Planting Sod in the Winter
Winter sod is dormant warm season grasses that are brown, but they aren’t dead. The sod is “hibernating” until warm weather signals green-up in the spring.
Dormant sod requires much less water Get a jump on establishing your lawn Comfortable weather to plant Allows your lawn extra time to root before summer heat hits
The advantages of sodding in winter are that you get a jump on establishing your lawn and you will use less water. As long as your grade is set, you can lay sod on frozen ground. As we move into spring, we get a lot of wet snow and rain that really helps establish your new yard. If you wait until spring, you may have to work around wet weather and mud. Sod needs to be unfrozen to install, making it possible to work with and cut. Frozen sod is like trying to cut through concrete. On a warm day, if the sod is frozen, warm it up in the garage or the sun.
All the steps are the same when you sod in the winter. Apply starter fertilizer before sodding, pull seams tight and water the sod. It might freeze after you install it but this will not harm the grass. If the weather is warm and dry, water the new sod enough that that the water soaks through. A garden hose is the preferred method of winter watering because it is easy to drain and you will not be applying that much water. If you need to water with your sprinkler system, be sure to drain and blow out the system when you are finished. Wait until late March to turn on your sprinkler system for the season. Be sure to cover the back flow preventor and drain it if the temperatures get below freezing.
Do not apply herbicides until the sod is well rooted in spring. Winter weeds will usually pop up in newly sodded lawns with proper fertilization and watering. If this happens, mow and discard the clippings. Once the sod is rooted, apply the appropriate fertilizer, fungicide, and weed control products that are approved for your specific lawn type. Check the label on your products to make sure it’s approved.