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Zoysia Sod Didn't Come Out..15% Loss

Discussion in 'Florida Lawn Care Forum' started by ed2hess, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,190

    Ok we thought we would cash in this winter on the big sod replacement business in our area. And now we got one yard that will probably have to have 15% replaced. It looks like one of the four pallets had some problem because 75% of the yard is coming out fine.

    None of the 2'x1' pieces are completely dead but you can tell that it will never be 100% green. Some pieces are better than other in the lot that
    apparently come from one pallet.

    Question great gods of grass ....how long do we wait for it to come out. Our temperatures are running around 75F. Definitely got plenty of rain. I now know that Zoysia can get fungus and go white but this dont seem to be that kind of problem. It has been planted over a month. Won't sod have to sit a long time in the winter to go bad:confused:
  2. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,064

    Zoysia sod is very easy to kill. Even if it is cooler. Damp conditions make it even easier to kill. 75 and lots of rain is the worst I can think of. I want it 80 and dry. I control the water. Better change that sod out because the $%^& will hit the fan when the customer notices the dead grass. Once sod goes past a certain point it is gone. I will take a little yellowed, but any brown is a reject.
  3. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,190

    Well they noticed already. Our crewchief made a entry on logbook that some of the sod did not look good...we missed that point. And I took the left over sod and put it on our HOA for free and it doesn't look very good either. We controlled the water on the HOA. So can I assume it is a very bad idea to lay Zoysia in the winter? No wiggle room on this one we will be pulling up pieces and putting in new when we can get some green stuff.
  4. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,064

    Even in tropical Hawaii, I counsel against establishing lawns in the "winter" months. For one thing, sod growers have problems supplying because of the lack of sun and excessive rain. Sod laid down does not grab the ground as fast as it would if it were 80 or higher in the day and sunny. Sod also is not as likely to grow out of problems such as being yellowed from being stacked too long.

    Your crew chief has sharp eyes. He probably saw the pallets that were stacked for too long before being laid. Maybe part of your order consisted of previously cut sod that the grower had to get rid of.

    I remember being involved in a landscaping job where bad zoysia sod was laid. It was in the winter months. The homeowner was fit to be tied. The sod had to be replaced. Even then, it was a long time before that lawn looked good.
  5. bug-guy

    bug-guy LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 971

    check the ph in those areas possible try some 8-10-10 (Lecso plant fert) in the spots.
    winter is not my choice for sod replacement, and zoysia is slow to recover from damage.
  6. memphis.landscape

    memphis.landscape LawnSite Member
    Posts: 140

    Before I would replace it I would put down a starter fertilizer.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,190

    That was my first impluse but this dope customer doesn't have irrigation so the longer we wait to replace the tougher it will be for them to get it established. I will take some pictures. I layed some St Augustine and had some complaints but used a Scotts starter and it looks real nice now.
  8. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,638

    A couple of things that nobody has mentioned.

    1. You said your temps are in the mid 70's. I would guess your soil temps are not at 80 degrees to 95 degrees which is warm season turfs ideal growing temps?
    If it is not then you have to remember it could very well be that the zoysia has not woken up from its dormancy of winter assuming you had a cooler winter even though some looks better than the rest.

    2. Has the sod pieces that do not look "grabbed" ...if they have I would look at number 1. I would however advice against trying to shock it out of it with fertilizer myself considering zoysia has fungal issues I am not sure I would want to put it under undo stress to try to bring it out of it.

    3. Has routine checks been done to ensure that the property owner did properly irrigate after the installation? You said he/she does not have irrigation .....so did they manual water to ensure that it got established and who followed up to ensure they did it properly if you are giving them a gurantee on the installation? If they did how did they determine how much was enough water? How did they determine it was ok to stop watering manually? I inform people that they may return to their normal water schedule of twice a week when and only when 90% of the sod has grabbed and gives good resistance when it is trying to be lifted up...so how did this owner determine the time to stop watering the zoysia and that it was established?

    4. I doubt that it is a cold related issue. We lay sod here all year too. Last year I had a new customer who had his entire lawn layed in the summer from a referral he got right before I picked him up as a client. The sod was horrible and never took right and the guy had to have pretty much the entire lawn redone.
    I advised since we were in the heat of summer to avoid the higher pest and disease pressures we do a fall install if we were going to re do his lawn for him. He waited until late October to agree with the price of the install. We generally would be ok with this time frame of install but it was a early early cold winter for us and we got our first freeze on November 4th......the day of the installation. The St. Augustine sod went down green and was great looking that day......got frosted that first night. Two days later the entire lawn was brown and burnt. I remember freaking out because even though I do not offer any kind of gurantee, I felt bad things worked out the way they did. The turf was watered right after being laid and again the next morning to get it up to temp as soon as we could. We had a freeze every night for the next 4 nights or so. We did not water unless the blades started showing signs of stress. The lawn came out .........wait for it ....wait for it......PERFECT. It is really a outstanding lawn now and had no dead sod patches.
    The point of that whole story....St. Augustine is less tolerant of cold than Zoysia...with Zoysia being the most cold hardy of any of our warm season turfs....so I doubt it being a winter install had anything to do with its success.

    Take pictures......if the sod is concentrated in one area...have you inspected for the possibility of mole cricket damage as being the reason for the poor turf quality of coming out of dormancy?
  9. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,190

    Well these are some bad pictures but.....the watering thing was complicated by two big rains about a week apart. I don't know what they did between teh two rains. I have monitored them since the last rain over 8 days ago and I don't see any water put on. We are now around low 80F. We used some soil/organic mix to fill the cracks and the first two pictures shows tha we must
    have got tooo much on top in some places. The dead stuff hasn't grabbed yet and there appears no sign of green on some pieces.

    The only good part is about 85% of the lawn is good enough that we
    won't need to replace it. They left the grass they had last year die
    during the drought. I would bet 100 dollars they lose this grass regardless of whether we replace some. Normally we would not pay for the sod only labor but this is in the area of a large HOA account we mow....so we will replace.





  10. Patriot Services

    Patriot Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,870

    How shady is that spot? Secondly how long and how many leaves were on this area? Zoysia is slow to establish even the middle of summer.:usflag:

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