New Seville is Dying

New Seville is Dying

jaywaters – posted 21 June 2004 08:06

I am also new to this forum and have been searching around on the Internet for a place where I can hopefully get some guidance and answers. I live in Central FL and 7 weeks ago I had 3/4 of my yard resodded with beautiful Seville St. Augustine. It was dark green, healthy sod that was freshly cut from dark black soil. We were given strict care instructions on what to do for the next month. We were told NOT to overwater because it was easier to ADD water if dry, than TAKE AWAY water if too wet. Needless to say, we babied it. Around Memorial Day weekend, we had a brutal heat wave in the upper 90’s for over a week straight. We started going outside hand watering the dry burnt patches. After the heat wave, we noticed that most of the beautiful green blades had all died and looked like HAY. There were only a few “sprouts” sticking up that had started turning yellow.

We were told NO fertilizer for 6 weeks and I made sure nothing was put on it while it was still so new. Never mowed it either for 4 weeks. Ok, now I’m in a big mess. The new sod looks terrible. About half of it has died off and lays dry and hay-like, while there are new shoots popping up sporadically. I put Ironite on it last week thinking that maybe it was “shocked” coming from a beautiful nursery in dark soil to my sandy ground. Nothing is happening. Are there any suggestions out there? I was told perhaps to put on Miracle Grow, but of course would only test a spot to see if it worked before I did the whole yard. Sorry for such a LONG post, just that I wanted to get as much detail to you. I appreciate any and ALL suggestions. Thanks in advance!

ted – posted 21 June 2004 19:23

need to know how much water you “didn’t” put on it….

seed – posted 22 June 2004 05:22

When St. Augustinegrass dies (turns straw-colored) there is nothing that will bring it back in the affected areas, except that it can regrow horizontally from the surviving green areas.

The instructions that you were given were vague and misleading. While most people tend to overwater new sod, in terms of both a amount and frequency, and in the summer this can lead to disease problems, there should have been more specific instructions.

The soil underneath the new sod must remain constantly moist, to facilitate root penetration. That includes being moist before the sod is planted.

Depending on weather, watering can be extended to every other day, however, sufficient water must be applied uniformly at each application to more than replace the loss to the atmosphere, which can be 1/4 inch or more per day, in some cases. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but unless an irrigation system has been calibrated through a cup-catchment test https://turfgrass.com/water/ there is no way to know how many minutes that is.

If it is hot and dry, daily watering may be necessary. I do not see the need for watering any more often than once per day; some people like to syringe the new grass to cool it off, but the grass doesn’t take up water through the leaves. Once the roots get into the ground, which they should within 7 days, the sod is out of the critical period and can be watered every 2-3 days.

There is nothing wrong with holding back on fertilizer for 6 weeks. I would probably mow the new sod within 1-2 weeks as soon as it had roots into the ground.


jaywaters – posted 22 June 2004 17:36

Sorry, I realize I didn’t give details on our watering instructions. We were told to water every other day 1 inch of water. I had a few rain gauges around so I could measure how long it took for 1 inch (one hour per zone). We kept to that schedule for a few weeks and even added extra water on off days if it looked dry. We also hand watered dry patches. We watched out for fungus. Like I said, it looked pretty good for a few weeks and then we noticed it getting brown. Now, it seems that the beautiful green grass from the nursery has all withered away and died out and it looks like “sprouts” are left. It’s patchy yet looks good from a distance… BIG distance, ha!

After the Ironite treatment 2 weeks ago, the blades are now green, but I don’t see anymore NEW growth anywhere. I have mowed it several times. What is there, seems to grow, but does not fill in. Should I try Miracle Grow? Sorry if I sound a little UNintelligent, but this is my first time with sod and I am from the north. We never had those kinds of problems. Ha!

seed – posted 22 June 2004 20:21

jaywaters, based on the additional information, your lawn got enough water, more than enough. During the first few weeks, when your lawn was looking pretty good, it must have had a well-established root system. The inch of water every other day your lawn continued to receive was more than sufficient, under the circumstances. Now I do not believe your lawn lacked for water, and do not believe that the “dry burnt patches” were caused by lack of water. Something else, possibly a fungus disease, was probably operating. If that were the case, then efforts to hand water were reasonable attempts to treat the symptoms, but not the disease.

It is difficult to diagnose the symptoms and chronology over the Internet.

The consequences nevertheless appear to be very dismal for your lawn.


jaywaters – posted 22 June 2004 21:22

Phil, I know there is a list of fungus that could attack St. Augustine, but do you know of any direction I should be looking? Is there anything at Lowe’s or Home Depot that I could be starting with? Thanks for your help. Jay

jaywaters – posted 22 June 2004 21:45

I’ve heard that Daconil is good for fungicide. What do you think?

seed – posted 23 June 2004 06:13

Pythium is a fungus that has sometimes been blamed for rapidly killing new sod. If you have this problem again (and probably the damage is already done) then you should look on the labels of whatever is available to see if Pythium is controlled. It is best to treat a small area at first.


ted – posted 23 June 2004 20:03

i would recommend having a pro over to look at the lawn. the fungicides you could buy at a hardware store just won’t fix the problem. it sounds like you had enough water. st. aug. sod can be a little different for someone coming from up north. good luck

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