Published on 03/18/10

Inspect sod before buying, installing

By Timothy Daly

Homeowners may know to inspect potted plants for diseases, insects and other signs of an unhealthy plant before buying them. But University of Georgia Cooperative Extension specialists say sod should be inspected, too, before it’s rolled out and installed.

When buying grass sod, inspect it carefully. The sod should be strong, uniform, free of pests and have a dense covering of grass blades. It should neither be dried out nor waterlogged.

Buying sod certified by the Georgia Crop Improvement Association guarantees the sod is free of noxious weeds.

Make sure the sod has not been sitting on pallets for more than a couple of days. The longer the sod remains on pallets, the larger the chance it suffers from lack of water and heat stress. This can diminish its overall quality and ability to take root into the soil once installed.

If you are planning to install any new turfgrass this year, UGA Extension specialists say wait until late April or early May. Late spring conditions are more suitable for establishing warm-season grasses.

Warm-season grasses grow best during the warm months when temperatures reach 80-95 degrees in the spring, summer and early fall. They grow vigorously during this time and become brown and dormant in the winter. They also have poor shade tolerance.

These grasses include bermudagrass, St. Augustinegrass, centipedegrass, zoysiagrass and seashore paspalum.

For more advice on UGA turfgrass varieties, visit Or, call your local UGA Extension agent at 1-800-ASK-UGA1.

Timothy Daly is an agricultural and natural resource agent with the Gwinnett County Cooperative Extension office.

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