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New Floratam Issues

Discussion in 'Florida Lawn Care Forum' started by yaya81, Jun 16, 2011.

  1. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Irrigating 1" per day (or more) on any turf, new or not, is ridiculous. New sod needs to be irrigated to keep the sod moist throughout the day ..... no more ..... no less.
  2. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,000

    I don't think I ever set irrigation to put down an inch per day, every day on new sod. 1/4-1/2 inch divided into two waterings yes. Fail to put down a portion of the water in the middle of the day and you will be looking at cooked grass. Until sod puts its roots down in the soil, keeping it damp, but not flooded is its lifeline.
  3. jvanvliet

    jvanvliet LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,944

    How did you lay the turf? Did you clear all the growth underneath, what are the soil conditions (clay, coral, rock, dirt, etc.)? Did you level with some organic material or top soil, stagger to pieces (like a brick wall) or is it edge to edge, did you compress the turf with a weighted roller?

    I have found Floritam is a fussy strain as it is and hyper sensitive to a lot of chemicals, don't fertilize until its established (I prefer plain old St. Augustine for sun & Seville for the shaded areas). Also most turf I've seen in South Florida have grubs & fungus coming off the pallet. Yours looks dry, it's in full sun; I really don't think 1" at a time is enough water. The guy that says only 1/4" isn't getting it into the ground- FL recommends 1.5" for established turf, I agree with the gentleman who is calling for 2 or 3", you got to get the water below the turf to encourage the roots to seek it out.

    I usually tell my homeowners to water a lot, and when they think its enough, water a little more; certainly for the first two weeks. I'd say lift a couple of pieces at random and look for grubs, see if the soil underneath is wet, check if you see root growth. If the piece resists being lifted, that means it is starting to root - leave it alone. Look for fungus both on top and bottom. Treat for the pests as necessary, if after watering the ground beneath the turf isn't soaked, you'll need a lot more water.

    I don't think it's too late if you get at the problem ASAP.

    There'll be a lot of opinions and text book answers, yours looks dry like most respondents indicated.
  4. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,638

    Why is it that I have read several times on this subject the advice of putting down a fertilizer? With the amount of water being applied as suggested by many - what are the chances a granular fert is going to be used by the new turf and not leached through the soil? I am alone on this thought? I can see fert doing more good once the sod has grabbed and is on its way to establishment.
  5. Milorgonite can be put down when new sod is laid so it will help out during the establishment process. As far as other ferts, I don't put down until after 9-12 weeks depending on time of year.
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  6. bugsNbows

    bugsNbows LawnSite Member
    Messages: 170


    #!. Roots don't grow through soil seeking water. They grow in response to where the water is. In other words, repeated shallow watering yields shallow root systems. Once turf has become established, it's best to water less frequently, but water deeply. One important goal must be to develop a deep, penetrating root system to aid in overall plant vigor.

    #2. I have also seen plenty of sod (fresh from the field) with insect and weed issues. It's just the way it is.

    #3. Applications of a high Phosphorus "starter" type fertilizer to newly laid sod is usually rather beneficial. The quicker you obtain root initiation and "tack down" the better. Additionally, rolling new sod after "lay-down" is beneficial.

    #4. Hunting billbugs are fast becoming a real issue on new (and older) zoysia grass stands. Empire (variety) has been especially hard hit in our area. Beetle larvae (grubs) are also showing up more on St. Augustine grass and causing some real damage.

    #5. Zoysia grass is not a miracle grass or a "drought" grass. It has it's own issues. Once established, it will however rebound from drought injury much better than St. Augustine grass. This is partly due to the presence of both stolons and rhizomes (from which to re-grow). St. Augustine has only stolons.

    Gotta go. Bye Bye.
  7. jvanvliet

    jvanvliet LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,944



    "#!. Roots don't grow through soil seeking water. They grow in response to where the water is. In other words, repeated shallow watering yields shallow root systems. Once turf has become established, it's best to water less frequently, but water deeply. One important goal must be to develop a deep, penetrating root system to aid in overall plant vigor."

    So if you water briefly and the water doesn't get below the roots, you'll have a shallow root system and if you do water deeply, the roots respond by seeking the water underneath since there is no water available from the topical application because it has evaporated?

    So then, continued shallow watering will develop a highly water dependent lawn susceptible to infestation and drought damage while less frequent and deep watering, while cutting the grass to 4", (as opposed to 3 or 3.5 like most LCO's do down here) will develop a deeply rooted, drought and pest resistant vibrant St. Augustine lawn?

    I think we are saying the same thing differently. I don't disagree with applying a Phosphorus "starter" type fertilizer, but I would'nt put it down immediately, the stuff is stressed enough by the time it gets here, even though I'm only one hour from the Glades turf farms.

    Anyway, I probably wouldn't recomend people putting new sod down in the middle of the summer in a drought with watering restrictions looming.

    CHUCK'SLAWN LawnSite Member
    Messages: 81

    Ric was the only one on the right track. It is take all root disease. Water makes it worse apply heritage G. This disease is in almost every pallet we lay.
  9. yaya81

    yaya81 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Thank you for all the replies. I forgot about the post I made on this forum and just got back to it. I think partially fell victim to hiring a large lawn care company of which the technician on my yard was not very competent....but that is another story.

    The brown areas still have some green runners underneath so hopefully once the fungus is gone it will come back over the next couple months.

    To answer some of the comments/questions of other posts....

    - The reason the lawn in the back yard was replaced was due to the fact we purchased a short sale which was vacant for several months.... thus the back yard was nonexistence. It was not being replced due to my neglect. The side yard you see in the picture that is green was not replaced as it was not badly damaged udring the vacant period and used a fertilizer to keep it healthy. I mow the yard once a week and I don't "scalp" it once a month..... it just happens the pictures were taken towards the one week mark since the established grass was mowed.

    - To prep for the new sod, I sprayed the area to be replaced with Roundup three separate times over about a one month period.... always a minimum of a week or so between sprays. The area that was soded was mostly dirst with some weeds and wild grass.

    - After making sure everything was dead, I raked the majority of the yard and used a tiler on two areas that had a lot of wild grass etc (which was dead). This removed all the dead weed/grass etc.

    - Next raked the yard to level it.

    - The sod was delivered to my house and was layed about six hours after delivery. I was told the sod was cut that morning....

    - Immediately after laying the sod I watered a good inch and "walked" the sod since I did not have a roller.

    I had replaced a pallet worth of floratam in my front yard in November and used the exact same method. The sod did great. Of course it was November and was much cooler. However, the sod this time was from a diffrent company so I think that had a lot to do with it.

    BTW - I have been in contact with the sod company and they had several customers with problems that received sod around the same time as me.... they actually stopped prdering sod from that sod farm and are now using a different farm.

    So I think I got a combination of poor sod and a fungus that will take some time to recover from. We will see. The sod company did offer to give me another pallet of sod to replace some of the areas that are really bad. We will see how it recovers.

    Again thank you for all the advice. I learned alot.
  10. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    I knew it was fungus, just not which one. But I wasn't going to fight with all the experts who claimed it was drought stress. It is the educated Eye that separates the Pro from the novices

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