Contrary to common belief, laying sod in the winter is completely doable in Gresham, Happy Valley, OR, and nearby areas and is actually one of the best times to do it! Here in Portland, we see very minimal snowfall and the grounds don't tend to freeze over during the winter. This makes it easier to install new sod and prepare your lawn for fresh green growth in the spring.
Dormant sod offers very few problems when it's treated properly. If you're looking to install sod in your yard this winter, you'll need to follow certain steps to ensure its survival.
Why Should You Lay Sod in the Winter?
Although the sod will initially appear brown, it will green up faster once the temperatures start warming up! Laying sod is especially important if you moved into a newly constructed home. Covering the bare soil areas with sod protects against excess mud or erosion.
Luckily, most lawn and landscape companies aren't booked out for this kind of winter service! Most landscapers will have room in their schedule for winter sod installations, so you can get a head start on having a thriving lawn in the spring!
What Special Considerations Are There for Winter Sod?
Even though sod remains dormant in the winter, there are some special considerations to take into account when you hire a sod installation service.
The soil needs to be prepped before laying the sod.
Just like with any lawn, sod needs the right soil conditions so it can fully establish its root system and absorb enough nutrients. Unless your home is a new build, all other properties should remove any remaining grass in the areas where you plan on installing the sod.
The soil should then be tilled about 4 to 6 inches deep and tested. If the pH levels turn out okay, then the soil can be properly leveled, smoothed, and moistened for the sod install, otherwise, see whether you'd need to perform a lime or fertilizer treatment to balance the soil's pH level.
Sod installed in the winter still requires watering.
Dormant sod needs far less water than sod laid in the summer, but this upkeep is key to how quickly it will green up in spring. Sod should be watered immediately after installation and throughout the winter so it stays moist, but not saturated.
However, you need to pay close attention to the water requirements week to week. You especially want to water the sod on cold, windy days. This kind of weather will sap the water from the sod and dry it out because the root system isn't established yet. If temperatures fall below freezing, skip watering your sod that week since the grass can't properly absorb it.
Dormant sod roots slowly, so be patient.
Don't expect to have the only green yard in your neighborhood just because you laid fresh sod. Sod remains dormant in the winter because it needs time to root itself deep into the soil. After the installation is done, your lawn will look brown and lifeless. Once the weather starts warming up, your sod will take root even faster and transform into a beautiful green turf now that growing conditions have improved!
Weed killers shouldn't be applied until the spring.
Don't apply herbicides to sod until it's fully rooted in the spring. New sod is sensitive and highly vulnerable to herbicide chemicals and one application could damage it permanently. Some winter weeds still pop through even though the sod is properly fertilized and watered, but if this happens, simply mow and discard the clippings.
It's important to note that you may need to wait a little longer before mowing in the winter. Early mowing can peel up corners of your sod if the roots aren't fully anchored into the ground. Any mowing should be done three to four weeks after the growing cycle starts.
Have a new green lawn when spring arrives by hiring a professional sod installation company!
Once sod comes out of winter dormancy, it can provide you with a fresh green lawn within the first few weeks of the spring season! Laying sod in the winter keeps your yard ahead of the game during the new growing season so you can focus on other areas of your landscape.
Our top-rated sod installation services are available for properties near and around Gresham, Happy Valley, Troutdale, and other communities in Portland, OR. Call us today at (971) 284-2035 for an estimate!