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View Full Version : Newly laid SOD, please help.


rmwensel
06-11-2010, 05:31 PM
Hello everyone, first time user here.

I just had SOD installed 2 weeks ago from today. I had a contractor install the SOD. He came in prior to laying the SOD and tiled (3-4 inches) and composed the areas that would be receiving SOD.

I've never been a grass guy so I can't tell you exactly what type of grass it is. I'm assuming it is a tall fescue grass. The SOD was grown by http://www.woodwardturf.com/.

Anyways, I am starting to worry about the grass in certain areas where it seems to be drying out. The first week the SOD was in I was trying to lay at least an inch a day, or determined by moisture of the soil beneath the SOD. These areas started appearing towards the second week of growth. I tried pulling on the SOD and it seems to be well rooted. It sounds very dry walking on it. These areas have been getting water just as much as the other areas of the yard. I have been trying my best to keep it water and moist. The weather here in VA has been in the 90's the past 2 weeks, with a couple of cooler days.

What is going on and what can I do to repair these areas? Is this grass lacking water, nutrients, diseased?

And secondly, I don't know much about weeds. I'm starting to see some lighter green stuff pop in, is this crab grass? If so, what can be done about it. I know you can't really use any kind of weed control on new SOD for at least a year (or that is what I've read on several websites).

I'm sorry if I haven't laid out enough information, but I can only tell you what I know (or think I know).

Here are pictures of the lawn bellow.




http://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w185/svtwireeater/Grass/IMG_0636.jpg
http://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w185/svtwireeater/Grass/IMG_0635.jpg
http://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w185/svtwireeater/Grass/IMG_0634.jpg
http://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w185/svtwireeater/Grass/IMG_0633.jpg
http://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w185/svtwireeater/Grass/IMG_0632.jpg
http://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w185/svtwireeater/Grass/IMG_0631.jpg
http://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w185/svtwireeater/Grass/IMG_0630.jpg
http://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w185/svtwireeater/Grass/IMG_0629.jpg
http://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w185/svtwireeater/Grass/IMG_0628.jpg
http://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w185/svtwireeater/Grass/IMG_0627.jpg
http://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w185/svtwireeater/Grass/IMG_0626.jpg
http://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w185/svtwireeater/Grass/IMG_0637.jpg

ajslands
06-11-2010, 05:38 PM
Some spots it's already dead! Have you been watering 3 times a day?
Posted via Mobile Device

JB1
06-11-2010, 05:41 PM
Water water water

rmwensel
06-11-2010, 05:46 PM
I was watering it in the morning and mid evening. I 've been using a Orbit 360 sprinkler on a tripod. Each area I moved the sprinkler would get a 30 minute watering session. During the peak of the day, the corner area is pounded by the sun. I usually tried focusing on that spot once I seen it has been looking a little sick.

ajslands
06-11-2010, 06:00 PM
You gotta water more than 30 minutes! Water it for like an hour or so and water it at like 4 or 5 am
Posted via Mobile Device

turfcobob
06-11-2010, 06:17 PM
Was the sod rolled after it was installed? To remove air pockets you need to roll the sod.
Also deep watering is better than frequent watering. Grass if it can get enough water will stay rooted in the soil it started in and was transported in. You deep water to force the roots to grow into the new soil under it. Too frequent watering will allow the roots to stay right in the transport media.

Your new green growth looks a whole lot like your neighbors light green growth.

rmwensel
06-11-2010, 06:41 PM
Ok, for the areas that look dead, what can I do to repair them? :)

Unfortunately I've only been home to water the lawn because I am on medical leave for work. I will be returning in 1 week (week 4 for the SOD). Will it still require intensive watering? Once I return to work, I would only be able to water it in the late evening time unless I get a timer. The problem about that is, the water pressure in my town isn't too good. I have to move the sprinkler around about 5-6 times to cover everything. Running links and multiple sprinklers probably wouldn't work well.

The guy who laid the sod said the the first week, once a day in the evening for about an hour would be fine, and every other day afterwards, and less frequent as the weeks go buy. Of course I read online on many places that the first week required more than once a day watering, which I tried doing. How much more time do I need to be paranoid about the SOD dying out?

bigslick7878
06-11-2010, 07:55 PM
Ok, for the areas that look dead, what can I do to repair them? :)

Unfortunately I've only been home to water the lawn because I am on medical leave for work. I will be returning in 1 week (week 4 for the SOD). Will it still require intensive watering? Once I return to work, I would only be able to water it in the late evening time unless I get a timer. The problem about that is, the water pressure in my town isn't too good. I have to move the sprinkler around about 5-6 times to cover everything. Running links and multiple sprinklers probably wouldn't work well.

The guy who laid the sod said the the first week, once a day in the evening for about an hour would be fine, and every other day afterwards, and less frequent as the weeks go buy. Of course I read online on many places that the first week required more than once a day watering, which I tried doing. How much more time do I need to be paranoid about the SOD dying out?

Water water water, especially when it is 90 out in the summer time. An hour a day is not enough. The areas that are brown will come back with enough water.

Go to Lowes and buy a digital timer that will come on twice a day and set it for 2 hours at a time. When the grass greens up again you will be good to go. If you get a good rotating sprinkler you can set it up right where the hose is in the one picture on that corner, and have it hit the side, the whole front and probably it will reach across the driveway to the other side too if you get a good one.

Even the grass that is semi green along the side of the house is starving for water, you can tell by the color. It is a few hot days away from drying out like the other bad spots.

Also when you have neghbors with terrible grass and weed liek that sone on the left, that stuff will try to creep in to your lawn especially when you get dry conditions. That is why you have some clumps here and there trying to pop up of the light green, weed love dry hot hard compacted soil conditions.

rmwensel
06-11-2010, 08:21 PM
Guys, I appreciate the quick responses!

I will try to keep more water on it. I am home for 1 more week. Hopefully that will help it out. The sprinkler I have is pretty good, it's the water pressure that makes it hard.

Also, when should I aerate?

ajslands
06-11-2010, 08:27 PM
Aerate in like November or October and in April.
Posted via Mobile Device

rmwensel
06-11-2010, 08:30 PM
So was anyone able to identify the type of grass?

bigslick7878
06-11-2010, 09:27 PM
So was anyone able to identify the type of grass?

Tall fescue.

Aerate in Mid -Late September depending on what the weather is doing at the time. Once daily temps start consistently dipping below 85 you are good. In your area that could be in the middle of Sept or near the end of the month, it varies.

FLCthes4:11-12
06-11-2010, 10:00 PM
tall fescue will not come back. one seed equals one plant no spreading like other turf grass. water, water, water. the sod is like dollar bills laying out there drying up and flying away.

ajslands
06-11-2010, 10:05 PM
You should put a sprinkler system in!
Posted via Mobile Device

rmwensel
06-11-2010, 11:14 PM
You should put a sprinkler system in!
Posted via Mobile Device

If it was in my budget I would have. Having a irrigation system installed was quite a differnce then just having SOD installed.

I just wanted to make sure the grass rooted good. I wasn't looking to have a golf course turf. I just wanted a yard with decent grass that was alive. I am selling my house so I wasn't looking for a long term investment. I basically wanted something to make it look better than what it was until it was off my hands.

If I showed you what it looked like before you will laugh. :) Let me find a few pictures of before.


This was the yard a few weeks ago,

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v120/wireeater/Vibe/IMG_0536.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v120/wireeater/Vibe/IMG_0537.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v120/wireeater/Vibe/IMG_0538.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v120/wireeater/Vibe/IMG_0539.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v120/wireeater/Vibe/IMG_0540.jpg

bigslick7878
06-12-2010, 02:02 AM
tall fescue will not come back. one seed equals one plant no spreading like other turf grass. water, water, water. the sod is like dollar bills laying out there drying up and flying away.

Yes it will.

New shoots will pop up as it is getting watered you can literally sit there and watch if you want.

At least the TTTF I get does.

unit28
06-12-2010, 08:10 AM
two things I do on new sod
1. Apply starter fert to finished grade before laying sod.
2. Apply root stimuator after sod is laid

Watering also depends on your soil. What will the absorption rate be on your soil? Looking at the before picture I'd say it is very compacted and the soil was dead too. Add to much water and the lawn will look dry. Are your dead spots in low lying areas on the new sod?

OrganicsMaine
06-12-2010, 08:18 AM
Doesn't look like you were very good at growing grass before the sod went down LOL. I agree with everyone here, water, but I would say once per day in the morning, and for an hour. You can also spot water the driest areas....again, water to saturation, not just the surface. You will need to water a lot to get the dormant areas to come back, but unless they have died you can salvage them.

Good luck!

cgaengineer
06-12-2010, 09:00 AM
Wouldn't bermuda had been a better choice with those kinds of temps or is the growing season to short in VA for bermuda?

Kiril
06-12-2010, 09:10 AM
This is definitely a water issue, but you can ignore most all the recommendations here. Water enough to keep the sod and soil moist, not saturated. If your temps are in the 90's that may mean twice a day ... but only enough to keep the sod moist. Why people recommend watering times without knowing the first thing about the application rate or soil type is beyond me. For example, if I were to lay sod on a clayey soil with a fixed spray irrigation system with good DU and temps in the 90's, I would run the irrigation for 3-6 minutes twice a day (late morning and late afternoon).

Keeping your soils saturated will only extend the time it takes for the sod to get established. You should strive to keep your soil at or near field capacity until the sod is established. That dead area of sod in the corner may or may not come back. Only thing you can do is keep it moist and hope for the best. If you don't see it green up in a week or two, you will need to replace it.

IMO you really should have spent the money on an irrigation system because your current method of applying water will not cut it, especially if you are in a situation where you do not get frequent rain (eg. like a good shower once a week). Hate to say it, but chances are the lawn will end up looking like your neighbors after a couple of years, and you will realize you should have installed irrigation.

OrganicsMaine
06-12-2010, 10:11 AM
Kiril, the sod is going into at least its 4th week....should be on its way to establishment. The dormant/dead areas are what need to be saturated. It takes a lot more water to bring the lawn back than it does to keep it green.

Also, since the sod has already put down roots...according to the homeowner, then wouldn't it be time to switch to an every other day watering schedule and begin to ween it off that much water? At least once the lawn is brought back.

ajslands
06-12-2010, 10:14 AM
You should power rake the dead areas! :laughing:
Posted via Mobile Device

Kiril
06-12-2010, 10:41 AM
Kiril, the sod is going into at least its 4th week....should be on its way to establishment. The dormant/dead areas are what need to be saturated.

Roots do not grow well (if at all) in a saturated soil. After 4 weeks one would expect the sod to be somewhat rooted into the native soil, but that doesn't mean it is, especially if it hasn't been watered properly and/or the soil was not prepped correctly.

It takes a lot more water to bring the lawn back than it does to keep it green.

I don't agree. That said, you can't expect to practice deficit irrigation when trying to bring turf out of a drought induced dormancy.

Also, since the sod has already put down roots...according to the homeowner, then wouldn't it be time to switch to an every other day watering schedule and begin to ween it off that much water? At least once the lawn is brought back.

There is no hard and fast rule when to start backing off on the water. I normally will start backing it off roughly two weeks after install until I hit the final desired scheduling. How long that takes varies widely.

RigglePLC
06-12-2010, 10:46 AM
Remwenzel,
If we look at the shady areas (where there is less heat), they look OK, the side yard for instance. Probably on the north side of the house also. North side dries out last. Water more minutes per day. Doesn't matter what time: morning, noon or night. Buy a battery operated timer, about 20 to 40 dollars at Home Depot, (AA batteries extra). Use two, if you need them. Attach two hoses each. To get that dry corner,use an impulse sprinkler and set for 90 degrees, set it in the corner, front right and throw the water back at the house. You don't need much pressure, but you have to run this type of sprinkler longer, about a half-hour a day in this situation. Other areas may need half-circle or full-circle, and since they cover double or triple sqfeet, you need to run them longer. Estimate the amount of water by placing a coffee mug in the grass. You are trying to run the sprinkler long enough to cover about 4 pennies stacked on top of each other, each day.
And yes the light green is probably crabgrass. Call a professional, a small owner-operated business will always give you the best service. He can give you the benefit and advice from his experience. And with today's products, he can get rid of the crabgrass. Kill it when it is young for best results, otherwise it will get a lot worse. Fertilizer will stimulate more rapid growth.

Later on--once established with roots--there is a risk of disease, like brown patch fungus. Avoid watering after 5 pm. Avoid fertilizer during hot weather.

Let us know how it works out in Louisa, OK! Sell that house! Get it green and put the pics on Ebay.

bigslick7878
06-12-2010, 12:53 PM
Wouldn't bermuda had been a better choice with those kinds of temps or is the growing season to short in VA for bermuda?

He is too far north for bermuda. It would be dormant 5 months out of the year.

rmwensel
06-12-2010, 01:14 PM
Doesn't look like you were very good at growing grass before the sod went down LOL. I agree with everyone here, water, but I would say once per day in the morning, and for an hour. You can also spot water the driest areas....again, water to saturation, not just the surface. You will need to water a lot to get the dormant areas to come back, but unless they have died you can salvage them.

Good luck!

I wasn't growing the grass. When we had the house built the contractor did a horrible job at seeding and nothing really came in. We weren't too concerned about it because we knew eventually we would get someone to come in and fix it. The yard had a lot of stone pushed across it when they were laying down the base for the driveway/side walks.

unit28
06-12-2010, 06:02 PM
I bet when they laid the sod .........
the top sod off the pallet was laid by the phone junction box. That
{to me} would have been an ideal starting point for throwing it down.
It could have been dry and going dormant. Now it's the farthest from the hose and probably got the least of water.
Depending on your sprinkler, I would even say it was missed from the arc being on the backside.

But anyway, sod on top of a pallet is always trash if it's not used after a fresh cut.
Try some root stimulator like I suggested to get the grass roots growing.

jnt412
06-14-2010, 12:17 PM
I work in Va. Near Fairfax and we are in store for another very hot day. Like most advised, you need to water more. If you don't have a water system just buy a water timer, extra hoses and a couple of "Y" Splitters to connect to your outside water connection. You may need a Water Timer for your front and backyard..

rmwensel
06-18-2010, 06:00 PM
Well I went out and got a sprinkler that at least covered the front portion of the yard/curb and a timer last week. I have it set for every 6 hrs, unless it's overcast/rain. I still need to buy 1 more timer for the other faucet and 2 small sprinklers to cover the side portions of the yard for when i'm not home to move it around.

Anyways, it's starting to look a lot better. I also cut it for the first time on Sunday. I took it down to about 3 inches. Since then it looks like it has come back looking even better. Today marks day 21 since installation.

Here are a few pictures of when I took my son out on his birthday present this morning. These images are straight from a point and click camera.

http://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w185/svtwireeater/IMG_1086.jpg


(I forgot to mow the curb portion you see on Sunday so I figured I'd just hit it next time)
http://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w185/svtwireeater/IMG_1091.jpg

rmwensel
06-21-2010, 11:37 AM
So I figured out what the other "grass" is that is growing into the tall fescue. It is yellow nutsedge (not sure if someone already stated that). It's spread out in some areas, and there are a few spots (near the curb) that have quite a bit. It's amazing how quickly this stuff grows. I mowed the grass yesterday evening and this morning it was already almost an inch taller.

Any advice on how to control these weeds?

ArTurf
06-21-2010, 02:40 PM
The way I see it there are 3 basic elements needed for a quality lawn-decent soil, CONSISTENT water and sunlight(amounts vary according to variety). I see this so many times, people lay down sod and it fails over time because they do not have a irrigation system. It is very difficult to water thoroughly and evenly with the setup you have mentioned. In my opinion you have put the cart before the horse when you did not install an irrigation system. I understand cost is a factor but the money you spent on sod was not spent wisely without a way to water it properly. I install irrigation as well as maintaining the lawn afterwards so I have a pretty good idea how all factors work together. In my part of the country if you desire a nice lawn it goes without saying you must have an irrigation system.

bigslick7878
06-21-2010, 06:48 PM
So I figured out what the other "grass" is that is growing into the tall fescue. It is yellow nutsedge (not sure if someone already stated that). It's spread out in some areas, and there are a few spots (near the curb) that have quite a bit. It's amazing how quickly this stuff grows. I mowed the grass yesterday evening and this morning it was already almost an inch taller.

Any advice on how to control these weeds?

Wait another few weeks and then you can spray it, it is a typical hot summer annoying weed not a big deal.

I would also spray your neighbors garbage grass/weeds about 3 feet over the property line to minimize it spreading into your nice new grass.

bigslick7878
06-21-2010, 06:52 PM
The way I see it there are 3 basic elements needed for a quality lawn-decent soil, CONSISTENT water and sunlight(amounts vary according to variety). I see this so many times, people lay down sod and it fails over time because they do not have a irrigation system. It is very difficult to water thoroughly and evenly with the setup you have mentioned. In my opinion you have put the cart before the horse when you did not install an irrigation system. I understand cost is a factor but the money you spent on sod was not spent wisely without a way to water it properly. I install irrigation as well as maintaining the lawn afterwards so I have a pretty good idea how all factors work together. In my part of the country if you desire a nice lawn it goes without saying you must have an irrigation system.

Very few people in the Mid Atlantic have irrigation. Heavy watering is only needed about 3 months out of the year in these parts.

A $50 sprinkler setup will do the trick for the time being and to get the new sod established.