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View Full Version : Sod laid end of Nov - any chance in heck??


DA Quality Lawn & YS
12-02-2009, 01:18 AM
Guys,

Had a gas utility rip up a portion of my lawn to install a line to a new house across the street. I took the sod out in advance, and promptly reinstalled it the very day the work was complete (the contractor packed the dirt back in good with a jumping jack, so hopefully settling wont be too extreme). I laid a good layer of compost over the sodded area and raked it in, and watered the heck out of it.

Our soil does not have frost in it at all yet. However, end of this week, highs are looking to dip to upper 20's to freezing daytime, and lower 20's at night. I would guess within a couple weeks at least, the frost line will develop.

Any sliver of a chance at all that this sod might make it to spring? Anything I can do now to enhance its chances prior to permanent snowfall/super cold temps setting in? OR, if it does not make it, how do you recommend rehabbing in Spring (overseed the sod, take it out and seed, etc)

Thx,
DA

keepcuttin
12-02-2009, 07:48 AM
absolutely, I've laid sod in DEC before and come spring it was fine.

foreplease
12-02-2009, 08:50 AM
You can partially mulch it with compost or a sand-compost mix. This will help insulate depth of sod cut for a short time and give it that much more time to begin growing. Like other mulches, it will incur the surface drying, sparing the sod. That's what I would do. Leave 1/2 - 2/3 of grass blade length exposed above mulch level.

After that long thread how do you think they did? Do you have any during and after pics?

DA Quality Lawn & YS
12-02-2009, 09:45 AM
You can partially mulch it with compost or a sand-compost mix. This will help insulate depth of sod cut for a short time and give it that much more time to begin growing. Like other mulches, it will incur the surface drying, sparing the sod. That's what I would do. Leave 1/2 - 2/3 of grass blade length exposed above mulch level.

After that long thread how do you think they did? Do you have any during and after pics?

I did do a nice compost topdress, thanks for the insight. I could even do a little deeper one as per your advice......

I actually do not have any during photos, as I was too scared to look outside when the pipeline contractor was doing the work. I went out to get the mail when they were nearing completion, and the foreman asked me what I did with the sod, and that they would lay it back in for me if I brought it out of my garage. I was shocked to say the least. The crew packed the dirt all back in with a jumping jack so settling will be at a minimum. They then put the sod back in, and did a decent job of it. I did apol. to them for being so ademant last week, and thanked them for doing a good job. I will get an after pic sometime today and post.

Now, I just hope that sod somewhat takes for next season.....

NattyLawn
12-02-2009, 10:09 AM
Seaweed helps a lot with rooting. When I lay sod I apply greensand/seaweed/humate mixture underneath and never had any rooting issues. It doesn't help you now, but it will for the future.

DA Quality Lawn & YS
12-15-2009, 12:59 AM
Sorry guys, no after pics of the sod install. The area in question is now under about 8" of snow and probably won't re-emerge until March. Hopefully it will green up and not brown out....

RigglePLC
12-15-2009, 11:34 AM
Ya know DA,
that brings up a good question. I have noticed that around here in Michigan the grass often stays green right up to the first snowfall--about the first week of December. After that, if you dig down to the grass it is still green all winter. And then the snow melts, and then it turns brown. How come? Does this happen in your town. Green under the snow--turns brown in spring --and then greens up when temps hit about 60. Green up is about April 15 around here. How do professional ball fields keep it green in early spring for those early season opener games? And some types of sod green up much later than our ryegrass/bluegrass lawns.

Smallaxe
12-16-2009, 05:55 AM
That's a very good question.

My guess would be, that the blades are filled with anti-freeze(K) and preserved as a result. When the anti-freeze is released in the spring, not 'every Blade" survives.
K, however, is a motile nutrient, in that is moves readily, from the blade, to elsewhere in the plant.
From there, it grows new blades.
So, for a while - on some lawns, you see more brown than green.

It's scary when you see, all brown, in the spring, even though it usually comes back.
Am I close to right? :)

RigglePLC
12-16-2009, 07:36 PM
I would think heavy concentrations of sugar and various sugar-like compounds would prevent the freezing. Perhaps the brown is really caused by dessication due to the frozen soil during spring warm spells.

I am sure the athletic field managers have some experience with this.

Dig down--is your grass still green where you live? Does the snow protect it? Is is warmer under the snow? Soil frozen yet?

integrityman
12-16-2009, 09:44 PM
I think you will be fine. Did you add any starter fert when you laid the sod?

Smallaxe
12-17-2009, 04:36 AM
I would think heavy concentrations of sugar and various sugar-like compounds would prevent the freezing. Perhaps the brown is really caused by dessication due to the frozen soil during spring warm spells.

I am sure the athletic field managers have some experience with this.

Dig down--is your grass still green where you live? Does the snow protect it? Is is warmer under the snow? Soil frozen yet?

We've been below 0, alot since the snow came. 14" was the official for the region, and the ground was frozen several inches down, b4 it came.
Often times, with this much snow, the frost will come out of the ground. I remember many times getting stuck in the snow after sliding off the trail and spinning up warm fresh dirt and bright green grass.

We're supposed to stay above 0 now through Christmas so I should be able to observe the ground under the snow in various locations.

BTW, your idea of spring warm spells with frozen soil causing dessication and brown spots, makes sense to me.
Another thought that comes to minds is, ice, on the surface after spring thaw. We use to always be concerned about losing the alfalfa, if we saw ice on the fields. Snow breathes, ice suffocates.

foreplease
12-17-2009, 07:55 AM
DA I think your sod will be fine. Might need to tamp it lightly in spring and give it a spot fertilizer boost.

I don't work on any professional athletic fields but several high school and youth fields. Admittedly, they are not very demanding with regard to early green up, but I do what I can to make the fields look better for their home games than they do for the away games.

These are my general observations and opinions, not peer reviewed research.

Riggle, I think you are right about desiccation, snow cover, and frozen soil. Plants can dehydrate in late winter/early spring if photosynthesis begins while water uptake is not possible or greatly reduced due to the soil being frozen.

Southerly wind can really dry turf out quickly in mid-spring.

Soil temp and grass variety seem to be the keys to spring green up. The ryes green up earlier than the blues. Of course soil temp is influenced by air temp. We have less bright sunshine in Michigan than probably any other state in the country. The fields I see that are within 1/4 mile of Lake Michigan green up much later in the spring than the ones even a mile farther inland. While the big lake makes our winter temps milder (but brings huge amounts of snow), soil and air temps near it are cooler in the spring – often ten degrees or more, depending on time of day.

Clearly, spring color and growth has much to do with how things are put to bed in fall. Some factors we can control, others are up to nature. If color is good yet when snow cover arrives, it will likely be good when the snow melts but could deteriorate thereafter. Fall fertilization produces a more reliable spring green up with less hard to deal with somewhat useless top growth. Temp and moisture still drive it. It seems to me that things pop best here when we have had a relatively dray warm spring and we get that one “warm” rain. When that happens we can almost watch things get greener.

I use turf covers on one pair of soccer goals I work on. In the fall, depending on expected temps and the game schedule, I use them between games to enhance germination and healing in the goal boxes that take a beating. It is a fair amount of work to put them on and remove them for games but the definitely make a difference in color and, more importantly, growth rate in these areas. The forced growth is somewhat soft and susceptible to damage. I try to build in a hardening off period of about a day. Sometime around the end of October I put them down for good (until spring). The impetus is the turf healing and filling in more than the color. Ideally, the entire field would be one shade of green. Boys season ends late and girls season begins early so anything that can be done to promote healing helps. Snow mold can be an issue beneath the covers though. I have some pictures posted in a couple threads in the Sports Field Management Forum.

Lastly, mowing frequency, height, and direction all have something to do with spring green up on athletic fields. I like the last cut in the fall to be shorter than the height used throughout fall, which is usually shorter than the summer height. In the spring, I cut low the first time or two. This seems to help make the best use of the sunlight we do have in terms of increasing soil temp. I have not recorded or maintained any data but I spot check it with a soil thermometer. I get 3-5 degrees additional temp on a short term basis. I mow earlier in the year and more often than most homeowners. I use a rotation of four directions and double-cut occasionally.

If you had the crew and resources to completely cover a yard or field with the turf covers I think you would have great spring color earlier than your neighbors.

DA Quality Lawn & YS
12-23-2009, 12:58 AM
I think you will be fine. Did you add any starter fert when you laid the sod?

You know, you are right, underneath that foot of snow is some nice, crispy GREEN grass. I am going to continue to observe as the snow comes off in March, to see if/when a brownout occurs.

Integrity - I did not put down starter fert when I resodded, I did compost pretty good though. Wish I would have thrown some starter down, tho. Too late now

DA Quality Lawn & YS
04-29-2010, 04:39 PM
I pulled out this old thread....

To the original post - I resodded a small 10-10 area late last November, just before winter hit. Had to do this to repair a dig hole a gas company had to do for a new build home across the street (long story not happy about that to say the least). I composted the new sod well, watered it in good, and sent it into winter.

Fast forward to this spring. The sod took amazingly well! Greened right up along with the rest of the lawn. No signs of any die out at all, and we have even been fairly dry here. I applied some starter fert a few weeks back over this area and it looks like it will be fine. Maybe this will give others confidence that you can late sod here in the upper Midwest and get good results.