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Figure 1. Sod can provide you with an instant lawn.

The Carolina Panthers had a tough game against the Broncos last week, but the turf at Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco gave many of the players a hard time also. They had a hard time with their footing, slipping at times on the turf. The turf had been re-sodded several times during the past year for various reasons, and just seemed to have a hard time rooting down into the soil. And the soil and drainage system for the field, as in most sports turf fields, are as close to perfect as one can get. So what seems to be the problem?

Most turf, such as bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, fescue, and even bermudagrass overseeded with ryegrass, can be established by sod. In the case with the sod at Levi’s Stadium, it was grown at one of the best sod farms in the country under ideal conditions. However, even with great conditions, and a budget to die for, Mother Nature has the last laugh.

It seems that many homeowners, and even professional groundskeepers, think that one can just lay down the sod, water it, and, within a few weeks, it will be the same as a mature turf. Well, it’s just not so, as it takes time for the turf root system to really become established. The sod only has about 1/2″ of root system, and that needs to tack down and the roots need to sink deeper into the soil. And that can only happen as fast as Mother Nature allows it to happen.

Proper watering and good soil nutrition with proper fertilization is important when laying down sod to establish a lawn. It’s best to keep heavy traffic and use to a minimum for a month or so. Even though the turf may look great after it’s laid, the root system just needs time to develop, and that does take time.

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