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Water Logged Turf!!!!

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by TridentLM, Aug 25, 2005.

  1. TridentLM

    TridentLM LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    Have been looking in this forum for info on my problem and seem to be seeing alot of good info but I have a pretty specific problem so if you can bear with length of this thread I will greatly appreciate any suggestions. Redirection to other threads addressing similar problem would be great too.

    BACKGROUND: Was notified today that I had been awarded the contract to maintain a senior's apartment bldg. When preparing my bid, I surveyed the turf and bed areas a couple weeks ago and then subsequently stopped by to see the effects of the landscape contractor progress I noticed lots of standing water in an areas where drainage was limited or non-existent. The landscape contractor finished laying sod and the whole project at least a week ago. Right now in the Willamette Valley of Oregon it has be hot and dry and so it makes sense to hit the sod with lots of water to get it going and established. The grass is extremely high and needs mowing bad.... The bldg is orientated on a N - S aspect with the problem area in the shade most of the day (East Side). Noticed the beginnings of mushrooms in the turf and days are obviously shortening.

    CHALLENGE: Am not sure this is usual protocol, but when the property manager called to say my quote had been accepted it was conditional on the owners approval of my turf mowing quality here the next couple days. So I stopped by tonight to see how high the grass was....well in some places it was approaching 6 - 7" and others where the sod was last laid a more manageable height. But my main concern and actually this problem is multiple is that where the sod was laid first and is oldest the irrigation programming has literally created a swamp..... In at least two low spot the grass is beginning to die and the sod is like walking on a sponge.

    The way I see it how I approach this with the owner will either cost me this $570 month maintenance contract or he'll respect my professional recommendations.

    The bldg interior in the process of being completed, and it will probably be a couple more weeks before seniors start moving in.

    There is no way I can mow these wet areas without seriously damaging the turf.

    This is how I see it...
    - Explain problem to owner and mow areas of turf that are not going to get messed up because of over watering.

    - Get irrigation plans and programming schedule and apply rules of irrigation management. Securing the zones where I have standing water until it drys out and then adj the sch to irrigate the correct amount. I can't help but feel that the root of the problem, INADEQUATE DRAINAGE SYS will impair my ability to irrigate these turf areas effectively.

    The weather is dry here with temp in 80' and 90's, what is the rule of thumb on when to mow turf that is soaked and not grossly damage it?

    Thanks for taking the time to read this problem sorry it took so long explain the problem.

    I have as references Sunset's "Western Garden Book" and "Turfgrass Management 6th ED"
  2. jerryrwm

    jerryrwm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,274

    I would suggest that you address the issues of the drainage and irrigation as soon as possible and before you do any mowing or trimming on the property. Take the owners or manager around and point out the problem areas and arrive at a solution before you begin.

    As far as mowing soaked sod, if you leave footprints while walking across it, you better not take that 500# WB or that 800# ZTR across it.

    Jerry R
  3. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    There is no way to mow that new soaked sod without damaging it .
    Fiqure out where the irrigation controller is located(usually in a maintenance shed)and read the instructions to run each zone on manual,
    run each zone and look to see what areas each zone waters ,
    then shut off and turn controller to next zone and run that and so on untell you find out what zone # waters your soaked area.
    Turn that zone OFF for a week and see if it dries out enough to mow then back on after mowing but for less zone run time and fewer days.
    YES let the owner know and have the contractor replace any sod he damaged by putting too much water on it with no drainage and not staying long enough to correct any watering problems with the sod he just installed.
    Or just have the owner call the landscaper that installed the sod to come back out and fiz HIS problem.
  4. sildoc

    sildoc LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,925

    I cant tell you how many times I see this with mid summer installs. Especially in Oregon where dang near all the valleys West of the Cascades are a big Clay pit. I know that fresh sod needs lots of water but, where the problem comes in to is 7-10 days after install when the clay underneath topsoil has finally saturated to the point it only drains .1-.2 inches per day max. Most watering is at .1-.2 per day.
    Cut watering in these areas for 4 days. at day 4 start checking to see moisture content. after you feel it is able to be mowed without damaging the turf, mow. wait one more day and set a 3-4 day water schedule at a rate of .35 of what type of turf is recomended. I am guessing 3 way rye was used if it is comming from JB or one of the other sod farms up there in the Wilamette Valley. So at a rate of 1-2 inches per week recomended it would actually be right at 7/8 of an inch needed per week to keep turf watered properly but not over watered.
    I am guessing right now on the type of system but probably 1800 series rb with vans. with 1.25 mainline . 3-5 min every 3rd day should be just about right with a tight monitoring of how hot it gets.
    Good luck up there.

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