6 Reasons Your New Sod Might Not Be Taking Root

Posted by Joe Mouad on Dec 16, 2021 10:30:00 AM

Once your new sod is installed, it’s easy to panic if things don’t seem quite right.
It’s kind of like being a new parent.

Is the new sod OK? Is it getting enough water? Is it getting too much water?

Is it taking root? Oh no! WHY ISN’T IT TAKING ROOT??!!

Calm down. Here’s how to tell if your Central Florida sod isn’t taking root — and how to get to the root of the problem.

First, How Long Should It Take for Sod to Take Root?

This depends on the season. The warmer the temperature, the faster sod takes root. sod not yet rootedYour sod should root in five to 15 days in the summer, and 20 to 30 days in the winter.

How to Tell if Sod Has Taken Root?

It's easy to determine if the new sod has taken root. Gently lift one corner of a sod piece. If the roots haven’t fully developed, there'll be little to no resistance when you lift it. But if you can’t easily lift the sod, the root system has properly developed.fresh sod lining patio walkway

Your New Sod Isn’t Rooting — Now What?

Now you need to be a bit of a detective and figure out the problem so you can solve it.

Here are a few reasons why your new sod isn’t growing.

1. You’re Overwatering Your New Sod

This is a common one. You’re eager to make sure your new sod gets enough water, and that’s a good thing.

But you might be overwatering.

When roots are getting too much water they don’t want to reach down into the soil looking for water.

2. You’re Underwatering Your New Sod

Water too little, and those thirsty roots will die. They dry out quickly here in Central Florida.

Make sure water reaches every area of your lawn. Sprinklers sometimes miss edges and corners, making these spots dry out faster than the center of the lawn.

Keep in mind that areas of sod near buildings, concrete, and asphalt will typically dry out faster due to reflected heat and may need additional water.
grass being watered with irrigation system
If all this watering stuff sounds confusing, you’re right.

That’s why we offer very detailed watering instructions in our sod care guide.

In general, it’s a gradual process. You’ll water a couple times a day for the first week, drop back to once a day the second week, and four times a week the third week.

You’ll get detailed instructions for watering new sod in our sod care guide.

You’ll know what times to water, for how long, and even which of your irrigation heads to use for what amount of time.

The instructions for watering new sod vary, depending on what time of year your sod is installed, and if it's planted in sun or shade.

3. You Forgot to Fertilize Your Sod

A starter fertilizer encourages your new sod’s roots to get established, then strengthens them so your sod is less susceptible to disease and insects.

4. You Installed Poor Quality Sod

Your new sod isn’t rooting? New sod is only as good as the sod farm that grew and harvested it and the supplier who delivered it to you.

When the sod is ready, farms harvest it using a machine that lifts strips of sod out of the ground and rolls it up into those tidy rolls you see.

They take not just the grass, but also a few inches of the attached soil and roots so it can make a healthy transition to your yard.sod farm harvesting The sod farms we work with don’t harvest the sod until they have an order. That way, little time has passed between harvest and when it goes into your yard.

We pick up fresh-cut sod from the sod farm and bring it directly to your property.

But that’s not always the case with other suppliers. sod harvested from farm stacked on paletteSome sod installers might store the sod overnight, or over the weekend, and water it to keep the top pieces green. When temperatures heat up the grass will become hot and diseased.

If your sod isn’t taking root, it might be because those fragile roots are damaged.

Make sure you know exactly how your sod was cared for before it landed in your yard.

5. The Soil Wasn’t Properly Prepared

If you or your sod installer took a shortcut and installed the sod over existing grass, that’s likely why your sod isn’t taking root.

Your new sod needs to establish its roots in the soil, to take advantage of the water and nutrients there.sod install process Leaving a layer of grass underneath your new sod prevents it from taking root and increases the chance that the new lawn will die from lack of nutrients and moisture.

Removing your old lawn before laying new sod is crucial for a healthy root system.

6. Did You Mow Your Sod Too Soon?

Your new sod’s root system is fragile. You don’t want it to tear before it’s fully established.

Hold off on the mowing for a bit. Mow as soon as you're able to tug on the grass and it feels “tacked” to the ground.

Access The Ultimate Guide to Sod Installation & Maintenance

Trust Your New Sod to Ground Source

You want your new sod to thrive. That’s what we want, too.

That’s why we provide you with all the information you need to take great care of your fresh, healthy, beautiful sod lawn.

After all, you just made a big investment, and you have big plans for your impressive new yard.

For a deeper dive, check out our comprehensive sod guide.

We’re sod experts, but our skills don’t stop there. We’re with you every step of the way as you plan your perfect outdoor space.

Sod, irrigation, landscape design: Let us transform your Central Florida lawn from an embarrassing eyesore to a place you spend every spare minute.

Are you ready to enjoy the vibrant, impressive yard you've always wanted? Request a quote today! We’ll help you review your options and then transform your Central Florida property.

The Ultimate Guide to Sod

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