new grass not doing so well - Knowledgebase Question

san antonio, Te
Question by c1213estrada
July 31, 2010
hi i recently moved to a house that had no grass just weeds took out weeds and place squares of st. augustine grass. bought about 75 sqaures from one place that one took off good. bought another 75 from a different place and that one is either yellow in color in some spots or just dry spots in other places i tried watering at morning then night then both cant figure out what to do


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Answer from NGA
July 31, 2010

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Since sod has a built-in mature root mass it should establish quickly as long as it makes good contact with the soil. Yellowing and/or drying out usually equates to poor root penetration in the soil. Try pulling up some of the affected sod. If the roots have establsihed themselves well, they won't budge. If the roots have not penetrated into the native soil they will be easy to pull straight up. If a square comes up easily, inspect the roots for signs of grub feeding and check the soil to make sure that water is soaking down into the soil. About the only thing you can do to encourage deep root growth is to rough up the soil, work some compost into it, then replace the sod, tamping it down so it makes good contact with the soil. Then water it deeply every 2-3 days for a couple of weeks to encourage good root penetration.

Aside from failing to root well, the dry spots could indicate your sprinklers are missing those areas. Set some empty cat food or tuna cans on the lawn and water as usual. Then check to see how much water has collected in the cans. Lawns need about an inch of water per week, applied slowly so it percolates down and wets the entire root system. If you normally water twice a week, you'll want the cans to collect a half inch of water each time you apply water.

Yellowing turf might be the result of poorly draining soils or from a need for fertilizer so a final suggestion is to feed your lawn. It's risky to feed during the hottest months of the year but if you use a Turfbuilder with Summerguard or similar product and apply exactly according to label directions, you won't burn your lawn and your St. Augustine should green up in a week or two.

Best wishes with your turf!

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