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  #1  
Old 05-30-2012, 01:38 PM
Yardley Yardley is offline
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Location: Jersey City, NJ
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Month old sod turning brown

Hi All, I had sod installed a month ago and I am seeing a lot of brown. I will post some pictures below for reference. Before installing the sod, the ground was tilled and started fertilizer was applied, most of the roots grew in by the second week and the sod looked great for the first two to three weeks but now its not looking so great and I am wondering what to do.

I should mention that I have done a few things that might have not been healthy. After about two weeks I started to walk on it often to finish working/planting on the rest of the yard. I also had to walk on it to dig and install mesh around the perimeter because I had skunks digging under the neighbors' fence and tearing up the sod. I have also been using an older reel mover which is kind of dull to mow the lawn, reason being I borrowed it for the time being.

The pictures where it is browning, is the shortest I have mowed to date. I have been lowering the setting on the reel mower gradually, I didn't cut the grass at all for the first two to two and a half weeks. I also have a problem with squirrels, they have been digging into the ground non stop, I have holes every single morning.

Any suggestions? It has been raining a lot here in NJ so I wasn't watering the lawn as much the first few weeks. I have never felt the dirt completely dry when touching it so I don't think its under watered.

This was taken right after installation:


This was about a week ago:


About a week ago:


Now:


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  #2  
Old 05-30-2012, 04:49 PM
agrostis agrostis is offline
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Man, that grass isn't getting enough sunlight and air movement. Look at your picture's, shade and wall's on 2 side's, a fence on the 3rd. Inconsistent watering on new sod can be real bad. I hope you haven't/don't fertilize that grass, it is under stress and does not need it.
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  #3  
Old 05-30-2012, 07:10 PM
Yardley Yardley is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agrostis View Post
Man, that grass isn't getting enough sunlight and air movement. Look at your picture's, shade and wall's on 2 side's, a fence on the 3rd. Inconsistent watering on new sod can be real bad. I hope you haven't/don't fertilize that grass, it is under stress and does not need it.
Thanks for replying. About the sun, it gets a good amount of sun, mostly from the east and south and there is actually a lot of wind back there. The wall on the left is north and my house is west, where I was standing when taking the pictures. There was actually a large mulberry tree that was blocking the sun from hitting the first half of the yard, like you said as you can see all of the shade in the first few pictures. I recently cut off all of the branches and now the backyard gets full sun.

Its weird that now that the rain has stopped and that I cut the tree providing more sunlight I'm having more problems. What should I do?! Treat for fungus/grubs/both? Water less/more?
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Old 05-30-2012, 07:41 PM
Yardley Yardley is offline
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Just want to mention that I just went outside and touched the ground in a few places and it feels moist, not super moist but not dry. I haven't watered it today at all since it rained last night.
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  #5  
Old 05-30-2012, 08:18 PM
agrostis agrostis is offline
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You have air movement problem's. You can't wall off a area like that and expect to get enough air, and that is more important than you might think. What kind of grass is that ? How close is that tree to that area ? Can you post picture's with a wider perspective ? It's hard to say what the problem is exactly without being right there. Don't expect instant result's because you trimmed a tree, grass can take month's to react. I am all for watering less but with new sod you need to get some good root's going first. Is that sod knitted down firmly ?
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Old 05-30-2012, 08:52 PM
Yardley Yardley is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agrostis View Post
You have air movement problem's. You can't wall off a area like that and expect to get enough air, and that is more important than you might think. What kind of grass is that ? How close is that tree to that area ? Can you post picture's with a wider perspective ? It's hard to say what the problem is exactly without being right there. Don't expect instant result's because you trimmed a tree, grass can take month's to react. I am all for watering less but with new sod you need to get some good root's going first. Is that sod knitted down firmly ?
Uploading pics now. The sod is knitted down firmly, I know what you mean about the air but there is always tons of wind back here, it sometimes splashes the water back onto me when I'm watering the lawn.
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  #7  
Old 05-30-2012, 09:08 PM
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Landscape Poet Landscape Poet is offline
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Not a cool season turf guy but I am going to take a guess and say with the rapid decline it is most likely some sort of fungal disease since it went from nice looking to that in a weeks time. I would assume you had watered it in good to get the sod established and have continued and your area is now getting warm evening and day temps which allow fungal disease to prevail.
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  #8  
Old 05-30-2012, 09:12 PM
Yardley Yardley is offline
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Here's a link to a bunch of pictures, I don't know what kind of grass it is, I tried asking the supplier and they weren't very helpful. The last picture shows the tree before I trimmed it, grass was healthy looking at this point about a week ago.

http://s23.photobucket.com/albums/b372/crortega9/grass/
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Old 05-30-2012, 10:32 PM
agrostis agrostis is offline
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For your area a fescue,bluegrass and ryegrass mix is called for. I saw fescue and rye in your picture's so that's probably what you have.

Picture #8 show's the mulberry tree. That should't be problem, yet.

Picture #12 show's what i mean about air movement. And i am talking about the air from the top of the ground up to 12 inch's. That grass is blocked off from all 4 side's. That's a problem.

Picture #7 shows some grass blade's. Those 4 mark's on that blade you are holding came from the blade's of your reel mower. Those blade's and your bedknife are not cutting the grass, they are just bruising it. That's a problem.
Did you know that you should be cutting at 3 1/2 inch's and that the height of cut should be going up to 4 inch's for the summer ?

The ryegrass is going naturally dormant now. The fescue will go dormant in July. That will help make your grass look bad. The blue go's on but it doesn't grow here so i can't help you there. You put all of that together and it is not helping your cause. The first thing i would do is get your neighbor to remove whatever that 18' barrier is by the chain link fence. Sharpen that mower and mow at the right height. Water very sparingly, .15 -.20 of H2O a week. Don't fertilize at all until September. Don't use any weed & feed ever. Good luck.
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Old 05-30-2012, 11:09 PM
Yardley Yardley is offline
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Jersey City, NJ
Posts: 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by agrostis View Post
For your area a fescue,bluegrass and ryegrass mix is called for. I saw fescue and rye in your picture's so that's probably what you have.

Picture #8 show's the mulberry tree. That should't be problem, yet.

Picture #12 show's what i mean about air movement. And i am talking about the air from the top of the ground up to 12 inch's. That grass is blocked off from all 4 side's. That's a problem.

Picture #7 shows some grass blade's. Those 4 mark's on that blade you are holding came from the blade's of your reel mower. Those blade's and your bedknife are not cutting the grass, they are just bruising it. That's a problem.
Did you know that you should be cutting at 3 1/2 inch's and that the height of cut should be going up to 4 inch's for the summer ?

The ryegrass is going naturally dormant now. The fescue will go dormant in July. That will help make your grass look bad. The blue go's on but it doesn't grow here so i can't help you there. You put all of that together and it is not helping your cause. The first thing i would do is get your neighbor to remove whatever that 18' barrier is by the chain link fence. Sharpen that mower and mow at the right height. Water very sparingly, .15 -.20 of H2O a week. Don't fertilize at all until September. Don't use any weed & feed ever. Good luck.
Thanks for taking the time to look at the pictures. I'm going to buy a new reel mower this coming weekend. The grass really started to brown after the last time I cut it when I set the blade hight real low.

Just to verify what you said, for my grass type I shouldn't go any lower than 3 1/2 inches? And I should keep it at 4" in the summer? Gonna have to look for a reel mower that goes that high if that's the case.

I actually installed the barrier along the fence. I had to do this because I had skunks digging under the fence and completely tearing up/making huge holes in the sod. I was able to stop them but now I still have squirrels digging holes every single day. This sod had been a struggle.
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