How to Plant Sod in Winter


Sod is a quick and easy landscaping item which helps you replace dead spots in your lawn with green grass. The most common use is for landscaped yards after new buildings are constructed. Most sod does not freeze in winter but simply goes dormant. Because of this it is possible to lay sod in winter if you use the proper techniques. Sod should be laid out within 48 hours of harvesting so the roots do not become damaged by the cold; because of this you should never lay roots down directly upon frozen ground.

Step 1

Clear the area of debris, rocks, wood or overgrowth. Put everything into the wheelbarrow to save time and effort while you are outside.

Step 2

Rake the soil with the garden rake. Use a back and forth motion to break up the soil and level off the area. Loosen the top layer of soil to an inch depth. Use the rototiller to finish the soil preparation. Dig down another three inches with the rototiller.

Step 3

Use the shovel to remove two inches of soil. Grade the remaining soil to a level condition. Check the pH level of the soil at this point. Use the test kit to get samples and take these to the garden center for testing. This will tell you what type of fertilizer and nutrients you need to add before placing the sod down.

Step 4

Water the ground so that it is saturated.

Step 5

Place a layer of potting soil or composted soil on top of the ground soil. This will give the sod roots good soil to get established in before they reach the original soil and any potential problems. Spread the soil with the garden rake in the same manner you used to break up the ground.

Step 6

Unroll the first row of sod along the edge in a straight line. Use two stakes at either end of one side of the area with string tied between them if you need a guide. Roll out the second row alongside the first row, making sure the seams are as close as possible. Continue this method for each row of sod. Stagger the rows so that alternating rows match ends, as you see in brick or concrete walls.

Step 7

Cut sections of sod with the utility knife to fill in needed sections in the area.

Step 8

Roll over the entire area with a lawn roller.

Step 9

Water the sod with as much water needed to get the roots and underside moist. Check this by lifting up a section and visually inspecting. Continue checking the sod during the winter when feasible. Water the sod when it is dry. When spring comes you should provide up to five inches of water every day until the roots begin to take hold in the soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Wheelbarrow
  • Garden rake
  • Sod
  • Garden hose
  • Stakes and string
  • Shovel
  • Rototiller
  • Fertilizer
  • pH test kit
  • Roller


  • Walter Reeves
Keywords: laying sod, plant sod in winter, how to plant sod

About this Author

William A. Swan is a Pennsylvania-based freelance writer who has written hundreds of articles relating to business, finance, travel, history and health. His current focus is on pets, gardens, personal finance and business management.