Reasons Your Sod Is Not Taking Root

Date: July 14, 2022

Sod is a great way to create a beautiful lawn quickly. However, if you are like most homeowners, you will panic if it isn’t doing exactly what you think it should be doing. Having new sod installed can be stressful when you don’t know how to properly care for it.

You may wonder if your new sod is okay, if it is getting enough water, too much water, and a host of other questions. Luckily, we have all the answers you need to know if your sod is taking root and the reasons why sod does not take root. Learn about the various problems with sod here.

How Long Does It Take Sod to Take Root?

There is no simple answer to this question as it will depend on the season, the type of sod used, and the daily and nightly temperatures. Typically, warmer temperatures will aid in rooting. On average, you can expect new sod to take root in five to fifteen days during the summer and twenty to thirty days during the winter.

How to Determine If Your Sod Has Taken Root

Did you know it is easy to tell if sod has taken root? All you need to do is gently try to lift a corner of the sod. If there is little to no resistance, the sod’s roots have not developed fully. If, on the other hand, there is resistance and you cannot easily lift the corner of the sod, the root system of the sod has properly developed.

Your Sod Is Not Taking Root – What Should You Do?

If your sod has not taken root after the average time span, you will need to do some investigative work to determine what the problem is. Once you have ascertained the issue, you can take the proper steps to correct the issue and take the steps necessary to help your new sod develop healthy roots.

Here are the top reasons why your sod is not taking root and growing as it should.

Cut Short – You Mowed Your Sod Too Soon

The root system of newly installed sod is quite fragile. You can easily damage the delicate root system before it has time to become established. Therefore, you want to wait to mow your sod for a while. To determine when you can mow your lawn, pull on your sod, if it resists and feels like it has rooted, you can mow it. If, on the other hand, it lifts when you tug on it, you need to wait to mow it.

Many homeowners think that mowing their lawn at a short setting will reduce how often they need to mow; however, cutting your grass too short can damage it. You can damage the crown of your grass and eventually kill your lawn.

Drowning Sod - Your New Sod Is Getting Too Much Water

One of the most common reasons why new sod does not take root is overwatering. We understand, as a homeowner, that you are excited to have new sod installed. Many homeowners end up over zealously watering their newly installed sod. This can prevent your sod from taking root.

When sod roots are getting an overabundance of water, the roots will not grow down into the soil searching for water. Instead, the roots will remain on the surface where it always has water.

Hungry Sod - Not Fertilizing Your New Sod

Fertilizer is designed to provide sod and other plants with the nutrients they need to help establish deep, healthy roots. When your sod has healthy roots, it is less susceptible to damage caused by disease or insects. Fertilizer should be applied about three to four weeks after your sod has been installed.

You can help your sod develop a healthy root system by applying fertilizer. However, not all fertilizers are created equally. You want one that contains nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. For best results, choose a 16-4-8 fertilizer. The nitrogen helps with blade growth, the potassium increases disease resistance, and the phosphorus speeds up root development. Check out our lawn treatment plans here.

Improper Installation - You Didn’t Prepare Your Soil Properly

Unfortunately, there are many shoddy lawn services out there. If your lawn servicer installed your sod atop your existing grass, your sod will not take root. In order to become established, your sod’s roots must get established in the soil. Any existing grass will prevent your newly installed sod from properly developing, which means it will not receive the nutrients and moisture it needs to thrive.

In order to properly prepare your soil for new sod, all existing grass must be removed. Additionally, weeds, debris, and rocks need to be removed. If necessary, the soil should be graded. Finally, to help your roots develop quickly, the soil should be tilled and aerated.

Poor Quality - Your Sod Was Not Harvested Properly

Did you know that not all sod is created equal? If your sod is not rooting, it could have been improperly harvested. When sod is ready for harvest, the supplier uses a machine that cuts and lifts strips of sod. Then, the sod is rolled into the rolls you purchase.

When sod is harvested, the machine harvests the sod as well as a couple of inches of soil to ensure they get an ample amount of soil and roots. This technique helps ensure an easy transition and helps your sod quickly establish itself on your lawn.

Thirsty Sod - Your New Sod Is Not Getting Enough Water

If you are not watering your sod enough, the roots of your sod will quickly die out and eventually die You want to ensure that water reaches every area of your lawn. Oftentimes, the corners and edges of your lawn do not get properly watered if you are using a sprinkler system. If you notice the corners of your lawn drying out quickly, you may need to alter your watering technique.

Sod near asphalt, concrete, or buildings tends to dry out faster than other areas of the lawn. This is because building materials like those described above reflect heat toward the lawn. For this reason, these areas require additional watering.

How Long Do Sod Lines Last?

On average, your sod lines will remain for four to six weeks. Once the roots develop on your sod, the lines will begin to vanish, resulting in a beautiful lawn. One way to reduce the noticeability of sod lines is to stagger the pieces of sod the way bricks are laid.

Final Thoughts

There are many reasons why your sod is not rooting properly. To help ensure your sod takes root, properly prepare your soil, choose a high quality sod, water as recommended, wait a few weeks to mow, and fertilize as recommended. When the proper steps are taken, you will be rewarded with a lush, green lawn in no time.

When you have new sod installed give us a call to help you keep it happy and healthy.

(615) 631-6596
Call us for a no obligation free estimate
Reasons Your Sod Is Not Taking Root
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