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Old 09-27-2017, 09:43 PM   #1
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Second Try at Laying Sod to Dead Lawn Spots


I laid some sod in my yard back in early May to repair some dead grass areas. After watering twice a day for about two weeks (missing once or twice) it took great. It went through a few mows and all looked good… for a while. As soon as we got a heat wave and some 90 degree days late June, all the new sod died! The sod was a 5x5 foot section, a few 3x3 foot sections, and a 20-foot strip along my border that was 3 inches wide. I was not sure if the strip was wide enough to lay, but the others were good sizes. They all held for almost two months before all dying at the same time. Now all that remains in those spots is a 1-inch thick “carpet” that resembles a doormat. I would like to try again. I am writing to ask if it can be done in the fall and if so, when is the best time. Also, what I should do to the soil before laying the sod, and the best method for nurturing it to stay healthy.
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Old 09-27-2017, 09:54 PM   #2
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Re: Second Try at Laying Sod to Dead Lawn Spots


Chances are that a dog or other pet from a previous owner, used those spots as a toilet.

I would tear out an area wider than you described, dig down a foot or so , get rid of the old soil.

refill with new quality topsoil, and re-sod.

Take a sample of the current soil to your county agriculture office, have it analyzed for it's quality.

Might cost a few $ , but worth it, if it tells you what is killing the new sod.

ED
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Old 09-27-2017, 10:06 PM   #3
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Re: Second Try at Laying Sod to Dead Lawn Spots


Was the new sod a type that goes dormant.....when hot weather comes ?
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Old 09-28-2017, 12:26 AM   #4
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Re: Second Try at Laying Sod to Dead Lawn Spots


Condition the soil moisture before laying the sod then don't drown it after, it needs oxygen. Choose a different vendor.
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Old 09-28-2017, 09:40 AM   #5
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Re: Second Try at Laying Sod to Dead Lawn Spots


Why the grass is dying needs to be addressed. Sod needs site preparation just as much as seeding; just putting down sod often does not work.
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Old 09-28-2017, 10:18 AM   #6
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Re: Second Try at Laying Sod to Dead Lawn Spots


Steve......when dead sod removed, were there any roots in soil....or did any come up with sod ?
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Old 09-28-2017, 10:47 AM   #7
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Re: Second Try at Laying Sod to Dead Lawn Spots


I did the same as you back in May as well. It looked great for about two months until the heat came, then it looked like it died. I wanted to be sure so I watered a small area about 2'x2' really heavy for a couple days and found that it just went dormant. It looks like straw at the moment, except for the part that I watered heavily, which greened up. Once the fall rains and cooler temps arrive I'm assuming it'll all green up again. I have my fingers crossed. If not, I'll be starting over in the spring.
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Old 09-28-2017, 08:10 PM   #8
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Re: Second Try at Laying Sod to Dead Lawn Spots


Here are two pics. One taken in early May of this year right after laying the sod. The second was taken today, after some pretty hot weather with very little rain. I was watering daily and it didn't do much, so I did a little reading and others said to stop watering and let it go dormant. I did that and it looked awful, so I watered one small section heavily for a few days and it started greening up, so at least I know it's still alive. Like I mentioned, I'm hoping it bounces back now that the weather is turning cooler, as soon as we get some decent rain.
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Old 09-28-2017, 11:19 PM   #9
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Re: Second Try at Laying Sod to Dead Lawn Spots


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Here are two pics. One taken in early May of this year right after laying the sod. The second was taken today, after some pretty hot weather with very little rain. I was watering daily and it didn't do much, so I did a little reading and others said to stop watering and let it go dormant. I did that and it looked awful, so I watered one small section heavily for a few days and it started greening up, so at least I know it's still alive. Like I mentioned, I'm hoping it bounces back now that the weather is turning cooler, as soon as we get some decent rain.
Wasn't it you who said that someone had complimented your sod lawn, a couple months ago?

I've been reading about dormancy during the summer, but I can't say I really understand it. Winter, yes, but not summer. My neighbors lawns have all been beautiful & it's been up to 112 deg here & not humid. Not sure what grass they have, though.
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Old 09-28-2017, 11:49 PM   #10
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Re: Second Try at Laying Sod to Dead Lawn Spots


For those that have soil watering and plant moisture availability questions, check to see if your county has an extension service that is willing to advise you on soil moisture monitoring. Most of the people in those services are very helpful.
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Old 09-29-2017, 10:50 AM   #11
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Re: Second Try at Laying Sod to Dead Lawn Spots


Hi, Steve. Not sure about the weather you've had in NJ. I laid sod here in Texas too late, I think, and it burned up. Was just reading recently about how laying in fall can work, too, so I'm about to try my second round.

Thanks to everyone for preparation tips, which I've been studying up on. Steve, hope to hear your second round goes, and I'll make sure to check back in regarding mine. Best of luck!

Tim
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Old 09-29-2017, 10:56 AM   #12
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Re: Second Try at Laying Sod to Dead Lawn Spots


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Wasn't it you who said that someone had complimented your sod lawn, a couple months ago?

I've been reading about dormancy during the summer, but I can't say I really understand it. Winter, yes, but not summer. My neighbors lawns have all been beautiful & it's been up to 112 deg here & not humid. Not sure what grass they have, though.
Yes, I probably mentioned in an older post about my neighbor, many years ago when I first bought the house, who said my yard "looked like a country club". This was after tilling and seeding though. It was green and lush and came out great. Good memory there Nik333.
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Old 09-29-2017, 11:00 AM   #13
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Re: Second Try at Laying Sod to Dead Lawn Spots


FWIW, once the sod is established, watering daily is generally a bad idea. Between rain and sprinklers, lawns need 1-2" of water per week and it's best delivered in one or two long sessions to encourage deep root growth rather than several short sessions, which cause shallow root growth.
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Old 09-29-2017, 02:30 PM   #14
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Re: Second Try at Laying Sod to Dead Lawn Spots


Thanks for all the replies. I wasn’t able to follow up till today so I’ll try and address all the questions in this reply.

1. Once the heat passed, temps were normal and we got lots of rain but it never came back so I assume it’s gone and not just dormant. There are no blades of brown grass, it’s just that carpet-like base that remains.

2. Since my sod areas were in many locations, I doubt that the soil was bad because the rest of the lawn is fine.

3. I used sod from this farm many times with no issues but this last attempt failed.

4. There are no roots, the sod’s base (carpet) can just be lifted up!

Other than tilling the soil, what can I do prior to laying the sod to help it grab? (wet it? add fertilizer? add any chemical? )

Thanks for the help!
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Old 09-29-2017, 02:44 PM   #15
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Re: Second Try at Laying Sod to Dead Lawn Spots


I've read being able to lift a tuft of grass because of no roots is an indication of grub activity. You might check with that supplier to see if sod at the time of your purchase has a history of your problem. It could have had grub at a stage when harvested that the supplier didn't know about but the root eating stage of those little fellers came later.
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