Lawn repair

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Mow Money Lawn Care, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. Mow Money Lawn Care

    Mow Money Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 873

    A customer of mine had sod installed last summer as their house was being built. Half of the very large backyard did not take. I was tasked with finding the best option to repair it. We do not want to install new sod unless completely necessary. The customer reached out this winter, the temps have been below freezing for a while here in St. Louis, MO until recently. Since we missed fall and sod is a last resort, what would be your best option for repairing approximately 1/4 an acre of failed sod? It is quite bare and not just thick dead sod. I don’t have a picture to provide at the moment. I was considering spring aeration, overseeding and spreading a light dressing of compost. If I were to take any task other than sod, I am sure we can expect weeds. How long should we wait to treat the weeds? Thanks
  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,257

    Sod in the summer--is a bit of a risk if not irrigated. Since you did not mention irrigation--I suspect he was not able to water the back 1/4 acre. Do you mean bluegrass sod--fescue sod?
    My thoughts--without seeing the site.
    Sod would be best--and the moisture due to spring rains and cool temps should favor spring laying of sod.

    If not sod, I think you are on the right track for this spring. If the soil looks OK--and there is not much grass worth saving. A heavy raking or light tillage with a small tractor should loosen the soil one to two inches deep. Add starter fert. Sow a top-quality tall fescue with 10 percent bluegrass (for its self-repair attributes).
    Start immediately, if you can. Seed will absorb moisture. It will then emerge when the soil temps hit about 50. Water where possible--or hope for cool rainy conditions. New grass should be about an inch tall when the front half needs the first mowing.
    If you want to add some perennial rye--it will come up about 7 days before the fescue--impresses customer--but it does not do well later, when the temps hit 90 or above. Sow about 10 pounds of seed per thousand sqft--as the situation is not likely to result in 100 percent germination. Extra seed will help.

    Add additional fertilizer at about week 4 and week 8--to speed up the thickening growth.

    There is a possibility--that the sod had an on-pallet heating problem--was it fresh-cut that day at 5 am? Day before? Hot weather? Maybe it was dead before it was laid. Was it only the last 10 pallets? Talk to the sod farm; they can spot this quick. Not likely they would offer to replace it. But...

    Don't start until you buy your customer a long hose. And a sprinkler timer.

    Yes, plan on a weed situation maybe crabgrass, too. Plan to spray weeds at about 6 weeks--after the second mowing. You may need a crabgrass post-emergent like Drive (more than once).

    There is a good chance the new grass will not match the color and texture of the sod.

    It is almost too big for a soil topdressing. Labor cost is high.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018
  3. kevin_dreamlawnsva

    kevin_dreamlawnsva LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    Have you took a soil sample? Usually brand new homes or neighborhoods use crappy soil for grading.
  4. Mow Money Lawn Care

    Mow Money Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 873

    The property was irrigated but the power was going out in the neighborhood for some reason while they were building the new homes. I went out to monitor the lawn as it was installed initially. It was very wet and seemed to take. However, the high heat and irrigation not working was the demise. The soil is not great either. It is red rocky clay. That is why I wanted to topdress with a healthy soil. I proposed we sod as best option, then aerate, seed and starter fertilizer or an amateur option to spread seed before a snow.
    hort101 likes this.
  5. Mow Money Lawn Care

    Mow Money Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 873

    I need to revisit this topic as this job is coming up soon. There are some spots where there is dead sod smothering the lawn. Should I leave it there or aerate through it? I think it can help prevent weeds, but also prevent the lawn from becoming thick.

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