it is especially hot or humid, or if we are getting frequent rain during hot weather.