Contrary to popular belief, Summertime is not a great time to lay sod. There are several reasons for this.

First of all, the shelf life of sod is short to begin with- in the heat of the summer, the shelf life is even shorter. Even a pallet of sod with green, healthy looking sod on the top, may be rotting on the inside like a pile of compost. Purchasing sod in the summer is too much of a gamble for my taste.

The summer heat also stresses the grass, it is important new sod is sufficiently watered. Any areas that may be getting less than optimum sprinkler coverage may show signs of drought stress.

Another conundrum is our weather pattern in North Florida in the summer time. A typical event is the afternoon thunder storms. At first, rain might sound like the best thing for new sod- and it is… sometimes. It is important new sod gets plenty of water, but it needs to dry out between waterings. The best time to water new sod , or any grass, for that matter, is in the early morning so that it has plenty of moisture to stand up to the daytime heat. If it rains in the afternoon, however, the grass stays wet overnight and that promotes fungal growth and root rot. Afternoon storms create a situation where the grass is perpetually wet or moist and as humans we have no control over this. If there is no rain, at least we can increase watering as necessary- however, if there is rain everyday, there is almost nothing we can do to dry out the grass- we are at the mercy of mother nature.

On a side note, one thing I have noticed is it is fairly easy to nurture an unwatered, burned up piece of sod simply by watering it.. Rotted sod, that has experienced too much moisture, on the other hand, can not be saved.

Another issue adding to the moisture control problem of the summer time, is growth. The grass blades will grow vigorously in the summer. In just a few days the blades of grass will grow and create shade and retard air flow- increasing moisture retention.

It is not impossible to have a successful resod job in the summer, though. An area with full sun, good drainage and plenty of air flow can be resodded at pretty much anytime of year. It is the areas with restricted airflow, less than ideal drainage, and/or shade that will be the most difficult.

I feel the ideal time to resod is in early March. The weather is cool still and it gives the new sod time to become established before the heat of the summer fires up. Once the grass is established, the risk of root rot due to excess moisture is greatly reduced.


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