New bermuda... now what

Meghan MccarthyMarch 28, 2013

HELP!! We just bought a new home (not even a week ago) and the builder laid bermuda sod. It's our first home with a yard, we don't know the first thing about what to do next! The sod was laid March 14. The construction manager said to keep it wet for the next week or two, and to walk on it to push the sod into the original soil. How often do I need to be walking on it? When should I fertilize?

Also, we're going to sod the backyard ourselves. Other than knowing that the grass is bermuda, I don't know specifically what kind. I'm not able to get anything more from the builder than "just plain Bermuda". Does it matter if I know, or can I just get another Bermuda even if they aren't the same?

Any advice on the next steps to get the sod to take root would be much appreciated!

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Assuming that you're in a region that has already gotten warm enough for the lawn to have transitioned and is now fully green, your first step is a "Starter" fertilizer. The usual blend is 18-24-12, which can be found at Lesco John Deere centers, or most nurseries.

Crash course on fertilizer: Each number represents the percentage of the macro-nutrient per pound of fertilizer. The nutrients are N-P-K, Nitrogen-Phosphates-Potassium. So on each application during the growing season, deliver 1# of Nitrogen (this nutrient is depleted faster than any other, and is in the highest demand for growth to occur). Since your goal is 1# and the % is 18 in the case of Starter fert, you figure this to be 1/0.18 = 5.5 lbs per 1,000 sqft to give you the 1# of actual Nitrogen. Your builder will be able to tell you how many pallets of sod were laid and a pallet is 500 sq.ft., so you can calculate the # of pallets/2 = the number of 1,000 sq.ft. intervals (10 pallets = 5,000sqft, which would need 28#'s of 18-24-12, for example).

After the Starter fertilizer application, every 5 to 6 weeks throughout the growing season the lawn needs 1# of Nitrogen. This is usually done with a product like 32-0-10 @ 3.2#'s per 1,000 sqft.

Watering: Water frequently and heavily until the sod is rooted. This can be checked by simply trying to pull it up (once rooted it won't give). After it is rooted, it needs 1" of water per week through rainfall or irrigation. If you irrigate, this should be done in one or two heavy waterings rather than frequent light watering. This encourages deeper roots, which promote drought tolerance.

Mowing should be done weekly at a reasonably low setting (never cut the green out of the lawn as this stunts the roots main mechanism for water uptake, which is transpirational pull). Keeping Bermuda short encourages good turf density and minimizes thatch development, but remember the shorter you keep it, the more often you need to cut it.

Also, utilize local resources such as the County Extension Agent for helpful information for your area. Here in Georgia, I use our Extension Agency to process soil samples through the University lab. I'm sure Texas has a similar program considering the Ag department at Texas A&M.

Here is a link that might be useful: .

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 12:30AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

I replied to another post and suggested you find the Bermuda Bible and follow it. DO THAT.

Never, ever, Ever, EVER sow bermuda seed on top of a sodded bermuda lawn. Your sod is a hybrid and a great one. All seed is common bermuda and the best of those is terrible compared to the hybrid. As soon as you seed into a hybrid bermuda, then you have a weedy looking mix for life.

The Texas A&M lab has had to admit to poor soil testing in the past. Who knows how much damage they've done to Texas soils. The lawn community is gravitating to Logan Labs in Ohio for premium soil testing at a good price. The standard $20 test from Logan Labs cannot be replicated at TAMU for less than $100. Where in Texas are you? It's a big place.

Some time in the future you are going to have trouble with a bumpy lawn. I'm not clairvoyant - it just seems to happen to all bermuda owners. You might start now looking for discussions about leveling bermuda lawns with sand. There is no hurry for this. If you start too soon you'll have to do it again.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 6:17PM
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