What to Do if your New Sod is Dying

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Sod PileYou’ve just invested in a beautiful sod lawn for you and your family, and you’re already planning all the summer cookouts and baseball games to be had on your new outdoor carpeting. All of a sudden, you notice that one area is starting to brown a bit…then another. Before you know it whole patches of your new sod are dying! What do you do? Keep in mind that installing sod if often better left to the professionals, like Timberland Tree Care, who’ll take care of everything from soil testing and preparation, to its actual installation. But, if you’re dead set on doing it yourself, your sod’s problem could be a number of things, so let’s take a look.

Sod Dying from Lack of Water

Any brand new plant needs extra water because it has to establish a root system in your soil. Sod, though appearing to be just a big, green, rolled-up carpet, is no different. It needs much more water than the other already established areas of your lawn. After you roll your sod out and it’s firmly in place, you’ll want to water each and every inch of the fresh sod until you’ve soaked the top half-inch of the soil. After your initial watering, to keep your sod from dying, you’ll want to keep that top half-inch moist for at least the first two weeks. After that, you can reduce your watering to top quarter-inch. Continue for about four weeks or until the grass looks like it’s taken hold. After it does take hold, you can cut back your watering to just once a week – make sure to water your sod to a depth of a full inch from here on.

Your Soil is Causing your Sod to Die

Sod primarily comes in that nice, roll-out. carpet-style, but that can make it a bit more difficult to get to take. Did you know that your soil has to be prepped for your sod? If your soil is compacted or too hard, water that would normally soften it will run away. Your sod needs soft soil to dig its roots in. Without that, your new sod will quickly brown out and die. Worse still, as the water runs off, it can shift the soil under your sod, meaning the grass actually has no contact with the dirt below. Luckily, there’s an easy fix here – since the sod isn’t connected to the soil underneath, simply lift up the sod and fill under with new topsoil or compost.

You Cut Your Sod Too Soon

It may look scraggly for a while, but you want to let your new sod grow in for at least thirty days before you try to cut it. This is because cutting the grass actually stresses it. That wonderful cut grass smell that everyone loves in the spring and summer? That’s actually a pheromone the grass releases as a warning. So, don’t stress your turf – hold off on cutting.When your lawn is safe to cut, you’ll want to ensure that you use a sharp blade that is set high and let the clippings fall. (They’re a great natural fertilizer!)

You Fed Your New Sod Too Soon

This may come as a shock to some, but most lawns, especially sod, don’t really need fertilizer at all. Yes, lawns can benefit from some general fertilizer or from using corn gluten meal in the fall and spring, but not from much more than that, so you may be wasting your money.This is especially true of sod because of it’s rolled, carpeted appearance. If you’ve fed your sod immediately after planting, the fertilizer has nowhere to go but pool on top of the ground in the area around the blades of grass. If you must feed your lawn at all, wait at least sixty days before using any type of fertilizer. This will allow the sod to put down roots. It doesn’t need help doing that!

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