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  • Writer's pictureMatt Weber

Best Time to Lay Sod

(guest post by Valerie Smith for Sod Solutions)

Sod Solutions employees are often asked the question, “When is the best time to lay new sod?” Knowing when to lay sod ensures a beautiful, successful yard. Believe it or not, the most ideal time is either early or mid-fall. Spring is also a great time of year to complete this landscaping project, but due to the fact that grass continues to grow despite the cooler weather in early and mid-fall, fall months win this close battle between spring and fall seasons. Different times of the year may be better depending on where you live, however from a broad perspective, early and mid-fall are usually the best times of the year. You can successfully lay sod in any season, and we’ll explain how here.

How to Lay Sod in the Fall

Laying sod in the early fall or mid-fall tends to be the best time to lay sod. This is because the temperatures have cooled down from the summer highs and you tend to get more precipitation during these months. There is plenty of time between fall and winter for the sod to root and establish prior to dormancy which means in the winter, your lawn will be healthy, full and easy to green up in the spring. This installation guide is comprehensive and will help you install your lawn appropriately.

Here are some key things to aware of when laying sod in the fall:

  • Similar to other times of the year, you’ll want to maintain a healthy watering schedule that keeps the sod moist, but not too wet during the first 14 days of fall. As a general rule, keep the soil moist three inches below the surface when establishing.

  • Be sure to fertilize your lawn to promote healthy rooting and establishment. Sod Solutions recommends the Lawnifi® New Lawn Starter Box for proper lawn nutrition as your sod begins to take root and establish itself before dormancy.

How to Lay Sod in the Winter

A good number of people, particularly in the south where warm season grasses are grown, believe that laying sod in the winter isn’t possible. People think that either the sod is brown and therefore dead, or that they don’t need to water it—both of those statements are wrong. When laying sod in the winter in the south, the sod can look dormant, but dormancy is just like hibernation—it will be off-color and appear dead, but will regain its color in the spring when temperatures warm up. Similar to all other seasons, water is very important and you will need to dampen the soil prior to laying the sod and continuously water the sod to ensure it stays moist. Learn more about The Benefits of Laying Sod in the Winter or check out our installation guide.

Here are some key things to be aware of when laying sod in the winter:

  • Your sod will not green up until the spring. Do not be concerned about this.

  • You will need to continuously water the grass throughout the winter and its dormancy. Cold, dry winds can dry out the roots quickly and cause major issues.

  • It is still beneficial to spray Lawnifi’s New Lawn Starter Box on your lawn while it’s in dormancy. It provides nutrients to help keep your new lawn healthy.

How to Lay Sod in the Spring

Spring is the second best time to lay sod, and in certain cases (depending on where you live), it can be an even better time to lay sod. You should be sure to follow our installation guide which can be found here.

Here are some key things to be aware of when laying sod in the spring:

  • Make sure there are no more opportunities for a freeze before laying new sod.

  • Be sure to keep an eye on weather. You will want to make sure that you keep your sod extra moist to maintain root health—especially if you get an early hot day.

  • Water shadier spots less than the sunnier spots to help reduce disease.

  • Be sure to fertilize your lawn to promote healthy rooting and establishment. Sod Solutions recommends the Lawnifi New Lawn Starter Box for proper lawn nutrition.

How to Lay Sod in the Summer

Summer is a tough time to lay sod. It is very hot and sometimes drought prone depending on your location. If you need to lay sod in the summer, be ready to water your new lawn very often as a means of maintaining its health. You will want the soil to be damp 3–4 inches below the surface. Water often to make sure of this. Once again, follow the installation guide here and be sure to water your lawn as often as possible.

Here are some key things to be aware of when laying sod in the summer:

  • Keep your lawn moist, but do not overwater it—if you do this, it will be susceptible to disease.

  • Water your lawn early in the morning, midday and early afternoon to help make sure it does not dry out.

  • Taper back watering in the shadier spots since these areas are more prone to fungus and disease pressure.

  • Be sure to fertilize your lawn to promote healthy rooting and establishment. Sod Solutions recommends the Lawnifi New Lawn Starter Box for proper lawn nutrition.

Lawnifi New Lawn Starter Box

The New Lawn Starter Box is designed for newly sodded, seeded or plugged lawns. The box contains three bottles of liquid fertilizer powered by Catalyst Technology to nano-size the nutrients for efficiency and effectiveness. The two bottles of Grow are for improved soil health and the single bottle of Maintain is designed to feed the lawn. The three bottles work together to establish thick, healthy grass. To learn more about the nutrients new grass needs, read When to Fertilize Newly Installed Sod. After the first 30 days of establishment, continue with regular monthly Lawnifi feedings for optimal results during the active growing seasons with the Lawnifi Complete Program 9 Bottle Annual Fertilizer Subscription. The annual subscription includes three seasonal boxes for spring, summer and fall.

Overall, you can successfully start a new lawn at any time of the year and hopefully this blog helps you make a decision on when to sod your new lawn for optimal results. Sod can be installed at almost any time of the year. The best time to lay sod, however, is in early and mid-fall when temperatures are cooler but grass continues to grow. Spring is the second best time to lay sod and is the preferable time for warm season grasses such as centipede, zoysia, bermuda and St. Augustine that become dormant in the winter. Avoid installing sod in summer as the extra water required for establishment could result in added disease pressure and increased water bills.

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Want to learn more about achieving a great lawn? Check out more Sod University tips here.

Editor's Note: Sod Solutions has helped successfully develop and release to the market over 20 different turfgrass varieties over the past 27 years including PalmettoⓇ and CitraBlueⓇ St. Augustine, EMPIREⓇ and InnovationTM Zoysia and CelebrationⓇ, Latitude 36Ⓡ and NorthBridgeⓇ Bermudagrass. The company is based in the Charleston, SC area.

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