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.
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:
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.