Sod

Top 10 NC Sod Questions…Answered

Feldman 1

I work for Super-Sod, one of the top sod producers in the Southeast. As in any industry, we get the same questions over and over. And they are really good questions! I’ve compiled our top ten and shared my answers, with valuable input and editing from my co-workers, to help you choose the best sod for your landscape.

1. Which is the best sod for central NC?

We live in a macro-climate (overall geographic area) that allows us to grow nearly any sod variety with some degree of success. In general, warm season grasses are best because North Carolina is a warm season state. We have great success with Bermuda and Zoysia grasses! Centipede does well in full sun and well-drained conditions, however it is the least cold tolerant of the grasses we offer and is the most likely to come out of winter with winter-kill damage.

The variety that is best for you is much more dependent on your micro-climate (specific site conditions). Tall Fescue can be a challenge because it is a cool season grass, but it is our most shade tolerant option. Common practice is to over-seed Tall Fescue lawns every fall to help replenish any areas that may have struggled from disease and drought over the summer. Different Bermudas and Zoysias have different shade tolerances.

2. What is the best time to lay sod?

That depends on the sod. Ideal timing for each sod is listed below.

May 1 – September 1: Zoysia, Bermuda and Centipede

October 1 – March 1: Fescue

Exceptions:  TifTuf Bermuda and Zenith Zoysia can be installed year-round, but when laid outside their ideal timing, the seams may not close completely until warm weather.

3. Which sod holds up best to kid or dog traffic?

That’s easy. TifTuf Bermuda! Just make sure you have enough sun.

4. How do I determine how much sun I’m getting?

Most smart phones have a compass. Stand in the area you plan to sod and face North using the compass. In summer the sun will be straight overhead, and the rest of the year it will drop back into the Southern hemisphere. Imagine the sky is a clock. Start in the East and track the open “hours” in the sky/clock moving to the West. Those are the hours you will have full sun. It will change as the seasons change. There are Sun Tracker apps that make this even easier.

5. How do I measure square footage?

With a perfectly rectangular lawn, this is easy – multiply length by width. But few of us have perfectly rectangular lawns. With irregular shapes, first take length measurements every 6-10 paces (keep the number of paces consistent) and average the results. Then repeat this process with width measurements. Multiply the average length by the average width and you will have a fairly accurate square footage. Measuring wheels are more accurate than measuring tapes.

6. How many square feet are on a sod pallet? How many square feet per roll?

Each Super-Sod pallet covers 500 square feet. Each roll measures 2’x5’ or 10 square feet. There are 50 rolls per pallet. From time to time, Emerald Zoysia and Leisure Time Zoysia can come in slabs measuring 18” x 24”, but the pallet coverage is the same 500 square feet. Other sod suppliers may have different standards. Make sure you ask!

7. Is seed available for each sod variety?

No. Most hybrid sod varieties are sterile. The seed they produce is not viable. Super-Sod has seed available for Elite Tall Fescue, TifBlair Centipede and Zenith Zoysia only. Common Bermuda seed is available, but none of our hybrid Bermudas produce viable seed.

8. Can I combine sod varieties in my yard?

Many clients have different micro-climates in their yards. Your front yard may be full sun but the back is quite shady. You may need to choose different sod varieties for these different areas. Please keep in mind that if you have a cool season lawn area and a warm season lawn area, you will need to fertilize these areas at different times of year and mow them at different heights. Blowing out the under-carriage of the mower between mowing different areas can help decrease cross-contamination. We do not recommend mixing sod varieties in one area. One will eventually dominate the other.

9. Should I over-seed warm season sod with annual rye to have color in the winter?

No. Rye is a vertical grower and warm season grasses grow horizontally. The rye will shade out the warm season grass in those winter months when hours of sunlight are already more scarce. Plus the rye will be competing for root space and soil nutrients, which makes for a slow and unsightly transition out of dormancy for your warm season grass.

10. Which sods are evergreen?

Technically only Tall Fescue stays green year-round, but in reality it is very hard to keep Fescue healthy during the hot, dry months of summer. Every plant has its seasons. Deciduous trees lose leaves for winter dormancy. Warm season grasses go dormant for winter as well. Fescue’s “ugly” season is summer. My advice is to embrace the seasonal changes.

Still have questions? Super-Sod has more answers.

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