Late Fall Sod Laying: Tips for Healthy Growth

You can typically install sod on your landscape any time of year, but the optimum times to plant is early spring or fall. Laying sod when it is very hot or cold out can interfere with root growth, causing newly-laid sod to suffer.
However, late fall can be an ideal time to lay sod with caution. Here are tips to help you grow your sod into a beautiful, healthy lawn before winter strikes.

Test Your Soil

Have your sod specialist test your soil before planting sod so you know you have the right pH levels for your climate. Healthy soil that is pHbalanced and nutrient rich will allow for the healthiest grass growth.
Lime may need to be added to your soil to raise pH levels, or sulfur may be added to reduce them. Your soil's optimum pH levels will be determined by your sod specialist depending on the type of climate you live in.

Lay Plenty of Compost

Several inches of compost on tilled soil provide a warm bed for sod roots to firmly find their ground. The best type of compost to enhance soil conditions for healthy sod growth is dry leaves mixed with grass clippings. If you do not have compost of your own to lay on your soil, your sod specialist can provide a mixture of wet and dry compost for your sod to take root in.
Fertilizer is not necessary in late fall planting, as grasses should naturally be in their dormant state and you don't want to encourage too much growth. Furthermore, most fertilizer is wasted in the fall planting process as sod is preparing itself for winter dormancy.

Plant the Right Kind of Sod

Late-season sod is best planted during the fall season to ensure healthy growth. Grasses acclimated to cold weather thrive well in the falling temperatures as winter approaches. Your sod specialist can show you different varieties of grass that grow best in your climate. Avoid planting warm-season sod in the fall, as growth can be stunted.

Keep Planted Sod Wet

A benefit to planting sod in the late fall is that keeping new grass moist is easier than in the summer months. Spray your sod until it is deeply saturated so the roots can remain moist. Since the sun is not as likely to evaporate most of the water you place on your sod, only water when the soil appears dry on its surface so the tender sod roots don't begin to rot.
It's best to water later in the morning or late afternoon to prevent water sprayed on your lawn from freezing. If you notice frost on your sod in the early morning, gently spray the area to remove the frost from your young sod.

Protect Your Sod

Sod should not be walked on for a few weeks to avoid shocking the grass, which keeps roots from taking place. This is true for sod planted during warmer months as well as cooler seasons. Another reason sod should be carefully tended to during the cooler seasons is that once frost hits, any heavy traffic placed on sod will abruptly kill grass growth. Heavy traffic will be evidenced with light yellow marks in the sod come spring where foot or vehicle traffic has been.
While late fall may not be the most ideal time of year to plant sod, you can achieve a healthy lawn nearly up to your climate's first frost. Trust The Sod Source to provide you with quality sod and planting materials to keep your lawn looking beautiful year-round. Call us today to help transform your landscape nearly any time of year.