You can plant/install sod anytime of the year in Pinellas. However, each season has its pros and cons. Below is summary of every season’s pros and cons.
February 15th – May 1st
Pros: Slow growth creates a perfect lawn by summer. The warming temperatures and lengthening days bring flush growth of both turf and soil microbes. The sod will heal in slowly but surely – filling in the gaps between pieces, replacing dead leaves from planting shock - and turn into a fine lawn by summer. The slower pace is more forgiving – mistakes can corrected and the sod will recover.
Cons: Drought. A Pinellas spring can be dry – rainless bluebird skies, low humidity and light winds create severe drying conditions. The mild temperatures and gorgeous skies can create a false sense of security that the sod is fine, when in fact it is dying from lack of water. The slower growth of roots require frequent light watering to establish. Every deficiency in the irrigation will slowly present as dead sod.
May - June
Pros: Quick Establishment. Sod laid during this time will establish in days and need to be mowed in two weeks.
Cons: Things happen quickly and Sod webworms are a big threat. The lawn can perish in hours because of a broken sprinkler, pipe, timer or pump. You must check your lawn at least twice per day for trouble. Planting sod and then going on weekend fishing trip are not compatible this time of the year.
This time of the year sod will often have sod webworm eggs. Pallets of harvested sod create warm moist conditions perfect for the eggs to hatch. After the sod is installed, the newly hatched sod webworms will destroy sod overnight. It is a must that you have the lawn treated with a good insecticide within days of installation.
July 1st – September 30th
Pros: Rainy Season has begun and instant gratification. Thunder showers plus irrigation will make establishment easy. The sod will establish so fast it seems it rooted in the soil overnight.
Cons: Rainy Season. Just getting the sod can be a challenge as fields may be too wet to harvest. Often when it does arrive it is in poor shape because harvesting is difficult in flooded fields. Mowing a new lawn during the rainy season can make a mess of the lawn.
Oct 1st – Feb 15th
Pros: Milder temperatures and conditions. Everything is slowed down and more relaxed. The sod will be less likely to perish before you can correct the cause of any problem. Irrigation is still critical, but watering mistakes are more forgiving at this time of the year.
Cons: Sod is Semi-Dormant. The sod will be slow to establish and much of the transplanting shock and scarring will remain until spring. Planting during this time will not provide instant gratification. The new sod you planted in Oct won’t be a lawn until April.
Bottom Line – Just about any time of the year is good for planting sod in Pinellas. Just find the time that is right for you.