How to Lay Sod Grass in Winter in Tennessee

Overview

Laying sod is a great alternative to seeding your lawn, especially if you want an "instant lawn." Although sod is much more expensive than seed, it is much easier to get established. Most lawns are sodded in the warmer parts of the year; however, since Tennessee has mild winters, you can lay sod in the winter months. However, there is a catch: You can lay only cool-season grass sod, like fescue and Kentucky bluegrass, in the winter months. Warm-season grasses like Bermuda grass can't successfully be sodded in the winter months due to the cold.

Step 1

Amend the soil with 2 to 3 cubic yards of peat per 1000 square feet to open up the soil and allow better water and air movement. Rototill these amendments in and finely grade the area with a grader. If you have a smaller area, you can use a garden rake.

Step 2

Fill a lawn roller with water and roll the area to firm up the planting area. If the planting area is firm enough, your feet will only sink in about 1/2 inch when walking on it.

Step 3

Purchase fresh sod. Look for sod that was cut no more than 24 hours before delivery.

Step 4

Lay the sod on moist soil. Start along a straight edge and work across your lawn. Unroll each piece and push the pieces tight together. Stagger the joints like bricks.

Step 5

Cut sod sections as needed to make shorter pieces or odd shapes. Use a utility knife for all the cutting.

Step 6

Fill a lawn roller 1/3 full with water and roll the entire lawn after sodding to ensure good sod-to-soil contact.

Step 7

Water the sod daily to keep it moist until it roots firmly in the soil. This usually takes a few days. Slowly back down on the watering when you can pull on the sod and it doesn't lift up. Treat your sod like a normal lawn in 2 to 3 months.

Step 8

Rent a lawn aerator and aerate the lawn in the spring to prevent layering of the soil. The core aerator should be deep enough to pierce through the entire thickness of the sod.

Tips and Warnings

  • Too little watering during the time it takes sod to establish itself will cause the sod to dry out. Once dried out, it most likely will die and need to be replaced.

Things You'll Need

  • Peat
  • Rototiller
  • Grader or garden rake
  • Lawn roller
  • Water source
  • Sod
  • Utility knife
  • Lawn sprinklers
  • Garden hose
  • Aerator

References

  • University of Tennessee Extension: When to Plant Turfgrasses
  • Texas Cooperative Extension: Specifications for Turfgrass Establishment
  • University of Minnesota: Seeding and Sodding Home Lawns
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About this Author

Robin Gonyo has been writing for several years now. She has a deep love for gardening and has spent a vast amount of time researching that subject. Previously she has written for private clients before joining Demand Studios. She hopes to share her knowledge with others through her writing.