Overheating Sod: Preventing Disaster!

Things are certainly heating up as we get closer and closer to summer! While we all are relieved to be finally wearing shorts, the sod rolls are not quite as happy… Sod is a perishable product! In the hot weather, sod rolls can get cooked and die within just a couple hours if they are not tended to carefully. It’s too easy to end up with overheating sod.

Overheating Sod OrderSodnow Grass Rolls

This is why we always advise our customers to plan to have their sod delivered AFTER all of the land prep has been finished. Sod is an investment of time and money, and nothing would be worse than having some sod die as you work away at your project. You can only lay sod so fast though… We decided to give 4 ways to prevent overheating sod:

Sod Overheated Grass Rolls OrderSodNow

1. DO NOT water the sod while it’s rolled up.

While it may seem like a good idea, watering rolled up sod will actually accelerate the heating process! You see, the heat inside a roll of sod is not only produced from the sun, but it is also produced by the grass itself! The grass will continue to grow after it has been cut into rolls, and this growth releases nitrogen. The nitrogen will heat up the roll even more and kill the grass. So if you water the rolled up sod, while it may cool down the roll temporarily, it will accelerate the growth process, and therefore the overheating!

Overheated Sod Grass Rolls OrderSodNow

2. Choose a shady location for your sod.

Before the sod arrives, put some thought into where you will have it dropped. Many customers will try and have the sod placed in an area close to the installation location. This may be the easiest place in terms of how far you will have to move the sod, but you should make sure that this is a shady, cool area. The sun heats up sod a lot, so keeping it out of direct sunlight is essential. At OrderSodNow, you do not have to be home to receive delivery. You can just mark an “X” using sticks or chalk in your desired drop location. So on hot days, be sure to mark your “X” in a shady spot that’s still accessible by forklift.

Overheated Sod Grass Rolls OrderSodNow

3. Break-down the pallet!

Sod can be delivered in several different ways, but most of the sod from OrderSodNow is delivered as rolls stacked on a pallet. This delivery method makes delivery and installation very easy, but the stacked rolls are very good insulators. On a steamy hot day, the middle of the pallet will essentially be like an oven with all the surrounding insulation. This is the most common way that sod will overheat. When the sod arrives, pull the sod rolls of the pallet and spread them out. Allow air to flow around the rolls in your shady drop location. This will keep your sod cool until you are able to install it!

OrderSodNow Overheated Sod Grass Rolls

4. Install sod immediately and WATER WATER WATER!

Even after taking all these precautions, on very hot days sod can still overheat within 6 hours of harvest if it is not tended to carefully. You should install the sod as quickly as possible after delivery so that there is minimal opportunity for the sod to get cooked! Once you have a “sprinkler sized” area laid out, start watering! Now that the sod is laid out, the water will cool the sod down and percolate down to the soil, enhancing the sod’s ability to root. Follow an intensive watering regimen! Sod should be watered heavily and fairly often during hot weather.

Overheated Sod Watering Grass Rolls OrderSodNow

No body likes overheating sod…

Be sure to closely monitor your sod and follow the best practices we laid out here: breaking down the skid, and remembering not to water or cover it when rolled up. Ideal sod laying conditions are usually in the spring and fall but if you can’t avoid a mid-summer install, do your best to prevent overheating.

2 Responses

  1. Judy Cass says:

    Will the overheated sod come back to life?? The Nursery sold our sod on 90 degree days in rolls that were almost burn’ing our skin as it was unrolled on our yard. The sales person claimed it would be fine and come back but it’s been five days of heavy watering and we have a lot more brown & “dead” grass showing than we do green!! Worried sick and have a huge water bill to contend with! Thanks for your time to respond!

    • Cameron Shimoda says:

      Hey Judy!

      Thank you for your comment! I am terribly sorry to hear that your sod is overheated. It can absolutely come back to life, but it will take quite a bit of effort to revivify the burnt grass… I would reach out to your nursery and let them know that you have followed all installation procedures to a ‘T’ but your sod is still not establishing. Hopefully they will put a priority on customer service, like we do here at OrderSodNow, and be able to replace at least some of the rolls. It is truly frustrating when you put all the time, effort, and WATER into a sod installation only to discover that it is overheated. Send some photos in to your nursery and hopefully that will prove to them that action needs to be taken!

      Sorry I can’t be of more help Judy, but hopefully you can work something out with your local nursery!

      All the best and don’t forget, green-side up,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *