If you are an impatient person like me, having to wait for the sod to take root and eventually have that lush green lawn doesn’t sound so appealing.
However, at the end of the day, stepping on my fully grown, stunning lawn puts a huge grin on my face, but that aside, how long does it take for sod to take root?
New Sod takes 10-14 days to root after installation. Proper soil preparation and watering are key as they make the whole process easier. It can take up to six weeks for the sod to develop a deep healthy root system.
You may be tempted to go with turf since you don’t need to feed, mow, or water it. However, nothing beats the green cover of real grass in your yard if you are like me.
There are vital things you must know about sod rooting, as this post will show.
How Long Does it Take For Sod to Take Root?
New sod takes about two weeks to develop shallow roots and six weeks for deep root growth. As long as you prepare your soil well and care for your sod properly it should take root within 10 to 14 days.
Preparing Your Soil
One of the biggest mistake you can do before you laying sod is not to prepare the soil in your yard well because that will compromise the growth of the roots.
Getting your ground ready will ensure the roots penetrate the ground evenly and deeply, making your yard more drought-resistant and nutrient and water-efficient.
Related: Can You Lay Sod Without Tilling?
This job is labor-intensive but absolutely necessary. Perform the activities below to give your lawn the best foundation.
1. Get Rid Of Existing Vegetation
The existing vegetation in your lawn will compete with the grass you intend to plant, compromising their growth.
Therefore, apply glyphosate weed killer to kill the whole plants plus their roots.
Make sure you protect yourself by putting on safety equipment, don’t apply the chemical during windy or hot days, and evenly coat every weed leaf with the substances.
Furthermore, a second application one week following the first may be necessary for resilient weeds and give the weeds multiple days to die before proceeding with the next step.
2. Till The Soil
Loosening the soil before laying the sod lowers compaction, helps sod roots grow more easily and promotes better moisture retention.
Use a rototiller or shovel to do the job, digging up to 3 to 4 inches deep.
You’ll have to dig one area several times to disintegrate any huge clumps and even water the ground the day before if you are dealing with hard soil.
Breaking up the soil eliminates compacted soil which can inhibit sod not taking root.
Related: Can you overseed new sod
3. Rake The Ground And Remove Debris
The rototiller will leave a bit of dead vegetation if you are working on an existing yard that has weeds.
You have to take out debris to avoid creating air pockets that let the sod dry out.
Rake any debris with a metal rake and level the ground as smoothly as you can to form the best grade for your new lawn.
Additionally, spread extra topsoil as necessary to alter the grade or amend the ground.
4. Apply Starter Fertilizer
The soil needs plenty of nutrients to help the sod form a health root system, so spread starter fertilizer perhaps a 1-1-1 formulation before sod installation.
Apply the fertilizer using a walk-behind or hand spreader following the instructions provided by the manufacturer.
When using the spreader, go with multiple light passes instead of a single heavy pass to avoid over-application and achieve a uniform application.
Moreover, sweep or wash off fertilizer that lands on impervious surfaces or sidewalks to lower nutrient runoff, thus protecting the environment.
Depending on where you live, you can grow a new lawn at nearly any time of the year. However, the best time to lay sod is early fall or later summer because of the cooler temperatures and the conditions that allow grass to continue growing.
You can also choose spring to lay your sod if early fall or late summer isn’t possible. This season is preferred for growing warm-season grasses like Zoysia, Centipede, St. Augustine, and Bermuda as they get dormant during winter.
Related: New sod sod turning brown
Summer isn’t the best time to install sod because the additional water needed for establishment may cause disease, blight, and raise your water bill.
If you decide to lay sod in winter, schedule watering it throughout this period and know that your lawn won’t be green until spring.
When Does Sod Start To Root?
New sod takes 10-14 days to root after installation. Proper soil preparation and watering are key as they make the whole process easier.
The ideal root system will develop within 2 weeks, and the grass roots will be completely developed in a month or so.
You should have well-rooted grass once the process is complete if you did an excellent job. The duration for shallow roots formation differs from the time taken for deep roots to form.
Phase 1: Shallow Roots
Your sod should begin to form shallow roots within two weeks of layering sod. Watering is critical during this period because it can be detrimental if the short roots dry out, so water the sod every day without fail to promote healthy roots growth.
You should also avoid walking on new sod and keep your pets away to protect the fragile roots. Moreover, don’t mow your lawn during the first 14 days because shallow roots easily pull out of the ground.
Read more: When to mow new sod
Phase 2: Deep Roots
It will take up to 6 weeks or 30-45 days for your sod to form a deep root system. You can encourage deep rooting by reducing the irrigation frequency of your sod instead of saturating it every day to enable the roots to move further down in search of moisture.
You can start mowing your lawn but make sure the grass is dry the first time you cut it to ensure the lawnmower doesn’t uproot it.
Therefore, give it 48 hours after watering the grass before cutting and set the blades of your mower to a minimum of 3” tall.
Encouraging Faster Rooting
You can encourage your sod to develop its roots faster through the following ways:
- Watering– moisture encourages rooting of sod, so be sure you water it every day during the first 14 days, then reduce the frequency after that. However, please don’t overdo it.
- Use A Lawn Roller– roll new sod carefully after installation with a lawn roller to help the topsoil and the sod adhere to one another.
- Use Fertilizer- Put slow-release fertilizer with high nitrogen content to your sod after six weeks of installation to supply it with nutrients necessary to encourage fast growth. Don’t use too much fertilizer, and apply it evenly.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Can You Tell If Sod Is Rooted?
Choose different areas of the lawn and tug at the edge of various pieces of sod to see if they resist when pulled up and gauge if it has been tacked into the ground. Do this after 10 to 14 days after installing the sod.
Be careful not to pull the sod too hard because deep roots haven’t developed yet.
How Much Should I Water New Sod?
You should water new sod twice a day, for about 20 minutes per session every day for the first two weeks, then keep watering but not every day afterward. This should be enough so that your lawn gets a solid six inches of watering per cycle.
Should I Fertilize New Sod?
You should definitely fertilize your new sod because it helps form and maintains a healthy root system. Liquid fertilizers are better for new sod since they penetrate the soil, conditioning the surface beneath.
How Long Does it Take for Sod Lines to Disappear?
The lines between new sods usually take between 4 and 6 weeks to disappear. First, the roots will develop and strengthen before the visible seams start to disappear.
The amount of time it takes for sod to take root can vary depending on a number of factors such as weather conditions, proper installation, and the type of sod being used.
On average, it takes around 2-4 weeks for sod to fully root and establish itself in the soil.
However, it’s important to note that it can take up to 6-8 weeks for the roots to fully set in, especially during periods of hot and dry weather.
Proper care and maintenance, including regular watering, can help to speed up the rooting process and ensure that your sod establishes itself quickly and healthily.
With the right care, you can enjoy a lush, green lawn in no time!
Hey there, I’m Derek Schew, a writer for Lawnholic.com, where we cover everything and anything related to lawns. As someone who’s spent countless hours tending to my own lawn, I’m passionate about sharing my knowledge and helping others achieve the perfect yard. From lawn care tips to product reviews, I’m committed to providing our readers with the most accurate and up-to-date information available. So whether you’re a seasoned lawn enthusiast or just getting started, I invite you to join our community and discover the joys of a lush, green lawn.