New Sod dying….

New Sod dying….

confounded – posted 06 August 2001 09:45

I had new sod (bluegrass) planted two months ago in Northeast Illinois. It was given plenty of water daily for the first ten days and every other day after that. It got more than 1″ per week and I have a hefty water bill to prove it. The lawn has an overall look of brown with a little green mixed in along with dead gray patches. The areas of green have not grown long enough to cut yet. The weeds are 18″ tall. In the beginning it seems as though the grass was starting to hold in some areas and couldn’t be pulled up, but four weeks later there were still many vary large patches where the grass could be pulled up. Now it seems to be holding but it looks awful and looks worse every week. The browning and lack of growth stops at the property line. The neighbor’s lawns look great. When planted it got 10-10-10 fertilizer. After a month of pleading the landscaper finally came out to view it and agrees it looks awful and has had enough water but has no idea why it’s so bad. Water doesn’t make it better. It is so bad it’s obvious there’s something wrong from looking from the end of the block. The lawn service, who will cut it if it ever grows, says it was probably “bad grass”. What is bad grass? How do you identify it? Can this be saved? Could it have been cut too thin and not have had enough roots to grow and support it’s leaves? Pease Help!!!!!

tdkx – posted 19 August 2001 08:10

Hello, Since I am really bored this morning and no one has answered you yet I’ll give it a shot. Probably the reason you have not received any responses is because it is very difficult to determine the causes of the problem without seeing the site on which the sod has been laid. There are too many variables for a concise answer. I am assuming that you have had great heat recently in your area.(I’m in St. Paul) This kind of heat will quickly destroy any unestablished sod. When you describe “gray patches”, it sounds like disease. Newly sodded areas are very prone to disease. Since I can’t see your lawn I can’t tell you what disease might be there or if there is any disease at all. Generally, it is some type of fungus that attacks new sod but bacterial diseases can occur as well. If you are certain that you have watered enough then you might consider an application of fungicide. Unfortunately for you, it is too late for this procedure now. Other types of problems might be insects. This year was a very bad year for white grubs. To see if you have these just pull up the dead turf and look for any white grubs in the soil underneath the turf. Large numbers of birds are usually present on the afflicted turf because they like to eat these grubs. If this is the case then apply insecticide. There could be problems with soil compaction as well. Compacted soil is a really big problem for newly laid sod. Was there any soil testing done before the sod was laid? What was the procedure for preparation of the soil before it was covered with sod? What was the rate of application for the 10-10-10 fertilizer?(10-10-10 is a good starter fertilizer) What type of soil do you have? Are the dead areas in places where is too much shade?(KBG loves full sunlight) If shade is problem try using a fine fescue instead of KBG. If the sod was “bad sod” then the landscaper should have recognized this and refused it. For best results with sod, the sod should be cut, transported and laid all in the same day. Sod that is left in rolls begins to heat up and really weakens the sod.What kind of sod was it? Was it mineral soil based or was it peat sod? The mineral sod is much heavier to work with and is more expensive so landscapers often use the cheaper and lighter weight peat sod. Peat sod has a nasty tendency to become hydrophobic and for as much as you think you have watered you have not watered enough. There are two things you can do in this case. If the sod has no roots you can apply a surfactant.(wetting agent) If the sod does have some roots, you can core aerate it. This punches holes through the sod and allows water to seep into the rootzone more easily and it also will help any compaction problems. If I were you, I would have the landscaper re-sod the area with the hope that the hot weather and disease was the cause of your problems. You should also ask your neighbor what he/she does to keep their lawn looking good. That is about as far as I can go to help you with the info you provided. As for my credibility, I have B.S. in Horticulture, am a member of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America and am an assistant superintendent of a golf course. I hope this helps you with your lawn sodding. Otherwise, you can contact a local extension service through a university/local government and they will fill you in on anything else you might want to know.

Good Luck,TDKX

frenchman – posted 07 December 2002 19:24

Also another thing about watering is to water heavy one time instead of watering alittle a day. You should have watered for one hour a day instead of breaking it up. The heavier the water is the farther your roots will go down to get the water. The less you water, the water will stay up top and this will make the roots turn up to get the water and this will make your roots short. I would still try a fungicide, it’s better late then never. Also call the place where you got the sod and ask them if they have any problems with there sod. Some times they will replace it with no charge.

pablo559 – posted 04 February 2004 08:30

It sounds to me that your sod may have sat on the pallets too long prior to being installed. This causes anaerobic bactria to begin to grow and kill the plants. This causes the rolls of sod to heat up,sometimes I have seen landscapers installing sod that is steaming. This sod will look OK for sever al days,then it will begin to turn. At this point, it does not matter how much water you apply. This process does not kill all the sod, it affects some rolls and not others, even from the same pallet. It can even affect some areas of the same rolls, often down the middle, while not affecting the edges.

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