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New Sod Not Doing Well - Too much moisture?


Mid-spring, about 7 weeks ago, we had new sod professionally laid. The company regraded a bit, put down topsoil and laid the sod. We were given instructions to water for 30 minutes per day for the first 3-4 weeks, then every other day for a few more weeks. Also, we were instructed not to cut until 5-6 inches high. We followed those instructions and just cut the grass the first time about a week and a half ago.

Well, now that the grass is cut, I'm seeing that what appeared to be a healthy new lawn is brownish and yellow in spots, dry and sparse in spots, and in still other spots seems overly wet with long blades of grass in areas laid over and not reached by the mower.

I've tried repeatedly calling the landscaper back, but they are not returning calls.

I've read about top-dressing as a possible option, among others - including the diluted dish soap therapy.

I would REALLY appreciate anyone's weighing in on some things we can try! We really don't want to lose the lawn as since it was professionally laid it was quite an investment.

I'll also note that this is a rather small back lawn (we live in a row home) and is roughly 500 square feet.

In the photos, you can see a further back shot, where the lawn appears to be doing so-so... and then a close up shot of a problem area with the mix of issues. A note: some of the dead appearing grass is just laying on top from mowing --- I tried to be very gentle with the rake!


Posts: 12811
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:32 am
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: New Sod Not Doing Well - Too much moisture?

A few things.

When you have new sod, you should be watering it more than once a day.

Don't walk on it until it is established.

How high you mow is dependent on the type of grass you have.
In summer mow higher. You don't want to keep exposing the roots to the sun.
I would set the mower to an inch to an inch and a half.

Do not cut more than 1/3 of the grass blade at a time. If you have to give it a few days and cut it again otherwise you scalp the lawn and you will get a lot of brown spots. I think what you have is from cutting the grass too short all at one time.

It usually will recover.

It is better to let the grass only grow about 2-3 inches long and cut grass to about an inch and a half high.

Where I am grass will go dormant in summer and turn more yellow unless it gets the equivalent of an inch of rain a week. Roughly 45 minutes to an hour of watering. Watering is usually done slow and deep. 20-30 minutes once or twice a week. Fertilize new lawns monthly. Old lawns need to be aerated, de-thatched, top dressed and fertilized with a high nitrogen fertilizer twice a year.

Grass will grow slower as it goes dormant so I have to mow less in summer and raise the blade of the mower to cut the grass taller.

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