Lawns and Grass forum→Pseudo-first generation lawn guy - First time sodder need help!

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bod120
May 29, 2020 9:26 AM CST
Hey everyone, new to the forum. It's so nice to see the community of landscapers sharing knowledge and advice. I grew up like many of you with my father very much into landscaping and I caught on at an early age. We did a complete backyard makeover, and I will post pictures for you to see. Laid down some sod for the first time and cared for it as best I could, watering, keeping off of it, and finally fertilizing it. It was laid out on April 23, and I have those pictures first.

The next set of photos is from a few weeks ago with how lush it took.

This past weekend, like many others, we had a BBQ and I tried to keep people off the sod but was unsuccessful. Additionally, two dogs were out rolling around in it. As far as I know, no accidents on the sod, but I feel like the patchiness now and "dead looking" spots are indicative of the rolling around and twisting action of the sod and roots by the dogs. Party was Monday May 25 and photos are from today Friday May 29. I am not convinced it is dead but I am not sure where to go from here. Instead of continuing to google things I decided to meet the community here and ask for your advice.

For your knowledge, it is tall fescue sod. We are in Delaware (Northeast US) where weather has been very wet and we've been good about watering the few days now it has gotten warm.

Thank you so much in advance for your help!

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Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
crawgarden
May 29, 2020 10:20 AM CST
Welcome to the site fellow Blue Hen!

How ofter do you water it? What and when did you fertilize the sod? It looks like it could be overwatering. My sister in Northern Delaware says it has been raining every few days. Plus you have an additional issue of a fairly shady yard, the fescue should do fine. At this point I would leave it alone and see what happens, any chance you could raise the branches of some of the trees?
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

bod120
May 29, 2020 5:28 PM CST
crawgarden said:Welcome to the site fellow Blue Hen!

How ofter do you water it? What and when did you fertilize the sod? It looks like it could be overwatering. My sister in Northern Delaware says it has been raining every few days. Plus you have an additional issue of a fairly shady yard, the fescue should do fine. At this point I would leave it alone and see what happens, any chance you could raise the branches of some of the trees?



Thanks! At this point it's been almost 5 weeks since it's been laid down. So we only water the mornings of the days it doesn't rain. So we make sure it gets water either from me or the rain at least everyday. I just fertilized it with Scott's turf builder. Do you think I should get Scott's fescue mix and sprinkle out some grass seed? And continue making sure it gets water at least once per day?

I can have the tree guy come and cut out branches next week if the sun is the real problem. I'm just so convinced it's the people that walked on it at my party like crazy a few days ago. Is that coincidence or at 4 weeks or so should it totally be able to handle that?
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
crawgarden
May 29, 2020 7:02 PM CST
Normally I would not walk on a newly sodded lawn until after the first mow, at this point its should be able to go without watering every day. How much sun does the yard get?
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

bod120
May 29, 2020 7:40 PM CST
crawgarden said:Normally I would not walk on a newly sodded lawn until after the first mow, at this point its should be able to go without watering every day. How much sun does the yard get?



Different parts of the day gets different amounts of sun. Do you think it needs just mostly direct sun most of the time? If so I can cut those branches, if it needs longer periods of direct sun. See photos though you can see how overall it all gets sun just depends what part of day.


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Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
crawgarden
May 29, 2020 8:27 PM CST
Grass can always use more sun, 4-6 hours should be sufficient, I would cut back on the watering, normally a lawn needs 1" per week. Does the narrow strip of grass look the same?
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

bod120
May 30, 2020 11:11 AM CST
crawgarden said:Grass can always use more sun, 4-6 hours should be sufficient, I would cut back on the watering, normally a lawn needs 1" per week. Does the narrow strip of grass look the same?


okay I just want to know if there's anything else to do too? What's a rule of thumb with watering is there a good breakdown for dummies? Everyone describes it in inches but I use a hand hose with a hose head sprinkler. I just want to make sure I've done everything else before I go cutting trees back.

Online Google says:
"Tall fescue grass can grow in sun to shade. These grasses are shade tolerant and grow well in areas where it's too hot for cool grasses but too cold in the winter for warm-season grasses.Oct 15, 2019
Soil Type: Can grow in most soils; prefers well-draining clay soil
Sun Exposure: Sun or shade
Plant Type: Perennial"

----
Should I reseed? Get fescue seeds? Should I dig out those yellow spots and seed there?
Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
crawgarden
May 30, 2020 12:33 PM CST
At this point I would leave it be, think there was to much moisture, only water when it looks dry, best time to reseed is in the late summer early fall when you have warm days and cool nights. Getting more sun by raising some of the branches will help.

Does the narrow strip of grass shown in your picture look the same as the larger area.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
[Last edited by crawgarden - May 30, 2020 12:34 PM (+)]
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bod120
May 30, 2020 3:34 PM CST
crawgarden said:At this point I would leave it be, think there was to much moisture, only water when it looks dry, best time to reseed is in the late summer early fall when you have warm days and cool nights. Getting more sun by raising some of the branches will help.

Does the narrow strip of grass shown in your picture look the same as the larger area.


It's not as bad. A little bit gone downhill but not like the main yard

bod120
May 30, 2020 3:34 PM CST
I'll see if I can post a photo of it tomorrow
Name: Dr. Demento Jr.
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
May 30, 2020 7:10 PM CST
You water by hand, for how long?
Pull on a corner of the sod where you think it looks worst.
If it has taken root, it will not come up ; if it has not taken root, you have a problem, which often is watering too much.
The roots go side ways, not into the ground.
How did you prepare the ground before laying the sod.

bod120
Jun 1, 2020 8:46 AM CST
crawgarden said:At this point I would leave it be, think there was to much moisture, only water when it looks dry, best time to reseed is in the late summer early fall when you have warm days and cool nights. Getting more sun by raising some of the branches will help.

Does the narrow strip of grass shown in your picture look the same as the larger area.


So we were out of town Friday-Sunday evening and only got nice warm hot sun this weekend no rain, and I did not water it. Come back Sunday evening and the patchy dead spots looks even worse. Parts of it are soggy appearing so I wonder if it was too much watering and fungus got on it. Attached are photos of the yard yesterday in the late sun at 5pm, it definitely gets at least 4 hours of sun and probably more that rotates with the sun going over the house, but clearly the parts that are getting sun are dead appearing and patchy too.

If in fact we think its fungus, how can I confirm (or what would it appear like to make me confirm its fungus that killed it), and is that from too much watering? And is there a way to revive it or should I take those patchy spots off and reseed with fescue seeds? Do I need to tend to the soil in those dead spots somehow before reseeding? Shrug! Thanks in advance!!



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Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
crawgarden
Jun 1, 2020 10:00 AM CST
Take a look about half way down on this site, under Landscapes and lawns for more info:

https://www.udel.edu/academics...

Earlier RPR asked if there had been any preparation prior to putting down the sod?

https://www.udel.edu/academics...
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
[Last edited by crawgarden - Jun 1, 2020 10:03 AM (+)]
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bod120
Jun 1, 2020 10:47 AM CST
RpR said:You water by hand, for how long?
Pull on a corner of the sod where you think it looks worst.
If it has taken root, it will not come up ; if it has not taken root, you have a problem, which often is watering too much.
The roots go side ways, not into the ground.
How did you prepare the ground before laying the sod.


In terms of preparing the sod, it was a weed jungle we dug out all weeds and leveled, honestly not much chemical "prep"

bod120
Jun 1, 2020 7:18 PM CST
RpR said:You water by hand, for how long?
Pull on a corner of the sod where you think it looks worst.
If it has taken root, it will not come up ; if it has not taken root, you have a problem, which often is watering too much.
The roots go side ways, not into the ground.
How did you prepare the ground before laying the sod.


So it definitely HAS taken root (which initially I thought it never would when we laid it believe me). I can't lift it anywhere anymore (which was the corners and the seams the first 1-2 weeks). Even the "dead" and patchy areas feel tight when I pull. But i just can't believe how much worse it looks today then even from last monday (~1 week ago).

See pictures below for what was there before we laid the sod, essentially a thriving weed jungle (first photos), then we took out and sifted all the weeds and tried to level out the ground as best as we could, it was a harder more dry, maybe even clay-like soil but we did not till or aerate... this was my first time ever doing this I had no idea. And again no chemical "prep".

The more I think about it the more I am convinced we over-watered it. The first two weeks I was watering 4-5 times/day as I read some places but now it seems crazy, each time watering for about 5 min long in our small area as you can see. The last 2.5 weeks watering 1-2 times per day if it did not rain therefore ensuring it was getting a good pour everyday, hence why I am more convinced we over-watered it.

Overwatering it would cause the fungus growth and appearance we are seeing now, correct? Is there a way to come back from this well and efficiently or would it be better to start over have someone dig this all out, learn to prep the soil appropriately and re lay new sod?

Thanks!


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Name: Rj
Just S of the twin cities of M (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Image
crawgarden
Jun 1, 2020 9:11 PM CST
Probably do not have a fungus, but rather the overwatering would deprive the roots of oxygen.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
Name: Dr. Demento Jr.
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Jun 1, 2020 10:28 PM CST
bod120 said:
Parts of it are soggy appearing so I wonder if it was too much watering and fungus got on it.

If you were gone two days and it appeared soggy you may have a serious problem with the soil in that location.
Remove the dead grass.
Having done this for years, it will make what ever you do, far, far, far easier not having to deal with the dead grass.

As that grass is dead, do not dick around or wait for it to come back, dig several holes there the diameter of a pointed sand shovel, one approx. six inches deep, one a foot deep.
Fill each with water and see how fast they drain.
IF there is drainage problem get a post hole digger , go as deep as it goes and see what is under the surface.

I would put down some sort of fungus, lawn disease killer, just in case there is some thing in the soil.

Crown and Root Rot (Root Dysfunction): Many species of Pythium cause diseases of roots and crowns that result in a general decline of turfgrass stands. Symptoms are nonspecific with the affected turf appearing thin, off-color, and slowly growing. The disease may occur in small patches or involve large areas, especially on highly maintained golf course greens. Symptoms may appear from early spring to late autumn. In warm, wet weather, large areas of turf may wilt, turn brown, and die. The crowns of individual plants appear water soaked and discolored. Roots are greatly reduced and discolored. Microscopic examination of infected tissue reveals large numbers of oospores (survival structures) and sporangia (spore-bearing structures). Crown and root rot can occur under both low and high soil temperatures depending upon Pythium species.

Management with Fungicides

For a listing of fungicides currently labeled to manage this disease, refer to the Disease Management chapter of UMass Extension's Professional Guide for IPM in Turf for Massachusetts.

https://ag.umass.edu/turf/prof...

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