It is Winter time again here in NC. The leaves have fallen, the grass is brown and your mower is safely tucked away in the back of the garage. All hopes for a better lawn are set aside until Spring and that plan to extend your grass to the edge of the property will have to wait. Everything is sad. Because there’s no way you can grow grass while it’s dormant and brown… right?
Wrong. Ah. There is hope. It’s so beautiful. The possibility to grow grass in the Winter? Are you kidding me? The possibility to have a fresh lawn as soon as it greens up? You don’t have to follow a strict watering schedule? You can enjoy your time inside with your hot cup-a-joe while the grass just does its thing? That’s right. So sit back, take a sip and enjoy while we dive into why you can not only lay dormant sod in the Winter but why there are actually great benefits to doing so!
What Is Winter Dormancy?
I’m sure you have noticed at one point or another, that among the various grass types that can be grown in the Holly Springs and surrounding areas, there are those that go brown during the winter and those that remain green. It’s not uncommon at all for those who have lived in warmer or colder climates to realize this when they come to a transition zone like North Carolina. Grasses like Fescue and Kentucky Bluegrass are meant to grow in colder climates while Bermuda, Zoysia, and Centipede grow much more successfully in warmer climates. Thus the reason for their somewhat self-explanatory titles of warm and cool-season grasses.
Winter Dormancy happens typically after the first frost. The soil temperatures drop below suitable temperatures for the warm season turf types to grow successfully. As a way to conserve nutrients and energy, the grass stops actively producing the pigments that give it its green color. The grass will also slow its growth to a near halt. It will stay this way until growing conditions are once again suitable which typically falls around mid-Spring here in NC.
Why Sodding In The Winter Can Be Beneficial
Contrary to popular belief, just because the grass is not actively growing, does not mean it is an unsafe condition for laying sod. Even in the Winter while the sod is dormant, the roots are still able to slowly develop. In fact, due to the sod exerting such little energy, this also means it requires very little help with watering and fertilization. It is still important to keep the sod moist, but with the cold weather allows for better water retention and the small amount of water the sod actually absorbs, you can safely water once or twice a week with a hose. No need for extensive irrigation or closely monitoring your new sod while it roots.
It is true that your sod will grow slowly during this period and it is important to be wary of extreme cold (consistently in the teens or below). Beyond that, there are few negatives. The new sod will love snow and rain as it provides plenty of good moisture and as is the case with North Carolina, it is not uncommon at all to anticipate a few weeks where the conditions are warm enough for the roots to establish themselves more aggressively.
Is The Process Any Different?
The process of installing sod in the Winter is not much different at all from the process of laying sod during the warmer months. The removal of existing grass, preparation of the soil, and laying of the sod are identical. The primary difference is aftercare. While the work is not extensive, the sod must be treated with care as with any time of the year. Try to avoid heavy traffic across the lawn until the roots are well developed and as mentioned above, make sure the sod does not dry out. While unlikely, the drier months of the Winter can still lead to the sod stressing from a lack of moisture.
Spring Is Coming
And just like that, Spring will come and your new sod will green up like any other. This will allow you the freedom to begin regular lawn care and enjoyment at your leisure. The simple truth is this, you get to enjoy the lawn while the weather is warm as opposed to waiting around for it to root before it can safely be enjoyed. Save money on your water bill, don’t worry about extensive irrigation, don’t worry about excessive Winter weeds, and just enjoy your new lawn.
Don’t just take our words for it! Check out what many industry experts have to say about this subject:
To get in touch with a sod expert from our team to help you navigate the best grass types and times of year to lay sod, simply fill out a form and our team will gladly answer any questions you may have.