North Carolina’s Sod Problem

Sod, or grass that is cut out sold in sections held together by its roots, is a widely relied upon resource in southern states where the intense heat and sunshine make it difficult for grass to grow in its place. Sod farmers are experts at growing lush, green grass that can be installed as sod to quickly and efficiently create a beautiful lawn.


Even state departments choose sod for beautification projects, because it offers reliable growing habits and quick turnaround time. The maintenance for sod isn’t as demanding as it is for seed, which is great for public venues. However, sod does need certain care and attention, and for one city in North Carolina, it recently became very clear that taxpayer money might have been wasted on dead sod.


In Greensboro, North Carolina, a main boulevard was recently lined with dead, brown sod. It was installed in June, only to be pulled up and scrapped by late summer. Taxpayers in the area were immediately frustrated and turned to the news outlets to demand an explanation. As one viewer wrote, “As a taxpayer, I would like an explanation as to why this project was needed and who oversaw the project. Seems like we need some answers.”


Indeed, when grown, uprooted, planted correctly, sod should remain green, vibrant, and healthy even through the hot summer months. Brown patches aren’t uncommon as sod works to grow its root system, but when entire strips of sod turn brown and die like the sod in Greensboro, something is very wrong.


It’s possible that North Carolina’s sod problem occurred as a result of poor maintenance. New sod requires more water than a regular lawn as it establishes its roots, as much as four to seven times per day in the first week after it is laid. Each watering must be thorough enough to soak the top half-inch of soil and keep it continually moist. The amount of watering can then steadily decrease in the weeks following, until the sod only needs water once or twice a week.


Or perhaps the state’s sod died because air pockets formed between the roots and soil during installation and prevented the roots from absorbing vital water and nutrients that keep the grass green. It’s possible to resolve this in small situations, but if the entire stretch of sod was poorly installed, it could have led to the issue Greensboro residents witnessed.