Should new sod be rooting in winter?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by tamo, Dec 9, 2008.

  1. tamo

    tamo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 213

    Should I expect sod I laid for 2 customers 2 and 4 weeks ago to take root this winter? Temps have been in the 50's during the day and 30's-40's at night. I had the customers water morning and evening for 5 minutes each time.

    I know with cold temperatures the sod won't take root in 2 weeks like in warm months, but will it take root at all over winter and is it a problem if it doesn't?

    Last year I laid sod in late January right after the ground was completely frozen and the sod only took the usual 2 weeks to root.

    Also, what type of watering schedule should I have these lawns on assuming it doesn't rain?

  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    The frozen ground (last year) did thaw out during the 2 week rooting period - right?

    I wouldn"t be watering in the evening, because it promote fungal diseases. At sundown you want the roots to be moist and the blades to be dry.
    Have everything soaked b4 sunrise.

    After 4 weeks you should be rooted. Check the soil underneath the areas that still pull up and see if: it is still too dry, too wet, to compacted, too sandy, etc. Then adjust your watering from there.
  3. turfcobob

    turfcobob LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 878

    It will all depend on the weather and temps. Not warm no growth, warm growth. Simple as that.
  4. tamo

    tamo LawnSite Member
    Messages: 213

    that's what I figured. Is it a problem if the sod doesn't root until it warms up in spring?

    What type of watering do you recommend if it will be staying cold?
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    If it remains cold. Everything is dormant. water = ice. Then what are you talking about?

    Does sod really root in Oregon in Janurary?!?!?

    Your question need to be held with in the boundries of biology as well as Botany.

    If you have a possibility of sod 'rooting' in January then why are you aiming for spring and WHAT does winter irrigation have to do with that?
  6. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    You should be able to accomplish even a fair amount of rooting at lower temps with the help of endomycorrhizal fungi.
    ("Endos" are for turf & monocot-type tropicals, "Ectos" are typically used in dicots [like most nursery plants] but many of them are sold in endo-ecto packages)

    This beneficial fungi establishes itself as an "interface" between the root system and the soil, and it needs an organic protein feeding program to sustain itself over the long either turf or landscape.

    Bear in mind: Heavy levels of salts that tend to accumulate from ureas and potassium (etc) destroy these spores in the soil structure!

    I use MycoGrow Hydro "Hydroponic" formulation when I do any type of seed prep work or sod laying job.
    All I do is take my Solo diaphram sprayer, and dissolve the amount I need, in water that's been distilled, obtained from a local natural water source, or the rain downspout barrel next to my pole barn.
    (Chlorine and/or fluoride in most tap water degrades these spores before they can even get established.)

    Fungi Perfecti also sells "MycoGrow for Lawns", but I think this is geared more toward the homeowner, especially as far as value is concerned.
    I've found that I can make my cost/acre work MUCH better with the sprayable hydoponic formulation, with a little practice & calibration, of course!

    More info, if you're interested:
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2008
  7. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Messages: 2,636

    A credible study about salt acumulation please? One that utilizes normal fert practices? Normal being 4-6 lbs N per 1,000 per year.

    Thanks for the link, but that website is selling a product, even the referance links it has at the bottom of that article do not provide credible sources to support the claims made.

    The first link, which is supposed to show supporting information says...

    "Soils in natural settings are full of beneficial soil organisms including mycorrhizal fungi. Research indicates, however, many common practices can degrade the mycorrhiza-forming potential of soil. Tillage, fertilization, removal of topsoil, erosion, site preparation, road and home construction, fumigation, invasion of non native plants, and leaving soils bare are some of the activities that can reduce or eliminate these beneficial soil fungi."

    But it gives ZERO sources for ANY of the studies/claims it makes?

    The article continues about pot grown plants...

    "Unfortunately, the high levels of water and nutrients and the lack of mycorrhizae discourage the plant to produce the extensive root system it will need for successful transplantation. The result are plants poorly adapted to the eventual outplanted condition that must be weaned from intensive care systems and begin to fend for themselves... Research studies document the need of plants to generate a mycorrhizal roots system in order to become established. Maintaining intensive inputs is necessary until the extensive root system is achieved ."

    And again, no supporting documentation?

    Please provide peer reviewed literature that demonstrates...
    1- Regular professional fertilizer practices cause harmful soil salt acumulation?
    2- Mycorrhizal fungi is more sensitive to salt levels than plants?
    3- Tillage reduces the concentration of this fungi?
    4- Fertilization reduces the concentration of this fungi?
    6- High levels of water and nutrients reduce the concentration of this fungi?
    6- The success rate of transplanting nursery grown (potted) plants is lower than that of wild grown plants?

    Thank you in advance for ANY credible support you can provide here!
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2008
  8. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,116

    I spent 5 minutes on google:

    The application of farmyard manure stimulated vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae while fertilizers at the recommended level decreased the mycorrhizal propagules.

    Osmocote was most detrimental to mycorrhizal intensity and diversity; nonsupplemented controls had highest mycorrhizal diversity. Modest reductions in fertility can be used to increase root weight and diversity of mycorrhizal fungi;jsessionid=pvi0qrr0hiw4.alexandra

    The lowest colonization and spore number was recorded with T1 (full dose of fertilizers).

    Experiments showed that generally organic fertilizers were more compatible with mycorrhiza formation than inorganic fertilizers
  9. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,665

    about the sod you placed--how much snow was there at the time?
  10. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Messages: 2,636

    Quotes per those sources...

    I said at normal application rates. not 2, 3, or 4 times the recommended rate.

    It says there was high AM colonization while using either organic or inorganic ferts.

    How can T2 & T4 both have "the highest spore number"? Typo? Either way this demonstrates that "maximum root colonization (82.5%) was recorded with T3 (CD + P25 K25 S10 Zn2.5 + Inoculum)." which is cow dung, Innoculant, AND inorganic fert. It does not help the argument, it hurts it.

    It appears that generally, factors related to the local environment are most related to root colonization.

    This study only establishes that reducing soil fertility "increases root weight and diversity of mycorrhizal fungi" It makes ZERO mention of salt buildup, nor does it address why the osmocote "was most detrimental to mycorrhizal intensity and diversity". The wording still admits that colonization took place.

    So plant species does appear to affect concentration of spores... but we are not suggesting to change the grass type. We are suggesting how to increase root length of the already selected plant species. AM fungi innoculation CAN help... but only if inorganic P levels are relatively low.

    We have already seen a trend that lack of inorganic P is the main cause of increased AM colonization/spores. The above quote cannot be used to say that synthetic fert is the reason the propagules decreased. Perhaps the synthetically fertilized soils simply had more available nutrients than the ones fertilized organically.

    The point is... the real way to increase AM colonization is to reduce soil fertility. (particularly inorganic P). These studies show that pretty clearly IMO... but none of them (from the parts I read) mention Salt buildup or anything of the like.

    You want your roots to grow deeper/thicker? Reduce the fertilizer input... be it synthetic or organic.


    But again I allow myself to be distracted form the OP's question...

    The health/growing activity of the sod, soil temp, amount of sun, etc are all factors that will affect the speed of root establishment. That is a hard question to answer.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2008

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