A common misconception is that sod must be laid during the typical growing season in order to be successful. The logic seems sound… “If I plant all my veggies in the spring, isn’t that the best time to lay sod?”. Sod can be successfully laid throughout the spring and the summer, however fall is actually the best time to lay sod.
Summer Turf Growth
Grass is an amazing plant and it has a fairly unique growing cycle. In the spring when moisture, nutrients, and sunlight are abundant the grass leaves grow vigorously. The more leaf that the grass has exposed above ground, the more sunlight it is able to absorb. This abundance of sunlight helps to fuel the grass that is recovering from winter dormancy. Once the heat of summer hits and water and nutrients become harder to come by, the grass slows its’ growth down and can actually go dormant in the most dry and hot conditions. This slowing of the growth makes sure that the plant can conserve resources to survive the summer.
Fall Turf Growth
Now, onto the ideal sod laying season: fall. When the weather cools down and the summer drought is pushed out by September rains, the grass will start to grow vigorously again. Fall growth is much different than spring growth however. The leaves tend to not grow as much, but fall is when roots grow the most. In preparation for winter when grass will usually go dormant, the roots reach deep down into the ground. This boost in root growth is ideal for establishing sod. The faster the roots can start to grow, the faster you will have a lush, beautiful lawn. Increased rains in the fall also alleviate the constant need to irrigate; another upside to laying sod in autumn.
The cooler weather is also good for sod because it is a living product. In the middle of summer when it is hot and humid, not only do we get tired and sweaty working outside, but sod tends to have a much shorter shelf life too. Cool temperatures keep the grass at a much better temperature, lowering the risk of ruining the grass in transit or when it is being stored. It’s also much more pleasant to work when the sun isn’t scorching down… However, even in fall conditions we recommend laying sod within 12 hours of harvest for the best results.