The Q&A Archives: typical maintanence and pest control

Question: My wife and I have been our new house for about 9 months and had a lawn installed in May. We do not think that the landscaping company properly prepared our soil because all they did was rake out the large rocks(prior yard was all dirt) and add about 1 inch worth of new dirt and set the sod on top of that. We were also told that we should water our yard twice a day for 5 minutes at a time. Now we are experiencing two problems, first is that we have a large section of our yard that has standing water and seems to never drain and second is these gnat or mosquito looking pests. There seems to be a million of them as you walk through the grass they all fly up and relocate to another section of grass. We have two small children that love to play in the grass, but these bugs are getting in their eyes and mouth each time we attempt to play. What can I do about the standing water and the bugs?

Answer: Once you've eliminated the standing water, the gnats and mosquitoes should be eliminated, as well. The installation process of your new sod wasn't very professional, but the sod should root well and be fine by next growing season. You can either call the landscaping company and ask them to repair the low spots, or peel the sod up and do it yourself. Although the sod will probably have rooted in the low spots, you should still be able to lift and roll it up, put enough topsoil down to raise the sod enough to be level with the rest of the yard, then reset the sod. As for watering - twice a day for 5 minutes is a good formula for the first few weeks while new sod is establishing its root system, but excessive for established sod. Set your sprinklers for 10-15 minutes once or twice a week (depending upon weather). The goal is to water deeply but infrequently to force the roots to grow deep so they're more drought-tolerant and less dependent upon frequent, shallow watering.

Best wishes with your lawn!

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