Although new sod needs moist soil, too much moisture causes the roots to rot rather than establish in the ground. Within days, the grass will yellow and die if the site has poor drainage. Special care is needed to counteract this problem.
Drainage Issues and Sod
Poor drainage in a lawn is likely caused by a combination of issues. Soil type is the most important consideration. Soil with a high clay content is dense, which means it retains water and doesn't allow the soil to drain well. Soil can remain wet or even boggy for long periods of time. If you live in a damp climate or have a high local water table, the problem can be even worse.
Another issue affecting draining is the grade of your lawn. Ideally, the lawn slopes down from the house at a relatively even rate. If there are low areas, then water can collect there and lead to poorly drained, slow-drying conditions.
Pre-installation Drainage Tips
Much of the work of drainage improvement must be done before the new sod is installed. For clay soil, the key is to add in sand and organic material, usually with compost. The combination of the sand and compost adds more structure to the soil. Sand has angular grains that don't compact like clay grains, so the soil is broken up to let moisture drain through better. Compost or other organic materials improve nutrient availability as well as creating a better draining soil texture.
You may also need to have the yard graded. This involves moving the soil around or adding more topsoil to fill in the low area. The entire lawn is then graded on a slight slope that moisture drains through it instead of settling to one area.
Sod must be tended to carefully after it is installed. If you are still concerned about drainage, invest in a moisture meter. This device is inserted into the soil where it then reads the moisture level. This way, you can track drainage in the site and avoid overwatering.
New sod is usually watered twice a day until it roots into the soil, but you may need to reduce this amount if the soil retains a lot of moisture. When watering, water once in the morning and again in mid-afternoon. Avoid evening watering as this can lead to too much water retention in poorly drained soils.
Contact a sod turf installation service if you need more help planting a lawn in a poor drainage area.