We install 3 main types of sod: Fescue, Bermuda, and Zoysia. Fescue provides the greenest yards in our area. The growing conditions make it the least expensive option as well. It is what we always recommend to clients who want a beautiful lawn in Missouri. We pick up our sod fresh from the farms at Spring River Turf Farms for smaller jobs. Larger projects will be delivered by our suppliers and often installed with large rolls and heavy equipment.
For new construction, choice of sod isn’t as critical. However, when trying to match your existing lawn, installing the wrong type of sod could create some nightmares. The creeping qualities of Bermuda and Zoysia sod can result in a few pieces of sod taking over large sections of the yard. In a Fescue lawn, this leads to large yellow patches of grass in early Spring and late Fall because Bermuda and Zoysia go dormant sooner than Fescue. For that reason, in most Springfield, MO lawns our goal is to get rid of the invasive grass types and focus on growing healthy stands of Fescue/Kentucky Blue Grass mixtures.
3 Common Issues Following Sod Installation and Solutions to Avoid These Issues
Everyone knows when something just doesn’t look right. If you see a whole lot of dead in your lawn after it has just been sodded, there is a good chance you are experiencing one of the three most common issues associated with new sod. The three most common reasons sod does poorly is a lack of watering, over-watering, and the development of turf fungal diseases.
It should go without saying that new plants, whether it is shrubs, trees, or grass, need to be watered. More often than not, supplemental watering (watering other than natural rain) is necessary during the establishment period of any plant. The establishment period for fescue sod is typically 6-8 weeks. Under normal circumstances, the total accumulation of precipitation (both natural rain fall and supplemental watering) ought to be approximately 1 inch per week. With new sod, this number can be increased by about 50% for the first two weeks. If your new sod isn’t getting at least 1 inch of water a week, there is a good chance it isn’t doing as well as it could. As well, the timing of when that water is distributed is also quite critical. Improper watering can lead to other issues such as over-watering.
Believe it or not, over-watering is the number one killer of newly planted trees and shrubs. For the same reason it kills new bushes and trees, over-watering can also kill grasses. Too much water filling the soil space can limit the amount of oxygen readily available in the soil for a plants roots to absorb. The key to getting 1.5 inches of precipitation during the first two weeks of sod establishment is to split the watering up into more frequent occasions with a smaller quantity of water. So rather than running an irrigation system 3 days a week, one time each day, we cut back the watering time to 1/3rd the time. Too get us up to approximately 1.5 inches of precipitation from the standard 1″ an irrigation system should be programmed for, we go ahead and run those 3 cycles a day for 5 days of the week. The goal is to keep the soil moist until the roots can dig in deep enough to find the natural moisture in the soil. Unfortunately, keeping the soil moist for extended periods during 80-90 degree temperatures can also lead to the development of turf fungus diseases.
Maybe you have been doing everything correct to care for your new sod: watering it just enough and mowing it as directed. The area gets plenty of sunlight, but for some reason the sod looks worse and worse each day. If your sod was laid in the middle of summer, particularly during a growing season which already had a significant amount of fungus growth, there is a good chance the sod came with a fungus disease. No, this does not mean it needs to be returned. Even if the sod didn’t have fungus to begin with, the watering necessary to allow for establishment is the same conditions that fungi thrive in. If you fertilized your sod right away with high nitrogen fertilizer, this will only multiply the intensity and speed at which the fungus diseases develop. Not to worry, a simple pre/post-combination fungicide application ought to let your lawn green back up nicely. If the sod is really far gone before you catch the problem, we recommend over-seeding the yard along with the fungicide application. The particular fungicide we use the most or this is called “Headway.” Headway can be applied before or after seeding. From our experience, it seems to only provide positive results on the establishment of fescue seed.
Anyone can come roll sod out on to a lawn. The knowledge and skills our experts provide are what makes the difference between a beautiful lawn and a sod installation nightmare. If you are in Springfield, Nixa, or Ozark, Missouri, give us a call and experience the difference for yourself.