As winter comes to a close, most homeowners are aware that now is a good time to begin preparing your yard for spring. We still have the potential for one or two more hard freezes here in North Texas, so when is it safe to lay new sod?
The truth is, if you’re wondering whether sod can be laid in the winter, many experts actually suggest it’s possibly a better idea than doing so in the heat of summer. To be honest, a brief and mild freeze is less damaging to developing roots and buds that several consecutive days of 90 degrees or higher.
Let’s take a look at what is required for the task of laying sod in the winter:
Don’t Fear the Freeze
The thing is, brief and intermittent freezes in the late winter really don’t pose any threat to the longevity and well-being of your sodgrass. Why? Because it has already sprouted and established itself in a sturdy, healthy layer of topsoil before it ever made its way to your yard.
Some fear that the established root system in a bed of sod will freeze if it’s laid during the winter. The turth is, a brief cold snap is far less harmful to a budding root system than a week straight of 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The main point is to be sure you aren’t laying sod in the middle of a freeze.
Here in North Texas, we have 3 different grass types that are known to be the hardiest and most popular. They include Bermuda grass, Zoysia grass, and St. Augustine Grass. Thankfully, all three of these are known to show resilience in the face of a winter frost.
Here at JC’s Landscaping, these are the three grass types we carry most frequently for laying sod.
What’s important to remember is that warm weather grasses, such as the three mentioned above, don’t necessarily “die” in the winter. More accurately, they simply go dormant. Cool weather grasses are those which are so thoroughly cold-hardy that they are able to continue sprouting even in very cold temperatures. For milder agricultural zones such as zones 8-11, both grass types are safe for laying sod in the winter.
Learn how JC’s Landscaping can help: visit our Sod Installation service page.
Caring for Sod Laid in Winter
One thing to keep in mind is that freshly laid sod needs more frequent watering at first, in order to encourage the roots to grow. Be sure you’re providing adequate moisture, and again- aim for the days when both the air temperature and ground temperature are above freezing.
The nice thing about laying sod in the winter is that there is no immediate need for fertilizers or herbicides. Simply let the root system settle into the ground, and give it adequate water while the blades themselves remain dormant.
Another important factor to consider is that un-installed sod can become brittle and difficult to unroll if it’s frozen. This condition won’t hurt the grass itself, but you do face a risk of damaging the pallet itself.
Because sod contracts slightly when it is cold, you may need to occasionally pull the sections toward each other as they warm up. This way, the gaps will close as the topsoil becomes more moist and pliable.