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Why Is Sod Not Taking Root? (3 Reasons + Effective Solutions)

Once you lay down sod, you expect to be greeted with a lush and green yard soon. However, things sometimes go differently than planned, and the green lawn you visualize may end up with a plot twist you never saw coming.

One of the most frustrating aspects of gardening is when your sod appears healthy but can be lifted without exerting any pressure. If what I have mentioned above is something you faced recently, it means that the roots in your yard did not connect well with the sods you planted. 

Whatever the cause of this issue, you must conduct sufficient research and take the appropriate steps to resolve this issue. Don’t worry! I have carried out all the research required within the article below, so keep reading! 

Reasons for Sod Not Taking Root

Before we move on to learning how to solve this problem, you must understand the causes. 

When the question of taking care of sods arises, it’s a fact that sods can be unpredictable. You must ensure that you adopt a proper approach; every slight detail is very important. So, for example, your sod may not root if you water it too less. 

At the same time, it won’t root if you water it a lot. I have listed a few common reasons that may help you figure out why your sod may not be taking root.

Improper Sod Watering

As mentioned previously, watering is a factor that you must pay attention to. Too much water or too less water is a major determining factor when it comes to deciding whether the sod will develop a root system or not. If you water your sod more than it’s required, it may decide that it is not worth reaching down into the ground.

At the same time, if you water your sod too little, it may force the sod into deciding between two things – whether the sod should focus on producing an adequate amount of food for itself or growing more roots.

Sods tend to have a selfish element and rarely choose to grow more roots. Insufficient water during the rooting season is a reason that prevents sod from taking root but also ends up killing new delicate roots that may have already grown.

Improper Or No Application Of Fertilizer 

To ensure that your sod takes root, you must apply fertilizer as it helps affirm that your sod’s roots establish properly. Furthermore, fertilizer helps add an extra layer of protection by strengthening your sod to fight diseases. 

However, too much fertilizer does the same harm as no fertilizer causes. Sods that lack a well-established root system can not bear a lot of fertilizer and will burn if too much fertilizer is applied. 

The Soil Beneath the Sod

The soil beneath the sod holds unparalleled importance, and most people agree that its importance is equal to the importance of the sod’s quality itself. If your sod installer decided to lay the sod in the grass instead of well-prepared soil, it might answer your question of why the sod is not developing roots properly. 

Sod not taking root

Therefore, leaving a grass layer beneath the sod can have numerous adverse effects and prevents it from developing in the nutritional aspect. Additionally, your soil must be a little loose and should be manageable.

This is because it can also lead to your sod not developing roots, as compacted soil is usually unable to absorb water. The inability to absorb water would eventually mean that the roots would remain dehydrated, which leads to the sod not being able to take root. 

What Should You Do If Sod Is Not Taking Root?

Sod not taking root

Having discussed what causes the sod not to take root, you must understand what you can do to resolve this issue. The good news is that if you have succeeded in determining the cause of the sod not taking root, it is likely that fixing the issue won’t be too difficult. Thus, I have mentioned various things you may do to fix this issue.

Aerate the Soil

Sod not taking root

If you realize that your sod not taking root was due to an issue with the soil, the steps you should take are relatively simple. You have two options here: consider using a chemical product right before laying the sod or choose a manual method. 

The manual method involves the use of gardening machinery or a rake. You should aerate the ground two inches deep to ensure that the sod can take root.

Water the Sod by Soaking It

If you realize the problem lies in your watering method, you should follow a schedule to water the sod. If you have been attempting to develop a deep sod root system, you must ensure that you water your sod every alternate day and that you saturate the ground continuously.

Following this schedule would help the shallow roots to extend deeper into the soil and collect the leftover water. Additionally, if manually watering the sod is not your cup of tea, I have found the ideal alternative! On the pricier side, invest in an irrigation system, such as sprinklers. 

Avoid Using Extra Fertilizers

Yes, you read it right. You might have initially thought this contradicts what I said before, but keep reading. Fertilizers are essential elements of the sod growth process and play a vital role in the root development of sods. An excess of any substance can never be good.

Let’s say the damage is done and that you have already used heavy fertilizers; you may soak your lawn thrice a week for an entire week. You may leave the usual watering schedule behind and soak your lawn greatly, as it is important to flush the extra fertilizer early on before it affects the sod.


You must give the sod time and space to grow. You must carry out preventive steps to avoid this situation from happening in the first place. However, once the damage is done, there is no going back!

Most individuals tend to give up on this stage and choose to start from scratch. This is where most people go wrong, and steps can be taken to fix this issue once the root cause has been determined. 

Duaa tahir
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