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  #1  
Old 12-06-2010, 08:31 PM
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Landscape Poet Landscape Poet is offline
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Laying St. Augustine in the Cold

Guys,


Here is the background. I have a client that wanted sod installed as chinch bugs destroyed a good part of his lawn this summer. He had some sod work done in the early spring before I picked him up and the contractor had did a absolute crap job ( loose seems, grass was yellow/orange with fungus) so he then called me.

Well i told him that I really thought fall and winter was the best time to install - so he held off. He called a couple of weeks wanting to know about sod - I went over and measured him up and gave him the numbers. He struggled with the numbers for a little while (which I can understand with Christmas right around the corner and it was more than what he paid for before) but he finally called a couple weeks ago and said go ahead.

So here is where the issues start and I need your experience if you have experience in FL with our sod or you have good knowledge about sod installation/soil mgmt etc.
So after receiving the call, I call my removal guy and schedule the removal. Removal happens a few days later ( last Wed.) . Removal goes well and gets complete, but the issue with completing the job last week was that the sod farm said the sod in the field they were cutting currently was not speck. So we asked when they would be in a good field and could deliver 10 pallets of good sod. We were told this week so we scheduled for drop today in the afternoon. Sod gets here and it is in great shape, looks very good.

Problem is that the weather conditions have dropped and it is currently going to be in the low 30's tonight and be in the mid to upper 30's for the next few nights with day time highs in the mid 60s and 70s over the next few days. My friend who is supervising the install and is a Master Gardener called his instructor at the extension who said it should be fine to still install the sod and it would be fine as long as we did not get long periods of freeze, for example a week or two like last week.


My question is this - what can I expect from the sod. Will it just take longer for the sod to grab? This is what I expected, but any other concerns?

How about watering it? I usually leave the customer instructions to water daily or as needed until it has soaked through the layer of sod and reached the soil underneath. I am thinking with the current conditions it might be best for him to water lightly first thing in the morning to bring the sod back up in temp after the low 30's at night and then allow it to bask in the FL sun all day long rather than try to water several times a day to get it constantly moist like you would with a spring or summer install.

So what are your all's opinion on watering? How long it will take for the sod to grab etc. Your input is appreciated.

Thanks,

Michael
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  #2  
Old 12-07-2010, 11:10 AM
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Patriot Services Patriot Services is offline
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I'm still laying sod. I just get real picky if the sod is dry, thin or bad color I refuse the whole lot. I usually up the starter fert too so it can store up as much as possible before it goes dormant. My opinion on the water is continue several times a day for 2 weeks. I feel the very dry air we have now evaporates a lot before it gets taken up. Just my way but it has worked every year until the day temps stay below 50.
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  #3  
Old 12-07-2010, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patriot Services View Post
I'm still laying sod. I just get real picky if the sod is dry, thin or bad color I refuse the whole lot. I usually up the starter fert too so it can store up as much as possible before it goes dormant. My opinion on the water is continue several times a day for 2 weeks. I feel the very dry air we have now evaporates a lot before it gets taken up. Just my way but it has worked every year until the day temps stay below 50.
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Thanks for your thought Patriot. I do not use a start fert on my installs unless the company I partner with does it and I am not sure what they use, I think the put down something like a 0-0-22 if I remember right, but not sure...but the traditional starter fertilizer I stopped a couple years ago on installs where they do not have a service because the extension stopped recommending it. I believe their thoughts were that it would essentially just go to run off because of the excessive watering on new sod and the leaching. I have just taken that approach and not had any issues. On a few installs I have had clients insist that I put down a starter fertilizer....I have put down milorganite -and to be honest - I do not see a huge difference in the establishment time of the lawns treated in the past and the ones now.
Check with your extension office and see if they say the same about not fertilizing new sod too...because if they do you could save the expense and save our aquifers
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"the art of survival is a story that never ends"

Providing Lawn Services, Landscape Installations and Solutions and Sod Services in the Oviedo Florida Market

If you aspire to a six-figure income, don't get advice from someone making $18,000 a year!
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  #4  
Old 12-08-2010, 08:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Geist Yard Works View Post
Thanks for your thought Patriot. I do not use a start fert on my installs unless the company I partner with does it and I am not sure what they use, I think the put down something like a 0-0-22 if I remember right, but not sure...but the traditional starter fertilizer I stopped a couple years ago on installs where they do not have a service because the extension stopped recommending it. I believe their thoughts were that it would essentially just go to run off because of the excessive watering on new sod and the leaching. I have just taken that approach and not had any issues. On a few installs I have had clients insist that I put down a starter fertilizer....I have put down milorganite -and to be honest - I do not see a huge difference in the establishment time of the lawns treated in the past and the ones now.
Check with your extension office and see if they say the same about not fertilizing new sod too...because if they do you could save the expense and save our aquifers
I think our window for laying sod just closed. A lot of good info in this thread albeit a little harsh in the wording. I have taken to only doing complete sod jobs. If they just want throw and go, they're not for me. Soil and irrigation analysis are not options. "Pouring" water on is a flat ******ed statement and was probably the reason the first install failed. The problem usually lies with the HO that doesn't get it.
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  #5  
Old 12-07-2010, 11:35 AM
RAlmaroad RAlmaroad is offline
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Michael:
Pour the water to the sod for at least two weeks. Light watering will not get the roots wet to grab the soil underneath. Roll it of course. I just put down a pallet the first of November. It is beautiful now with watering every day for about two hours the first two weeks. Of course with the sand it needs that amount. Remember to water deep. Light watering will evaporate and do nothing for the roots. Should be fine. In SC, the sod farm that I deal with, cuts about every day so someone is putting it down.
Roy
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  #6  
Old 12-07-2010, 12:40 PM
Kiril Kiril is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RAlmaroad View Post
Michael:
Pour the water to the sod for at least two weeks. Light watering will not get the roots wet to grab the soil underneath.
This is categorically untrue. Roots need oxygen to grow. Keeping your soil and sod saturated is the best way to extend the time it takes to get the sod established, not reduce it. Watering sod on clay, or even pure sand, for two hours is simply ridiculous, and is a tremendous waste of water even in the summer heat. Then there are the nutrients you are leaching out of the profile due to the potentially massive amounts of water you are applying. Yikes

@Michael

With sod, you obviously need to keep it moist throughout the day. Depending on the soil it has been installed on, the amount of water to keep that soil at or near field capacity, which is the moisture level that will be the most conducive to fast establishment, will vary tremendously. For example, sod on clay. The irrigation required to keep the sod moist throughout the day will be more than adequate to keep the soil moist, if not saturated. For sand or a sandy soil, you may need to water more frequently to keep the soil moist, but at this time of year and environmental conditions (say temps not exceeding 70 F), I would think once a day, around mid day, would be adequate, regardless of the soil type. The run time depends on what type of sprinklers, the efficiency of the system, and the soil type. That said, the only way to be sure is to monitor your soil moisture for the first couple of days, and add/subtract from the run time as needed to keep the sod moist, and at the same time providing enough water to keep the soil at or near field capacity.

In my soils at this time of year, rotors will get about 5-20 minutes, sprays 3-5 minutes for a relatively efficient system. Even at these short run times the soil will get and stay saturated, especially with the additional rain inputs.

I agree with the freeze assessment. As long as you don't get an extended freeze, overnight temps in the high 20's shouldn't generate that much concern. If you expect there will be a potential for an extended frost/freeze in your area, it might not be a bad idea to do a short irrigation towards the end of the day, and again in the early morning. If there is a certain chance of freeze damage, then you are probably looking at doing the same as would be done for freeze sensitive crops, although that may not be an option.
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  #7  
Old 12-07-2010, 09:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiril View Post
This is categorically untrue. Roots need oxygen to grow. Keeping your soil and sod saturated is the best way to extend the time it takes to get the sod established, not reduce it. Watering sod on clay, or even pure sand, for two hours is simply ridiculous, and is a tremendous waste of water even in the summer heat. Then there are the nutrients you are leaching out of the profile due to the potentially massive amounts of water you are applying. Yikes

@Michael

With sod, you obviously need to keep it moist throughout the day. Depending on the soil it has been installed on, the amount of water to keep that soil at or near field capacity, which is the moisture level that will be the most conducive to fast establishment, will vary tremendously. For example, sod on clay. The irrigation required to keep the sod moist throughout the day will be more than adequate to keep the soil moist, if not saturated. For sand or a sandy soil, you may need to water more frequently to keep the soil moist, but at this time of year and environmental conditions (say temps not exceeding 70 F), I would think once a day, around mid day, would be adequate, regardless of the soil type. The run time depends on what type of sprinklers, the efficiency of the system, and the soil type. That said, the only way to be sure is to monitor your soil moisture for the first couple of days, and add/subtract from the run time as needed to keep the sod moist, and at the same time providing enough water to keep the soil at or near field capacity.

In my soils at this time of year, rotors will get about 5-20 minutes, sprays 3-5 minutes for a relatively efficient system. Even at these short run times the soil will get and stay saturated, especially with the additional rain inputs.

I agree with the freeze assessment. As long as you don't get an extended freeze, overnight temps in the high 20's shouldn't generate that much concern. If you expect there will be a potential for an extended frost/freeze in your area, it might not be a bad idea to do a short irrigation towards the end of the day, and again in the early morning. If there is a certain chance of freeze damage, then you are probably looking at doing the same as would be done for freeze sensitive crops, although that may not be an option.

Kiril,

I appreciate you time and consideration in putting your thoughts into this questions. You know that I respect your knowledge and appreciate all that I have learned through your sharing on this site.
I appreciate you thorough input here.
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"the art of survival is a story that never ends"

Providing Lawn Services, Landscape Installations and Solutions and Sod Services in the Oviedo Florida Market

If you aspire to a six-figure income, don't get advice from someone making $18,000 a year!
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  #8  
Old 12-07-2010, 09:51 PM
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fl-landscapes fl-landscapes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Geist Yard Works View Post
Kiril,

I appreciate you time and consideration in putting your thoughts into this questions. You know that I respect your knowledge and appreciate all that I have learned through your sharing on this site.
I appreciate you thorough input here.
uh oh, you may have a man crush going on
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  #9  
Old 12-07-2010, 10:08 PM
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Landscape Poet Landscape Poet is offline
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Originally Posted by fl-landscapes View Post
uh oh, you may have a man crush going on
No Man Crush... I just respected his professionalism. He gave his opinion ....and from the man that probably has the most education on this site in regards to our industry.....no lectures about not knowing as much as he did (being a real professional) ...he just gave his input, one of which I asked for, because he obviously knows what he is talking about.
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"the art of survival is a story that never ends"

Providing Lawn Services, Landscape Installations and Solutions and Sod Services in the Oviedo Florida Market

If you aspire to a six-figure income, don't get advice from someone making $18,000 a year!
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 12-07-2010, 05:12 PM
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Ric Ric is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Geist Yard Works View Post
Guys,


Here is the background. I have a client that wanted sod installed as chinch bugs destroyed a good part of his lawn this summer. He had some sod work done in the early spring before I picked him up and the contractor had did a absolute crap job ( loose seems, grass was yellow/orange with fungus) so he then called me.

Your Customer should of called a real Professional with a L&O Pesticide License to fix the problem.



Well i told him that I really thought fall and winter was the best time to install - so he held off.

Once again the customer got the wrong advice. Fall and Winter are our dry season and while Sod will grow that time of year, Summer rains and heat have better success on establishing sod.

He called a couple of weeks wanting to know about sod - I went over and measured him up and gave him the numbers. He struggled with the numbers for a little while (which I can understand with Christmas right around the corner and it was more than what he paid for before) but he finally called a couple weeks ago and said go ahead.

So here is where the issues start and I need your experience if you have experience in FL with our sod or you have good knowledge about sod installation/soil mgmt etc.
So after receiving the call, I call my removal guy and schedule the removal. Removal happens a few days later ( last Wed.) . Removal goes well and gets complete, but the issue with completing the job last week was that the sod farm said the sod in the field they were cutting currently was not speck. So we asked when they would be in a good field and could deliver 10 pallets of good sod. We were told this week so we scheduled for drop today in the afternoon. Sod gets here and it is in great shape, looks very good.

Problem is that the weather conditions have dropped and it is currently going to be in the low 30's tonight and be in the mid to upper 30's for the next few nights with day time highs in the mid 60s and 70s over the next few days. My friend who is supervising the install and is a Master Gardener called his instructor at the extension who said it should be fine to still install the sod and it would be fine as long as we did not get long periods of freeze, for example a week or two like last week.


My question is this - what can I expect from the sod. Will it just take longer for the sod to grab? This is what I expected, but any other concerns?

How about watering it? I usually leave the customer instructions to water daily or as needed until it has soaked through the layer of sod and reached the soil underneath. I am thinking with the current conditions it might be best for him to water lightly first thing in the morning to bring the sod back up in temp after the low 30's at night and then allow it to bask in the FL sun all day long rather than try to water several times a day to get it constantly moist like you would with a spring or summer install.

So what are your all's opinion on watering? How long it will take for the sod to grab etc. Your input is appreciated.

Thanks,

Michael
Micheal

In Answer to your PM to me about this thread. Best advice I can give you is to stick to Grass Cutting and leave Lawn Care to those with the Certifications and knowledge to do the job correctly. In this case you have caused the customer more expense with a second sod install when a Real professional might of been able to save the first Sod install. You also advised the customer to install Sod at a unfavorable time of the year causing great expense of Irrigation cost, in a state where water costs like gold. BTW not to say the present cold weather would have been avoided.

If you real want to become a professional then Sign up for the Georgia Turf Grass study program. A local guy bought that program and I have seen it and feel it is very good. BTW I believe it only costs around $ 400.00 which is less than I paid for one semester for college classes.
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