Abstract: Sod is tough stuff, but many golf course managers panic when scheduling late fall sod installations in the Northeast.
Paranoia runs deep around cold weather sod projects. Individuals outside the golf industry think that sod is very fragile, requiring perfect weather. I’ve seen people insist that sod be installed before Thanksgiving (in the Northeast).
I use these procedures without any sod failure.
1. Choose good cultivars (types).
2. Buy from a friend.
3. Make sure it’s moist when delivered.
4. Fine grade the soil, then order the sod.
5. Don’t add any soil amendments. The sod is delivered full of nitrogen.
6. Keep it wet but not soaked. My watering crew works 7 days a week with rainy days off.
7. Mow it after a week. Yes, a week.
8. Stake slopes with candy-apple sticks.
9. Keep traffic off for a week or two, not three months. You can walk on sod immediately and it won’t die.
I’ve sodded on an inch of snow without a problem. Same with an inch of ice. We’ve unloaded a truckload of frozen sod on pallets, kept it heated overnight, and installed it the following day without a problem. In January. In Massachusetts.
Don’t get caught up with sod paranoia. It’s tough stuff!