If you have purchased fresh, rolled turf, and find you are unable to lay it immediately, you will want to properly store it or face losing your investment due to turf heat stress. Here’s how to identify turf heat stress, avoid it, and store your turf to protect it.
What is Turf Heat Stress?
Every turf or sod roll contains thousands of living grass plants, requiring water, air, and light to survive. When it’s rolled, it has limited access to each of these vital components, thus it begins to deteriorate. If the turf gets too hot or sits in rolls for too long, it can be fatal to the grass.
The rolls are under stress as soon as they are harvested. When they are stacked for transportation, there is even less air-flow, meaning the heat can build up faster as well, accelerating their decomposition.
If it is hot outside, you may see the turf steaming, and it may even smell like rot. This is a big problem, and the turf needs to be laid as soon as possible to prevent a total loss.
How to Avoid Turf Heat Stress
The best solution to eliminate losing your grass (and the investment), is to immediately lay the sod when it arrives. The ground should already be prepared for the sod including:
· Being clear of grass, weeds, leaves, and other debris
· Nutrient-rich and pH balanced
· Rototilling at least 4” deep
· Having your sprinkler system in working order
· Having grading issues repaired
The sooner you lay the turf, the better, even if conditions don’t seem perfect. Damaged turf will look yellow or even gray, but if it’s mild, if laid right away and watered, it can be recovered. If it’s allowed to sit overnight, you may lose it.
Never water rolled up turf, as it can become heavy, over saturated, rot, and even break. Don’t cover turf, nor leave it directly in the sun. Keep rolls in the shade, and try to increase airflow by breaking the pallet of rolls into smaller stacks and not in an enclosure that will become hot or humid.
Remember, your sod needs soil, water, sun, and air to survive, so allow air to flow, create proper saturation levels, let it root, and give it sunlight for nutrition – none of which can be done in the roll form. If you need to buy some time (a few days, max) and move the sod, unroll it, water it, and then re-roll it to move it.
Repairing Heat Stress
If the grass is yellow but not hot to the touch, it can be restored in most cases by being rolled out on prepared ground and watered.
Once the rolls are hot to the touch, and the color is grey or black, you will want to contact your supplier for advice. Do this as soon as possible, but understand that if you stored the sod instead of laying it, you may not be able to get a refund.
Looking for new lawn sod? Contact Emerald Sod Farm today to learn more about the best sod for Colorado, the best applications, and pricing.