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New Sod not Rooting....Tips/Advice ?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Dogowner, Sep 30, 2004.

  1. Dogowner

    Dogowner LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    Need a little help from the experienced people as this is my 1st sod install.
    Location: Northen CA, Clay soil, mid 80's temps last week or two.

    Problem: New Fescue Sod not rooting around edges and some areas of 1,200 sqft lawn. Most areas have rooted, but I'm worried about the edges and small strips that are just basically laying there.

    Installed new sod on 9/18, watered new sod after every 200ft was installed. Once completed, watering 20 minutes each session (pop up sprinklers), 4 times a day (twice in morning, afternoon, once early evening). Hand watered edges to makes sure they were getting waterred. Stuck screwdriver into soil and at least 6" deep, soil was always moist.

    So I'm getting close to the 2 week mark and I'm worried that I have sections of sod that are basically not dying, but just laying and not ROOTING to the soil?

    What should I do ?
    1)Just wait and keep watering alot?
    2) peel back sod and try to break up soil underneath so sod roots penetrate soil easier?
    3) try to roll over sod with hand roller so it has better contactwith soil ?

    Prep Work roto tilled about 4-6", spread and leveled around 2" of veg mix top soil, then rolled with lawn roller. Installed Sod and rolled with only 1/2 filled lawn roller at very end.

    Thanks and here is 2 pics just in case.

    grass is growing.jpg

    Not Rooting.jpg
  2. DennisF

    DennisF LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 1,381

    Be patient. Sometimes new sod can take 3 to 4 weeks before rooting. In clay soil it can even longer. Keep watering and don't let the roots dry out.
  3. Tom Musselman

    Tom Musselman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    My guess is too wet. I noticed a mist head. Is the turf being irrigated with mist heads or rotor?

    If mist heads: 20 minutes 4 times a day (depending on nozzle, could be putting out upwards of an inch or more of water each day. If rotor, at 20 minutes 4 times a day, could also be too much water. A general rule of thumb we use is 5 hours of run time for rotors = ~ 1" of water. At this rate and frequency you could be applying over an inch per week. This time of year we target 1/2 to 3/4 inch per week with no rainfall.

    Again, my guess is too much water. Does the sod smell anaerobic??

    Only problem is the sod looks healthy from the photos.
  4. Dogowner

    Dogowner LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    Thank you for the info, yeah I figured I was just being impatient. I'll keep watering and start to go longer and more infrequent sessions.

    It just appears to be the areas around the edges where I couldn't get the rototiller too. And yes the CLAY out here is really hard !! Oh well.

    The sprinklers are not rotors, just standard pop up sprayers. The sod is growing and rooting in about 85% of the lawn (see above for other 15%) so it appears healthy. I'm new to this so I'm not sure what Anerobic (i probably misspelled) smells like ? What smell is similar?

    I was hand watering the stip in the photo almost every day so maybe it is being overwatered.
    Appreciate the help !
  5. i_plant_art

    i_plant_art LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 558

    i think ur watering too much ... too much water and watering everyday will cause shallow roots due to the fact that they dont have to "look or search" for water b/c it it abundant. that would be why its not rooting so fast. also to get a good root will take more than the 2 weeks you have water normally at 2 weeks you should be able to see the roots if you pull it up but it should give some resistance to it.
  6. Tom Musselman

    Tom Musselman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    Anaerobic means it has no oxygen and will have a rotten smell. Like when you pull out a plant that was planted to deep (you said you have clay so you probably know what I mean) and the rootball stinks, that's anaerobic. Usually too much water means that pore space is continuously occupied by water and not oxygen, resulting in anaerobic conditions and plant decline. Sometimes sod will not root (however usually show more decline than your photos) if the root zone has this kind of conditions.

    Mist heads , again as a general rule of thumb, put out 1" of water with 1 hour of run time. You are applying over 1" of water each day. Clay soils have infiltration rates of less than a 1/10 th of an inch per hour. Again my guess is too much water. The goal of irrigating sod should be keeping the roots moist, not wet. I have found that too much is much worse than not enough water.

    Cut back on your irrigation schedule to twice daily, in a.m. for 5-10 minutes and in the afternoon, for the same time. I would also consider not watering for the next couple of days to let things dry out.
  7. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    This is true. However, the term too much is a bit vague in this case. You can't go by the time watered because different flows put out different amounts of water. It's how MUCH water is going down oer watering that counts. You want to penetrate the root system, and go just deeper than that. Keep the soild just below the root system moist. Too frequennt of shallow waterings will cause shallow weak roots. Too deep will either result in run off or water going too deep which is wasted. One thing I would STRONGLY recommend is a good fertilizer containing a generous amount of potassium. The only thing is, is that without knowing your soil workup, I don't know what type of potassium to recommend. Do you have a low PH? A high PH? If you have a higher acidity (lower PH than I would recommend a muriate of potash. If it's just the opposite of that, then I would recommend a a sulphate of potash. Regardless of what one it takes, the potash will certainly help the root growth - which is what you need here. Also, never apply more than 1 lb of actual potash per M on any single application.
  8. stxkyboy

    stxkyboy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 222

    Its not rooting because your pulling it up every day to check :blob3:
  9. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    DEFINITELY too much water!! Small spray heads, depending on nozzles, can put out up to 3" an hour. 2" to 4" a day is way too much water. ¼" to ½" a day would be more appropriate. If you're gonna reduce the frequency but lengthen the times, you're still going to be drowning it.

    The worst damages to the landscape are #1 too much water and #2 too much fertilizer.

    Agree with Runner on getting some P on it. When sodding, you should actually fertilize UNDER the sod, to promote rooting - starter fert tilled in a couple of inches before laying sod. You could roll back the non rooted areas and rake in some starter fert. BUT NOT TOO MUCH, or you're commiting the second worst sin against your lawn.
  10. Coffeecraver

    Coffeecraver LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA.
    Messages: 793

    This statement is the problem

    [SIZE=3[COLOR=DarkGreen]]"It just appears to be the areas around the edges where I couldn't get the rototiller too. And yes the CLAY out here is really hard !! Oh well."[/SIZE][/COLOR]

    If you could not till the areas you should have broke up the clay by hand the sod will not root in those conditions.

    As long as you water the edges it will live,but as soon as you let them dry out
    they will decline.

    The water is running off underneath the sod.
    Keeping the sod wet will keep it alive,but it won't make it root.
    The sod needs loose dirt to root,starter fertilizer layed on top of the unbroken clay will sit there and not help you at all.

    Break the clay under the edges,lay the sod back down and water well.

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