When to Plant Grass Sod?


Sodding is the final step in preparing a new lawn. Without proper soil preparation, your new sod can die out within days or over the course of the growing season. Gardeners should also think about what type of grass will thrive in their climate. The type of grass you grow will determine when to plant grass sod.

Warm and Cool Season Grass

  • Lawn grass sod is broken up into two main categories: warm and cool season. Warm season grass is generally planted in the southern regions of the Unites States because this grass type cannot tolerate cold winter temperatures. Cool season grass is typically grown in the northern United States because it will dry out and go dormant in hot summer temperatures. In fact, cool season grass types such as Kentucky bluegrass cannot establish roots when temperatures exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Texas A&M University.

When to Plant Warm Season

  • Warm season sod should be installed in the spring when the ground has warmed up from the winter. Make sure that the last frost has passed before laying down your warm season sod. Warm season grass types include zoysia, bahia, centipede, Bermuda and St. Augustine. Press a soil thermometer into the ground to ensure that soil temperatures are around 65 degrees Fahrenheit for planting warm season grass types such as Bermuda.

When to Plant Cool Season

  • Plant cool season grass types such as ryegrasses, fescues and bluegrasses in the early fall. Spring is cool enough to plant cool season sod, but you may lose grass to hot summer temperatures or fungal disease. Root growth in cool season grass types such as Kentucky bluegrass is best when soil temperatures are around 65 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Texas A&M University. Water your soil before planting your cool season grass to ensure that it is moist enough for proper root establishment.

Soil Preparation

  • Plant your sod in the morning as soon as it has been delivered to ensure that its roots do not dry out. Dried out sod results in unsuccessful root establishment. Apply a starter fertilizer to the soil. Use 20 pounds of starter fertilizer that has a NPK amount of 5-20-10 per 1,000 square feet, according to the University of California. Work the fertilizer into the first 2 to 4 inches of top soil. Water the lawn area before laying the sod to moisten the soil and activate the fertilizer.

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  • Photo Credit grass image by Brett Bouwer from Fotolia.com
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