Sod will develop initial shallow roots 10–14 days after it is laid. However, sod requires 6 weeks to develop deep roots that lead to an established lawn.
If you prepare your lawn properly, lay sod in a timely manner, and encourage root growth with proper watering and fertilization strategies, your sod will take root faster. If your new sod isn’t cared for properly, it will struggle to take root, leading to grass disease and death. With a few tactics, you can make sure your sod roots quickly.
Table of Contents
7 Tips to Encourage Sod to Take Root Fast
Sod needs extra care in order to root into your yard’s existing soil. The sod itself undergoes a lot of stress when it is cut, transported, and laid. The plants are vulnerable and should be cared for carefully in order to turn your sod lawn into a seamless carpet of grass in just a couple of weeks.
Prepare Your Lawn Before Laying Sod
Before you lay new sod, make sure to fully remove any existing grass. You will have very poor results trying to get new sod to take root on top of old grass. Your new sod is likely to struggle or die. Plus, layering sod on top of grass can lead to drainage and flooding problems in your yard. You’ll also want to get rid of weeds before laying new sod.
Lay Sod the Same Day it is Delivered
Sod will only survive on a pallet for 24–36 hours. It’s extremely important to have a plan to lay your sod the day it arrives. Whether this is accomplished by hiring a lawn service or doing the work yourself, make certain you budget enough time to lay your sod. Laying one pallet of sod takes 1–2 hours of work.
If sod is left on the pallet too long, it will dry out. Dry sod is extremely likely to die. Reviving dry sod and getting it to take root is very difficult.
Use a Lawn Roller
A lawn roller provides big benefits for encouraging sod to take root. By rolling your sod after you lay it, you remove air pockets and provide seamless sod-to-soil contact. This means your sod will take root faster and more securely. If you want to see fast results, don’t skip this step.
Water New Sod Frequently
Sod loves water. The first thing you should do once you lay your new sod is water it. Then, follow a simple watering plan to drive optimal root growth.
- First 2 Weeks: Water new sod twice per day (10 minutes per watering).
- Week 3: Water once per day (15–20 minutes per watering).
- Week 4 and Beyond: Water twice per week (30–40 minutes per watering).
By watering twice each day in the first two weeks, you encourage initial shallow root growth to bond sod to the soil. By gradually decreasing watering frequency, you trigger grass to grow deep roots and really fuse the sod to the soil.
Stop Lawn Disease from Attacking Sod
New sod craves water, but this brings its own dangers. Too much water can flood your sod, causing root rot or inviting fungal lawn disease. In order to prevent disease from attacking your sod as it tries to root, take these precautions:
- Do not water in the evening (past 5 PM). Water present on the lawn at night drastically increases the chance of fungal disease.
- Check your lawn for soggy or flooded areas. If there is standing water, reduce watering immediately.
- Apply a fungus control product like Spectracide Immunox Fungus Plus to eliminate the chance of lawn disease.
Root rot can be caused by too much water on your lawn. In order to check for root rot, tug on your sod. If it stays rooted, it is healthy. If new sod is yellowing and the roots are soft and brown, this is a sign of root rot. Reduce watering immediately if it is present.
Fertilize New Sod
Sod needs a boost to develop healthy roots. A high-quality liquid fertilizer like Simple Lawn Solutions’ 16-4-8 fertilizer contains nitrogen for blade growth, potassium for disease resistance, and phosphorus to kickstart root development.
Fertilize your sod 3–4 weeks after you install it. It will help transform shallow sod roots into the deep roots required for a healthy lawn.
Wait Two Weeks Before Mowing
Don’t rush to mow your sod. The grass needs time to establish itself and put down shallow roots before it can withstand mowing without being damaged. Before you mow, tug on the corner of several pieces of sod. If they feel “tacked down” they’re ready for mowing. If they come up easily, wait to mow. Additionally, follow these guidelines.
- Ensure the grass is dry before mowing.
- Mow new sod at a high blade height.
- If possible, use a push mower rather than a ride-on mower, to reduce the impact on the sod.
By allowing the sod to establish itself before mowing, you give it a chance to funnel more energy toward growing strong roots, rather than recovering from mowing. If your sod is growing tall soon after you lay it, that’s a sign of healthy grass.
How Can You Tell if Sod is Rooted?
Wait 10–14 days after laying sod. Then, tug at the edge of several different pieces of sod in different areas of your yard. If it resists being pulled up and feels as if it has been lightly tacked onto the soil, then it’s beginning to take root. However, sod won’t have developed deep roots at this point, so don’t pull too hard.
If sod offers no resistance to being pulled up 14 days after it has been laid, then it is not taking root. Increase the watering frequency and consider applying liquid fertilizer to encourage your sod to root into the soil below.
How Long Does New Sod Take to Root?
You can expect sod to develop shallow roots in 10–14 days, but it will take up to 6 weeks for new sod to grow deep roots. To make sure your sod roots as quickly as possible and is not hindered by drought, disease, or improper preparation, follow these tips:
- Remove any old grass and weeds prior to laying new sod.
- Lay your sod the same day it arrives.
- Use a lawn roller to make sure you have good sod-to-soil contact.
- Water your new sod 2 times per day for the first 2 weeks.
- Apply an anti-fungal product to your sod to prevent lawn disease.
- Spray your sod with a liquid fertilizer after 3–4 weeks to boost root growth
- Do not mow your sod until it has developed shallow roots. Mowing too soon can damage sod and disrupt rooting.
With these simple tactics, you can greatly increase the speed at which your sod lawn takes root. You’ll go from a new sod lawn to a thriving yard in record time.