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View Full Version : Customer says the sod we installed 8 months ago is dying now.


tamo
11-03-2008, 09:56 PM
Customer calls me today about a sod job we did in March. She says it was great all spring, summer, and early fall but two weeks ago started turning brown and is now turning black.

She wants me to come by tomorrow to take a look. She wasn't mad, just wants my opinion.

When I bid the job all she wanted was the existing sod removed and new sod installed -- no soil test or 3-way soil install to ammend. She was putting her house on the market and just wanted a new lawn to sell. She hasn't sold yet.

The old lawn was full of moss and a few weeds. It had been sodded about 4 years ago. The lawn gets plenty of sun but must have poor drainage with all of the moss. I recommend adding soil with sandy loam, but she wanted the cheapest bid possible so I obliged. We added lime and starter fert when we laid the sod and she says she's added fert twice since the last time in August. She has irrigation and kept it watered all summer and said it was fine all through our drought-like summer.

I'm going to take a look tomorrow and just wondered if you guys had any opinions.

thanks

KGR landscapeing
11-03-2008, 10:12 PM
Take some pictures. Though I dout you can do anything since you gave her the cheap bid. Poor drainage and poor soil left you with a garbage root system. If the matress stinks putting new sheets on it isnt going to fix the problem. Dose that yard have any type of pitch to it at all? or is it the bottom of the whole street?

CALandscapes
11-03-2008, 10:16 PM
How about reminding her about your initial suggestions and advice?

tamo
11-03-2008, 10:59 PM
How about reminding her about your initial suggestions and advice?

oh I'm definitely going to remind her of my suggestions. She isn't demanding I fix the problem just asking for my suggestions on how to help the problem at her expense.

There is a retaining wall which is probably part of the problem. There is a slight pitch but not much.

RigglePLC
11-04-2008, 08:42 AM
Previous lawn had moss--but it gets plenty of sun. That is not logical--moss is usually caused by heavy shade where I am from. Poor drainage would be obvious--that is --standing water after rain storms.
on the other hand--it could be fungus. Are you familiar with the 10 most common diseases in your area? If not find someone who is --take a looksee.
Good luck. Lets us know what happens and get pictures--please.

Smallaxe
11-04-2008, 09:53 AM
I came onto a sod install going black and all it took was to turn off the water.
This place was also heavy compacted clay and yet it needed 1/2" of water 3 times a day down to 1/3" twice a day a month after it was put down. :laugh:

RAlmaroad
11-04-2008, 01:26 PM
Before you do anything, get a soil test done. If you don't you're shooting in the dark. It will just happen all over again even if the sod is replaced. If the grass lived through the a dry season, you did your job right. Your soil may be highly compacted. Photographs will help. Black....I'm thinking highly acid soil.

Whitey4
11-08-2008, 03:06 AM
so, what was the outcome?

soloscaperman
11-08-2008, 03:33 AM
What fertilizer did she use?? How many times did she really do it? What setting was it.

In some area's soil testing is free just to let you know.

RigglePLC
11-09-2008, 03:59 PM
Black slimy residue on the soil is usually algae. A full diagnosis is the first step.

Ramairfreak98ss
11-10-2008, 01:30 AM
yeah lots of sod in NJ is basically laid over hard crappy nj clay lol. 3 years later a zero turn mower can tear it up in layers when its wet again :/

Do you warranty the sod install for any long length of time? We dont do any big sod jobs but its a warranty on the install for 3 months, and of course they have to water and so forth. Isnt it real cold in Oregon by now? Most grass should have died, im gonna assume when you see it its not as bad as she described.

tamo
11-14-2008, 01:23 AM
I can't seem to attach a photo here, but I went and looked at the site.

The grass isn't turning black like she said, its just exposed soil. The turf is thin and much of it has turned brown/yellow. Again, the turf made it through summer fine and is just having problems now.

From my knowledge the situation has three strikes against it.

-- she passed on getting new soil (wanted cheaper bid)

-- poor drainage (and she watered very heavily even into fall)

-- she mowed VERY short. We mowed for her for about a month after install. She always insisted on us mowing shorter, but I tried to explain it was bad for the turf. She finally told us she'd mow herself. I'd drive by occasionally and it would be damn near scalped.

I know its tough to judge without seeing the turf, but what do you guys think is the problem. She wants to know if it can be saved, what do you think?

thanks

hole in one lco
11-14-2008, 01:44 AM
you can save anything . I know whats wrong with it if it blue grass sod . its real ez 2 fig out just think about it for a min ill give u a hint time of year

Smallaxe
11-14-2008, 08:46 AM
Poor drainage and too much water. You guys are going into your rainy season now too aren't you?
Does the ground ever freeze there and get covered with snow?
Does the grass stay green all winter in Portland?

tamo
11-14-2008, 01:13 PM
Poor drainage and too much water. You guys are going into your rainy season now too aren't you?
Does the ground ever freeze there and get covered with snow?
Does the grass stay green all winter in Portland?

Yeah, we're starting to get dumped on rain wise so the drainage is only going to get worse.

The temps will occasionally dip below freezing and we might be a quick dusting of snow but it never sticks longer than a day.

Yes, healthy lawns stay green all winter here.


Hole in One, the sod is a rye blend. any ideas?

I'm going to talk to my seed guy today to talk about it

ICT Bill
11-14-2008, 05:46 PM
Yeah, we're starting to get dumped on rain wise so the drainage is only going to get worse.

The temps will occasionally dip below freezing and we might be a quick dusting of snow but it never sticks longer than a day.

Yes, healthy lawns stay green all winter here.


Hole in One, the sod is a rye blend. any ideas?

I'm going to talk to my seed guy today to talk about it

I would explain to her that the sub soil is not great for growing grass on, you will have to fertilize often at half the rate each time, it should be overseeded for sure and if you can aerate and get some compost on it too you should be in pretty good shape

How many times have we heard this same story "no I don't have the money do it the cheap way" six month later the site is limping along and you have to renovate. It would have been much cheaper in the long run if she had listened to you the first time.
I know several that will walk away from the jobs where the customer thinks they know best. the comment back to the customer is, if you won't take a professionals advice on how it should be done I'm not interested in the job, find someone else

soloscaperman
11-15-2008, 02:46 AM
I think its more then one of the symptoms. I think its a little her fault but don't state it bluntly like that customers hate that.

Tell her also that its like someone saying I want a cheap job on my hair style or dye. Sure certain places its cheap but the qaulity and expectations aren't going to be what you want it to be. My girlfriend went to a spot in the mall and it was like $35- $65 versus $200 and she wasn't happy with the results and the dye didn't stay as long as other's.

That or tell her its like doing a cheap engine job and when you go to drag strip bam the engines BLOWS!!! It's always a chance.