Proper Time to Lay Bermuda Sod in Georgia
With mild temperatures and ample humidity in many regions year-round, laying sod in Georgia is not limited to just one season. Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon) as a sod installation provides ground protection against erosion, especially during the rainy season, because it has an aggressive growth pattern to fill in any open yard areas through above and underground stems. However, the proper time to lay Bermuda sod in Georgia should coincide with warm weather.
Best Time Period
Bermuda grass is a warm-season grass, hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 10. The best time to lay Bermuda sod is in spring and summer when warm weather and long sunny days prevail throughout most of Georgia. With this strategy, you take advantage of the turf's strongest growth period between spring and fall to form dense and deep root structures in the soil. Newly laid sod may appear ready for foot traffic, but it dies back quickly if it does not make good contact with the soil below. Ample moisture, nutrients and oxygen must flow between the roots and grass blades for a successful installation.
Timing your Bermuda sod installation must correspond with proper installation practices. Cultivating the soil to a 6-inch depth creates a friable texture for easy root spread, but you must also level the yard using a lawn roller to create a flat contour. Sod conforms to the ground's shape; improperly leveled soil creates low-lying spaces that are prone to standing-water issues. Once you lay the sod panels into position on the ground, use a roller again to gently press the bare roots into the ground. You need the sod to root firmly to the soil to preserve the turf's integrity before any Georgian rains pelt the area.
Georgia's warm spring and summer seasons can easily dry out the soil, especially if the region is under drought stress. Before you lay your sod, water your bare yard to moisten the top inch of soil -- do not over water or your topsoil may run off from the site. After sod installation, you must diligently water your yard at least once a day to keep the roots and soil moist for proper establishment. Your sod takes several weeks to fully root into the ground.
Avoid Dormancy Establishment
Bermuda's dormancy period is during the winter; you notice a stark difference between spring and winter with the lawn's brown hue. If you try to establish Bermuda during its dormancy, the roots do not grow into the soil. In fact, roots require soil temperatures higher than 55 F to stimulate growth. Your sod quickly dies back and requires extensive replacement with cool weather installations. Using spring and summer for installation allows the grass to establish quickly with vigorous above and underground stem spread.