What's happening to my new sod? - Knowledgebase Question

Massapequa Park, Ne
Question by ndpettit46
August 20, 2010
We got backyard sodded 2 wks ago.I've been out with the dogs and watering down urine spots, but have noticed patches of brown,dead grass which seem to be multiplying even on the side of the lawn the dogs don't use.Any ideas? I can send pics if you like. I am distraught!!! Thank you so much for your help. I am so grateful to have you!


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Answer from NGA
August 20, 2010

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Sod needs a lot of water to help it establish, and if the roots do not make good contact with the soil, the lawn can die out. Make sure you are watering adequately to encourage good root penetration into the soil. Where the brown spots are developing, try pulling up on the grass blades. If the sod is rooted, you won't be able to pull it straight up. If it has not rooted, it will come up easily. If this happens, pull the sod and work the soil with a hand trowel, then replace the sod and stomp down on it so the roots make good contact with the soil. You didn't mention whether you installed the sod or if it was installed for you. It's important to roll the sod with a water-filled lawn roller after installation to force the roots down so they make good contact with the soil.

New sod will require consistent moisture for the first 7-10 days to ensure good, even root development. Water the lawn lightly to keep the sod moist (at least twice daily; 15-20 minutes is sufficient). Once the sod has begun to "knit" to the soil surface, gradually increase the duration and decrease the frequency of your waterings until you are watering once a week for 45 minutes to an hour (long enough to provide one inch of water). This schedule can be adjusted for the weather, of course, with more frequent applications during the early stages if we experience hot, dry, or windy weather. Less water is needed during periods of rainy or cold weather. Watering is best done during the overnight hours. The hours between 10:30pm and 2:00am are best. This limits the amount of time the grass blades are wet, thus reducing the threat of disease establishment. Do not water from 6:00am through the remainder of the day. Watering during the heat of the day will not damage the grass, but too much of the water is wasted through evaporation loss before the grass ever has a chance to use it. Sod is a very perishable commodity. It can dry out very quickly in sunny, windy weather. Until the roots have grown down into the soil, it is critical that the sod not dry out. As long as this doesn't happen, your results should be excellent.

Hope this information is helpful and that you can stop the browning process so your sod will establish and grow well for you.

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