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Old 06-12-2012, 09:26 AM   #1
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Newly laid sod Maint. tips????


Hi,
I just laid sod, in a Suburb outside Chicago. I chose to go with Kentucky BlueGrass, that I purchased from Central Sod farms. I laid it over Memorial day weekend. As of right now the grass looks awesome, but I want to keep it thatway. I am not a landscapper by any means, but I tend to be pretty handy and pretty much do everything around the house by myself. For the first couple weeks, I think I may have been watering it to much twice a day 3 hours a day, so I stopped that and now I will be watering it every other day. So far I have not seen any side effects, like I said it looks beautifull. I started with Scots starter Fertilizer, that I applied directly over the soil, than I layed the sod, now I am asking when I should re-fertilize, what should I use, and how often.

Like I said I am not a landscaper, but want to keep my grass in the best shape possible, because I don't want all the hard work and money to go to waste. So if anyone can give me helpful tips on maintaining my freshly laid sod I would greatly appreciate it.
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:35 AM   #2
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Just remember you are dealing with a plant transplant product and your initial challenge is to keep it alive in the 2" thickness now supporting it. Over watering will just leave you with a soggy, drowned, layer of root and grass blade sponge. Or at best, you will keep it so happy it has no reason to send down roots.

It sounds like the sod was fresh and laid down properly. You did roll it in contact with nicely prepped soil right?

You want to start backing off the watering in favor of longer and less frequent watering schedules to encourage root growth. Keep an eye on it though. Obviously you need to keep it alive but expect to see some minimal shock. The deeper roots you can encourage the more heat resistant turf you will have long term.

Keep your eye on your next feeding date. The sod probably came fed too get you through the first couple months and you laid down a starter fertilizer so late August and September is probably the first to think about another feeding. Nice fed turf is the best approach to weed, insect, fungus and control and certainly cheaper than all those chemicals!

In the turfgrass industry we generally sought to achieve the equivalent of 1" of rainfall per week for established turf. Not much you can do about turf getting rained on all year here in the Midwest but when you water yourself, try to do so early enough in the day so the grass blades can dry out before nightfall. Fungus spores and insect eggs love moist, dark environments between moist grass blades to thrive.

Mow bluegrass at your mower's highest setting. Make sure you keep your mower blade sharp. A few passes with a metal file after each use will prolong the sharp edge of the blade and it only takes a second to do before putting the mower away. If you see the blade is hacking the grass and leaving "split ends" sharpen it or have it sharpened and balanced. Or replace it (Sad, but I realize sharpening places are disappearing to the point of extinction). Those split ends just leave more exposed area for fungus and stuff to establish.

For the future, put yourself on a regular schedule for rolling out soil that heaved over the winter, aeration, and dethatching if needed. This should not be a major issue for bluegrass.

Last edited by user1007; 06-12-2012 at 09:46 AM.
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:44 AM   #3
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Thanks,
I did roll the lawn when applied. The sod was applied in my front lawn, the day it was cut and delivered, it was apllied in the back lawn 2 days after it was cut and delivered. I cut it last Thursday at the highest setting on mower, and I need to cut it again today when I get off of work. I am just leaving the clippings, not baging them. The front lawn looks beautifull, the back lawn looks real nice, 2 brown spots about 18inches wide developed when we were out of town this past weekend. This was the sod that was laid 2 days after delivery when the wether was 95 degrees all weekend.


What about fertilizer or lawn food??? There are no weeds present, and the grass is a real hardy green, that is growing real fast, besides the 2 brown spots in the back yard.

Thanks for everying
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Old 06-12-2012, 12:59 PM   #4
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Keep a watchful eye on the sod that went down after sitting for two days. That is pushing harvested sod to about the limit and it would not be unusual for you to experience some loss as a result. At least you got the material from a reputable place and know it was no older than that. You may find a couple of spots in back where you will have to fill in either overseeding or buying a couple rolls of repair sod.

Again, remember you can do more damage over watering the sod at this point than even under watering it! I remind you of my metaphor about you watering a sponge that has not rooted in the soil at this point.

As for feeding? What recommendations did the sod farm you got it from offer and when did they say it was fed last? Just as kind of a common sense rule I backed off the usually high nitrogen lawn fertilizers when establishing sod. Nitrogen is important but the other nutrients are what you want to encourage root and systemic stem growth early on. Lots of lush green top growth doesn't really help much.

The numbers on a sack or bottle of fertilizer label are the NPK ratio. They tell you how much of the basic plant nutrients of Nitrogen Phosphorous and Potassium can be expected. You will notice that lawn fertilizers are typically very high in nitrogen.

I would put down a general purpose, balanced, garden fertilizer if anything now. Back off the nitrogen for now. You can always add some simple nitrogen later but we are at July for all intents and purposes and the heat cometh! Over nitrogenating for top growth without roots and stems to support it will just add stress to the grass transplants.
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Old 06-12-2012, 01:50 PM   #5
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Thanks,
I just started watering the grass now, every other day for about 3 hours. Is that still to much?? I called the sod farm, and they said in about 2 weeks, I can continue to use the starter fertilizer I used because it's still growing. I never asked them when it was fed last, and I didn't touch on watering the grass. Like I said earlier, it seems as if the grass is growing perfectly, I don't see any seems any more, and I tried in a few places to pull up on the sod, and the roots were in the soil, I cut the grass on Thursday with my mower's highest setting, got back last night, and the grass is already fairly long, everythings seems to be going great, but I want to keep it that way. The lawn I had prior was infested with crab grass and weeds, and I don't want this to happen to my freshly laid sod. It was alot of work for me, during the hottest weekend of the year!!

I appreciate all your help on the matter, and I think right now i am just gonna hope for the best. When I ordered sod I did alot of research and I believe I got quality sod, unfortunately I'm doing alot of research on how to maintain it, and I keep getting mixed views, so I don't know what to go with. But it seems like you no what your talking about and have been a big help.
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Old 06-12-2012, 02:16 PM   #6
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You are doing fine.

Just do not under estimate what it takes to establish a sod lawn. Some think because it is green, lush and weed free you can just lay it down and forget it. Sod lawns take longer to establish long term than seeded ones and most certainly than hydroseeded ones.

Save for the brown spots you described in back? Yours seems to be adjusting just fine.

If weeds should pop through, which I doubt will happen this season, use a hose end liquid weed killer for either or both broadleaf and crabgrass. Or just pull the weeds.

Next season with seeds blowing in or otherwise being transported is another matter. Just be diligent and selective in the use of either or both pre-emergent or post-emergent herbicides, on schedule, and you will be fine.
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Old 06-12-2012, 02:27 PM   #7
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Thanks,
For all your help, from peoples opinions, I think I am going to go with a fall fertilizer at the end of September, and than go with a spring fertilizer in early March to start off with my fertilization process, because I do also know what happens when you over fertilize.
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Old 06-12-2012, 02:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dobrien1030 View Post
I do also know what happens when you over fertilize.
I hope so. In addition to possibly burning your lawn, over fertilization is just wasteful as nutrients just get leached away before they do any good. In the case of nitrogen they are proving to do great harm.

The death of the coral population and the ecosystems that survive because of it in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere in the Caribbean is directly attributable to the over use of nitrogen on lawns and farm crops in the Midwest and other places. What runs off has to flow somewhere. When all the excess nitrogen hits the algae beds and the coral. The natural order of things gets totally wacked from micro organism on up to shrimp and fish.

Solution is obvious. Stop over nitrogenating. It is hard to train people to stop doing what we told them was a great idea in the first place? I grew up learning turf needed one pound of nitrogen per 1,000 sf per month which is probably way too much. And frankly, there is a fertilizer industry that will not care until some of the international law suits and damages hit home. Those judgments are not far off.

Over nitrogenation based on antiquated ag practices is also doing a major number on the South American rainforests.

"We know we told you just a couple of decades ago that nitrogen and lots of it is good but would you please cut back since we know it is really bad now?" is not resonating so well down yonder. It is particulary sad in places like Brazil because we taught them to cut down rainforests and scrape land rich in nitrogen in the first place.

Last edited by user1007; 06-12-2012 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dobrien1030 View Post
Thanks,
For all your help, from peoples opinions, I think I am going to go with a fall fertilizer at the end of September, and than go with a spring fertilizer in early March to start off with my fertilization process, because I do also know what happens when you over fertilize.
You've gotten the best advise about Kentucky Bluegrass already: Water infrequently, but very thoroughly, and mow on your mower's highest setting. You'll know it needs to be watered when you can see that you're leaving footprints when you walk across the lawn.

As for fertilizing, the Scott's 4-step is a pretty easy-to-use system. You could probably safely start in July-August with a light feeding of Step 3. It's a slow-release feeding designed to protect it from burning the grass in the summer heat. If you decide to wait for Step 4 in the fall it's probably fine, I just think a little food might help the roots grow better.

Just FYI for anyone else searching the 4-step system, the crabgrass preventer (pre-emergent) is in step 1 in end of winter / early spring, and step 2 is "weed & feed", a fertilizer blended with broad-leaf weed killer.
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