Why spring is an excellent time to sod your lawn
Posted February 26, 2016
Updated March 3, 2016
Maybe your lawn isn’t living up to expectations, or maybe you even have a new property and mud isn’t exactly your favorite landscape style. Well, the spring and warm-weather season is an excellent time to sod your lawn.
Not only will sod turf provide that instant great-looking lawn you’re looking for, but dust, mud, weeds and erosion are instantly reduced too. There are plenty of reasons why it’s a great time of year to get a sodded lawn, so let’s take a look at the how and why of spring-season sod:
The warm season works best
Warm season grasses such as Bermuda grass, centipede grass, zoysia grass and St. Augustine grass are best planted in late spring and summer, since they perform best when temperatures are above 80 degrees. Now is the best time of the year for successful rooting of warm season grasses. Using healthy, dense sod helps prevent the encroachment of annual grassy weeds such as crabgrass and others, and many of the warm season grasses have the specific ability to ward off weed encroachment.
What about cool season grasses?
Spring seeding of cool season grasses such as tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass can be risky and should be avoided. In fact, this has been documented in university trials right here in North Carolina. Cool season grasses perform best at temperatures of 70-85 degrees, which can make germination difficult in the hotter season around the South. Even if the seeding process is successful, it takes lots of water and much longer to establish compared to seeding these cool season grasses in the fall. Plus, summer weeds such as crabgrass can be a problem and often out-compete cool season grasses.
However, in some instances, sodding cool season grasses such as tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass is the only option available to successfully establish these grasses in the spring. Planting healthy, dense turf will prevent summer annual grassy weeds from encroaching on your new lawn and help cool the surface to encourage deeper rooting.
Some sodding vs. seeding reminders
The single biggest difference between seeding and sodding is the time needed for developing a matured, strong and high-quality turf. Sodding is simply transplanting a grown turf that has already been cared for extensively by a professional. The number of variables associated with seeding can make it tough and often unsuccessful for homeowners, making sod the better choice.
Remember to purchase sod from a member of the North Carolina Sod Producers Association. This will help ensure that you are getting high-quality, fresh sod that’s ready to take root. In addition, you will be helping your local economy too. To find your local grower and help determine proper grass selection, go to www.ncsod.org. Here, you will also find information and tips regarding site preparation and maintenance.
Always remember to purchase sod as fresh as possible. Ideally, it should have been cut no more than 24-48 hours prior to delivery. The sod should be installed as soon as possible too, or within one day after delivery. If the sod needs to be stored for a time, it should be kept in a cool, shaded area to avoid drying out. This is especially true for spring & summer planting because of the high temperatures.
When laying sod, choose slightly moistened soil, while staggering the joints so they interconnect (like bricks). When needing to lay sod on a slope, place the rolls across the slope and use a stake on each piece to hold it in place. Be sure to fill in gaps with soil to prevent edges from losing moisture. Use a roller filled with water to smooth the pieces and ensure the roots of the sod are pressed into good contact with the soil.
Keep the sod moist, but not too wet, until it is firmly rooted in the lawn. (A great indication that the sod is taking root is feeling resistance when trying to lift a piece.) By gradually reducing watering as the rooting increases, within just eight to twelve weeks the sod can be treated as an established, fully-grown lawn.
Once the lawn is in place and established, it will provide the many benefits of grass such as cooling effects, erosion and runoff control, allergen reductions, and of course, a great place to spend time with family and friends.
This story was written for our sponsor, the North Carolina Sod Producers Association -- Great quality, great price, and a commitment to community.
This promotion is supported in part by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.