Store Sod in the Shade - Even if You Don't Have a Tree

You've placed your order and your farm fresh sod will soon be on the way. As you plan ahead for sod-laying day and collect your tools, also map out where you want the delivery driver to place your pallet(s) of sod.

We recommend finding a spot in the shade to preserve your farm fresh sod as you lay it.

That's straightforward enough, yet we have more tips and hacks, like you expect from a good blog. Read this and you'll know how to prep for the moment of delivery.

Why Do You Need to Store Sod in the Shade?

In full sun, a pallet of sod will literally cook, starting from the inside of every roll. Cooking sod is not good. You've researched and planned for your day of laying sod, so to keep it top quality, lay your sod the same day you receive it AND store it in the shade as you lay it.

store pallets of sod in the shade

To preserve its farm fresh quality, you still want to store it in the shade while you lay it, even though you're laying it the same day it's delivered.

Shady Hacks

1) Temporary Shade

If you are lacking shade from a tree or a building, you can do what this clever person did and erect temporary shade!

If you don't have your own square shade tent (sometimes called a canopy), maybe your neighbor has one you can borrow. This could be your excuse to buy one . . . last I looked they have come down in price to under $100 and then you'll have it for other events.

A benefit of temporary shade is that it's also movable shade. As the sun courses through the sky, you can reposition your tent.

a temporary solution for storing sod in shade is using a tent or canopy

Tents are a genius temporary solution and they are portable for easy repositioning as the sun moves. See the hose there - that's in keeping with another Super-Sod mantra, water sod as you lay it.

2) Stagger Pallets Throughout Shady Areas

If you have multiple pallets coming, our delivery driver may* be able to stagger them throughout the landscape, with the last ones you'll be laying placed in the shade.

*This is up to the driver's discretion because he must be able to safely operate the forklift.

sod in shade - staggered staging

Two pallets are tucked safely under the shade (left) to sit under protection of the tree until they are installed later. This flat, open landscape was safe for our delivery driver to maneuver his forklift.

3) Portable Sod

Nina Johnson, turfgrass expert at our store in Alpharetta, GA, suggested that if you've picked up a pallet of sod from us in your truck, plan how to move your truck into shady areas while you unload and lay it.

Avoid These Mistakes

Here's how not to store your sod:

  • Don't store sod under a tarp: Tarps trap heat and will cause damage, rather than protecting the pallet of sod. Store your sod under a tree, in the shade of a building, or under a high covering (tent) so that there's plenty of air movement around it. Sod is a living plant, just like a flat of pansies. Nobody stores pansies under a tarp.
  • Don't store sod in direct sunlight: That big radioactive ball in the sky we call The Sun will cook a pallet of sod from the inside of each roll (or slab) and you'll end up with something cute, like this . . . 

sod left on pallet too long - recovered eventually

The good news is that with lots (I mean lots!) of watering, the above sod did recover. You don't want to put yourself through this, though, even if it does recover. From the beginning treat it right and store your pallet of sod in the shade. Photo by Hillary Thompson.

Lay Sod the Same Day You Get It

Keep these straightforward tips in mind as you commence your sod laying project. Don't be cavalier about how strong the sun shines; instead lay sod the same day you receive it and store it in the shade as you lay it.

If the pallet has to be in the sun, try to get it laid within the hour and water as you lay it.

Please note that Bermudagrass is notorious for quickly turning yellow from heat and moisture while being rolled up. Have no fear that with proper watering your Bermudagrass will green within a week.

Here's a parting tip I learned from Shannon Hathaway in one of her turfgrass webinars, "If you do need to keep some sod until the next day, unroll it in the shade and water it. Keep it unrolled and moist until you can lay it the next day." 

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Thanks to Nina Johnson and Shannon Hathaway for contributing pro tips about storing sod in the shade and to Tamara Green, Judson Mills, Brad Hubinek, and Scott McElyea for providing pictures from their customers.

Super-Sod blog - store sod in the shade