New Bermuda sod - wait one season for leveling?

crumpsc(8)April 21, 2012

Hi - new to the forum. I've recently had Bermuda laid in my back yard (3 weeks on Monday), and the installer didn't do the best job leveling/grading the soil before laying squares.

In just searching around, I'm relieved that atleast I can bite the bullet and use the sharp-sand leveling approach to slowly bring my sod to a level state. I have concerns about whether or not to attempt this during the first growth season. I live very close to Augusta GA (just over the border in SC). It gets very, very hot/muggy here for several months. We'll average 90+ starting in May and that will last (and get closer to 100) until around the end of September.

Additionally and sorry but kind of off-topic...what type of approach should I take for gaps between squares. I've got a few (not many, but a few) where the installer used small strips of spare sod to fill in. Those are mostly brown and don't look to be rooting at all.

Thanks in advance - and very excited about finally investing some money in my skanky back yard. I know where the installer got the sod, so I will ask that company what exact strand it was and post some pictures tomorrow AM.

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Those gaps will fill in.

You can put sand in there if there wasn't a lot of dirt on the filler pieces and it is causing problems. Or, you could do nothing and eventually you'll never be able to find them. I don't how it disappears without soil or sand added, but small gaps will. Talking an inch or so here. It's a miracle, I guess.

I'll let someone else jump in with a definitive answer on leveling the first season. Personally, I'd call this season the time to get everything healthy and established. Level next season. It won't be any harder if you wait or anything like that.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 10:52PM
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Once the sod is rooted well, and actively growing you can start this year, just don't be real aggressive with it. Should by around mid June you should be OK, and if you start then you can probable get two apps in. Just make sure whenever you apply the last app there is 45 to 60 days before first frost.

For the seams, assuming they are gaps, back-fill the gaps with soil, sand, whatever. Pretty normal for low ball installation.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 10:55PM
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Thanks for the replies and I welcome any more - I did forget to post pics today as I got caught up with a front yard project and general Sunday stuff. I will grab some in the AM of the 'gaps' I speak of. Speaking to those - should I remove the strips of sod where the installer tried to fill in? These don't even have any root system and dirt attached at this point.

Just curious if I should pull them and fill in with dirt/sand/whatever...or just drop filler on top of them.

I'm grabbing a soil testing kit tomorrow and will submit to the sod company. They provide free analysis of the test kit - apparently a pretty big outfit here in SC (Carolina Fresh - ).

The installer told me he laid down a 'starter' fertilizer a day or so after installation, so I'd like to know what I should do for the next application without relying on him.

Thanks again and I was very happy to see a brief reply from TW himself. No offense, Grasshole :). Much appreciated to you both.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 11:14PM
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None taken, sir.

If you are going to fill the gaps, you might as well remove the dead grass. It will allow the sand to fill the entire void.

Your soil test should let you know how to fertilize from here on out.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 11:29PM
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I apologize if this is a double-post. Still getting used to the forum. I have one more off-topic thing to add to this thread - last one I promise.

Mowing strategy given my leveling problems...and just in general. How long before I should attempt a first cut? I bought a Scott's Elite 16" for the back yard thinking I could have a little more control over accidental crown-scalping with the two wheel design (without the second set or bag catcher on the 20" Classic).

Should I wait until I have a couple of inches of growth or get to it after I notice things have progressed above 1". I know I should keep the height low to encourage horizontal growth for future turf-strength, but am not sure when to actually start that regimen or whether I should let things get a little higher.

Thanks again for any replies. Really excited about taking back my back yard. It's been a long time coming.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 11:56PM
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Go ahead and mow when it needs it.

If you are going to cut it to a height of one inch, mow when it is an inch and a half tall.

Just make sure it is not too wet and muddy from the heavy watering schedule that you use with new sod.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 12:27AM
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Hi - just posting a few pictures. I couldn't figure out how to attach the pics directly to a post, so out-linking to a flickr account.

One of pretty much 'day one' - you can see some unevenness between squares. One close up - three weeks in of a good seam. One close up - three weeks in of a very uneven seam (maybe an inch - but I have a few spots that may be two inch dips!). And finally, one close up - three weeks in of a 'patched' seam. As you can see that patching job is just a brown stripe at this point.

Any rate - thanks for your comments. I hate to say it but I'm almost looking forward to the hot/muggy weather to kick start the sod growth. It doesn't look bad by any means, but raring to go on some frequent cutting! Have a great week.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 8:47AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Here's one

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 8:45PM
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