Sod is sod, right?
- It looks the same
- It unrolls the same
- It grows the same
If you don’t know what to look for, then yes, you could say there’s no difference between one piece of sod over another.
Upon closer inspection, though, there are 4 characteristics which tell you if you’re looking at high-quality sod or not.
1. Soil consistency
Ideally, you want your sod to have no more than 1” of soil attached to it.
- If you have too much soil, the roots of the grass seed within the sod can’t grow through and reach the topsoil on your yard.
- If you don’t have enough soil, the grass atop of the sod won’t be fully supported and the roots below it won’t be able to establish themselves.
Soil consistency is crucial to your sod taking, growing and surviving (especially if you lay it down in extreme summer heat).
Before your sod fully takes root, the soil that’s underneath it is the only thing keeping it alive. If that soil dies or breaks apart, your sod has virtually no chance of succeeding.
A few more things to remember:
- Soil that cracks or crumbles is no good, because all the vital nutrients the sod needs to stay healthy will break away too.
- Soil that’s packed down is also bad because the sod must work harder to access those nutrients and will use them up at a much faster rate.
2. Proper fertilization
Good use of fertilizer also keeps your grass looking a nice shade of green and helps the sod handle the stress of being uprooted and transplanted somewhere else.
Over-fertilizing or under-fertilizing your sod can lead to problems down the road, such as:
- Brown patch disease
Once your sod is firmly in place, make sure you develop a consistent fertilization schedule to keep it healthy and strong.
3. Grass maturity
More often than not, weak or thin grass usually leads to poor-quality sod.
There are a few ways to tell if sod grass is mature or if it’s still in a growing phase and not quite ready to handle the rigors of transplantation:
- Look at the roots. They should look tangled and messy, like a big spider web. When the roots are tied up together, they can handle things like being cut, rolled up, delivered, laid down, etc. You should be able to clearly see a thick mesh of roots.
- Grass colour should be consistent. The grass itself should be the same shade of green throughout. No darker or lighter areas anywhere. If there are different colours here and there, it’s a sign the grass is immature, unhealthy or diseased.
- Measure the length of the grass. Sod grass should be dense, think and at least 2” long. Dense grass on the sod means it’ll be dense and lush when you finally lay it down.
4. Harvesting time
Ideally, you have around 8 hours from the time the sod is cut at the sod farm to when it’s fully replanted.
Anything longer than 8 hours and the sod becomes weak from the loss of moisture.
Here’s how you can tell if the harvesting time of sod has been too long:
- If the sod product isn’t the same shade of green everywhere, there’s a good chance it’s been left out too long.
- Place your hand on top of the middle of the sod you’re looking it. If it’s warm, that means it’s been in sun for an extended period. As a result, decomposition and thatching has also begun. Cool sod is what you want.
- Good sod will be moist at the roots. Without moisture, the roots will start to wither and die. And if the edges of the sod are dry, there’s not enough moisture there to keep the grass alive for an extended period of time.
Further to moisture, it’s what keeps the sod going until it gets nutrients from your yard soil.
As soon as the sod is cut, it begins to lose moisture. It can handle it for a little while.
But eventually, your sod will weaken and become vulnerable to disease than it normally would be.
We’ve got the high-quality sod you need
The causes of sod failure usually take place long before it’s actually laid down.
That isn’t the case at Van Beek’s, though.
Here, we take excellent care of our sod, from first cut to final shipping.
And now that you know how to spot great looking sod, your next step is to get some for your own home.