In the middle of July, our California and Arizona desert weather can be brutal and if you are getting ready to receive your new sod, you need to make sure to avoid overheating your sod. Sod is a delicate product that is perishable and sod rolls can burn within a few hours if they aren’t installed in a timely manner. 

Here are 5 tips to avoid overheating your sod in summer.

  1. PREPARE THE SOIL- Having your sod delivered after your soil  is completely ready is imperative. The shorter the time between harvest and installation, the better. On a very hot day, a pallet of sod can overheat in as little as 4 hours.
  2. DO NOT WATER WHILE ROLLED – It may seem like a good idea, but watering your rolled sod will actually accelerate the heating process. Your grass is still growing, which releases nitrogen, which will heat up and kill the grass. So, watering may cool it down temporarily, but accelerates growth and therefore overheating.
  3. SHADE IS KEY – Store your sod while on the pallets in a shady spot. Take into consideration how long that area will remain shady while you are installing.
  4. INSTALL ASAP – Install immediately after delivery. On a super hot day, the middle of the pallet will be similar to an oven. If need be, pull the sod rolls off and spread them out to allow air to flow while still safely in your shady location.
  5. WATER AWAY – Sod can still overheat if it isn’t watered within 6 hours after harvest. As soon as you have enough sod laid out, start with a sprinkler sized area as soon as it’s laid out. Follow our Summer watering schedule for the best results.

So why does sod overheat? During harvest, sod is rolled and stacked on a pallet for easy transport. This is a convenient way to move a large amount of sod, but it has its drawbacks during the summer months or even a hot spring day! While your sod is cut from the ground, it’s still very much alive and continuing to grow. It’s delicate, yet hearty and the most important thing to remember is that it is a perishable product. When your sod is rolled up and stacked, there is no airflow to it, which is an essential factor in sod establishment, but your grass (like most other plants) needs oxygen to survive. 

Another factor in overheating is pressure. That sod stacked up is heavy! The quicker you can get it out of a pile, the better. It’s similar to walking on fresh sod, that weight can be damaging.

The third factor in overheating sod is heat, which is obvious. So, keeping your sod in shade and installed & watered as soon as possible will avoid the overheating your sod.

Need help determining what type of soil your lawn has or how much summer watering a specific turf grass variety requires? Ask Mr.WiseGrass! To stay updated on all things sod related, you can also sign up for our newsletter. Happy summer!