Sod Installation Pallets

Preparation is key to installing new sod in a drought. There will likely be water restrictions and limited establishment periods for watering new sod. Sod is a perishable product and can dehydrate very quickly. It is important to have everything on site ready before the sod arrives.

Optimize growing conditions

The importance of proper soil preparation can not be over emphasized. The ground must be rototilled to a depth of 4" to 6" and organic matter added to the soil. This will allow water and nutrients to penetrate deeper into the soil and aid the root development. Maximizing on-site growing conditions is very important when facing limited watering and short establishment periods.

Be ready to water

Test your sprinkler system for any leaks and broken heads. Be sure all zones are operating and adjusted for coverage. Have hoses and sprinklers ready to water in the new sod.

Water prepared soil

Make sure to water prepared soil 48 hours prior to sod installation. Hot, dry soil will suck out all available moisture left in the rolls of sod and accelerate dehydration, which requires additional watering after installation.

First watering

To prevent the sod from drying out during installation, attach a sprinkler to the end of a hose and begin watering the newly installed sod immediately. Continue to water each area as it is being rolled out. When you have installed a large enough area, turn on the first sprinkler zone and begin to thoroughly water the newly installed sod in that area. Keep watering each new area as you go turning on each sprinkler zone one at a time until all sod has been installed.

Getting the soil wet

It is important to get the sub-soil wet to promote initial root growth and for establishment of the new turf. Continue watering each zone until water has penetrated the soil to a depth of 4" to 6".

Watering the newly installed sod

Most water providers and municipalities will grant watering permits to install new sod during times of water restrictions. Make sure to check with your local authorities. It is important to keep the new sod wet for the next two weeks. This may mean watering 2 to 3 times a day depending on temperatures. Now that there is adequate moisture in the soil, it will take less water to keep the sod wet requiring shorter run times on each sprinkler zone.

Establishment period

Watch for signs of dehydration during the first few weeks after installation. Areas like corners and edges will dry out quicker. Hand watering these areas missed by sprinklers will usually be all the additional water they need.


Newly installed sod will usually knit to the soil in about two weeks. By this time the grass should be able to go several days between waterings depending upon the season and the weather. During the third week watering can now be done every other day and then transitioned to every two days on down until the watering schedule matches the water restriction program in your area.

Installing new sod in a drought simply means learning to do more with less water. After all, plants don't waste water, people do.

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