Autumn Sod Installations: Ideal Timing
One of the most common questions we receive from homeowners is “when is the best time to install sod?”. The fact that these customers recognize the importance of timing means that they’re already ahead of the game. Weather and climate have a massive impact on the sod’s ability to establish properly. That means the timing of any installation is a crucial factor. Ideally, you want increased amounts of precipitation and cooler weather. This, coupled with at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight per day, make for a successful sod installation. As summer fades to autumn, temperatures drop and we typically see more rain, making perfect conditions for laying sod.
Be aware that the following information is effective for cold-season grasses in most places in North America.
Sod Prefers Autumn Conditions
Remember, sod is ALIVE and it is perishable. During the dog days of summer, a skid of sod can overheat quickly sitting in the hot sun. Lower temperatures and cool breezes in autumn extend the amount of time sod stays fresh after harvest perfectly.
The fresher the turf is when you are installing it, the better your chances at successful establishment! In these cooler autumn conditions, your sod will survive for up to 12 hours after harvest. On the other hand, the scorching summer days can shrink this time down to 4 hours!
Not only will your sod survive longer on the skid, but also the cool autumn climate means that the water you apply to your new lawn will be much more effective. Hot summer days can evaporate the water from your sprinkler very quickly. However, autumn provides moderate temperatures so that your lawn has time to absorb the water you give it. We try to be environmentally conscious here at OrderSodNow, and from a water conservation standpoint, fall is definitely the best time to install sod.
Natural Turf Life Cycle: Autumn is THE BEST
Kentucky Bluegrass has an annual life cycle. It will go into a dormant state during winter. When spring comes around, your lawn will aggressively grow leaves in anticipation of the increased sunlight that is on the way. Grass, like all other plants, gets energy through photosynthesis. Bigger leaves means more energy from the sun! Moving into summer the grass will slow its growth and can even go into another state of dormancy in extreme drought. As summer transitions to autumn, the grass will be growing roots aggressively. Similar to the grass anticipating more sun in spring, it will anticipate the harsh winter conditions and try to reach its roots down to be more resilient. This natural boost in root growth, along with the other factors we discussed, helps sod establish much quicker.
Plan Ahead to Guarantee Autumn Establishment
I hope you now have an appreciation for the importance of timing when it comes to sod installations. Installing sod in the spring and summer months can still produce beautiful finished projects, but it will take a little more time, effort and resources to achieve the same result. Your sod will establish a shallow root system in about two weeks and should be fully established within 4-6 weeks. With that being said, if you are planning on installing sod in late autumn, be sure to allow 4-6 weeks before the first frost for your lawn to establish. Happy sodding!
For a comprehensive article about how to install sod at any time of the growing season, check out this link!