New Sod lawn dying

nitin_kakkarJune 12, 2010


I have a small 1200sft backyard lawn. I put new SOD lawn in februry 2010 with bolero plus (Dwarf Fescue + 5% blue grass). The lawn came up fine till April and then grass started turing brown.

Naively I put in scotts turf builder #2 & then ironite (1 whole 20lbs bag!!) probably I put too much of these. Now in 2 months grass is turing brown there are some dead patches.

I am wondering if any one can please advice what can i do for spreading brown patches, will this parch ever become green again or is it gone for good?

Needless to say I am new to gardening & love to work in my lawn, but i dont know what to do.



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You probably will have to learn this one the hard way. There's no way to undo the effects of the fertilizer, etc. at this point.

Keep the remaining grass well watered so the sod continues to root well. Then wait until fall, put down seed in the bare spots, cover it with top soil, and water it well for a couple weeks (you cannot plant grass seed at this point of the summer, especially in a hot climate). Hopefully by next spring after the seed has had a chance to germinate all winter, the damage will not be so visible. At least the grass seed will have a good base in which to grow consisting of the dirt from the dead sod.

How did you prepare the ground before you put the sod down? Was it nearly smooth? Or were there rocks, twigs, etc.?

How did you apply the fertilizer? I hope it was with a spreader (one with wheels) with the correct setting and not with a hand spreader or just by throwing it.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2010 at 7:10AM
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I agree, but I wouldn't put dirt on top of the grass seed.
I would put a thin layer (about 1/4") compost or something like that. Putting too much dirt will make the lawn uneven and bumpy.


    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 8:38AM
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Whoa, hold on a second. The advice of seeding a Bolero Plus lawn isn't exactly great. Here's how I would handle this situation.

First of all, are you on a sprinkler system? If not, I would seriously consider a system if you're wanting to keep a lawn in any kind of consistent shape. They're actually not that difficult to install yourself.

Second, do you want it to remain Bolero Plus? If you do then I would strongly suggest NOT seeding it. The problem with seeding is that Bolero Plus has the potential of a 6 foot root system whereas any seed you buy at a local store is usually never going to get to 1 foot little long 6 so you will always have grasses competing against one another.

If you want to remain Bolero Plus, I have a feeling that the problem you had initially lies in your soil preparation. If you planted your sod right on top of good old San Jose soil then you essentially planted it in clay.

I live in San Jose and have had to learn about the soil the hard way. If you run a ph test on the soil, it looks great, in fact it's fantastic but the fact remains, it's still clay. If you planted just in San Jose soil then you might as well rip up the entire mess because you will be fighting it forever. There will be constant brown spotting and all sorts of growing pains.

So I would suggest doing some soil removal if you have to because in this soil, you want amendment at about 70/30, meaning 70% amendment and 30% regular soil. It might seem high but go out and dig down about 6 inches and grab out enough soil to form a ball about the size of a baseball. Check out the consistency and you'll see what I'm talking about. If you rub your finger over the ball does it seem like the soil breaks loose easily? I bet it doesn't.

That's NOT what you want to plant sod into. So I suggest no less and 18 inches of amended soil. Also add in a good lawn fertilizer as your mixing in the amendment. Try to save enough prior to finishing to add another inch or two on the top because you want to tamp down this stuff, just a little, don't want it compacted but you want some of the air out of it too. That's what you'll use the 1 or 2 inches of left over for, to recover what you tamp down.

Now, when you lay the sod, have a very large bucket or something that you can place the entire roll of sod into. Fill it with water and sink the sod into it so that the water covers it completely. You'll see the air bubbles finally stop once it's soaked through. Don't be afraid to be a little rough on the soil side of the sod because the dirt that holds it together isn't always the best stuff to plant with.

(Repost possibly?)
Roll it out, tamp it down lightly. If the roll is moving around then you need to figure out a way to move it around until it stops moving. After you roll it all out, don't be afraid to water it, in fact a good soaking won't hurt at all. You also need to water it every day for about two weeks. I water my grass every day but it's simple because everything is electronic and I don't usually waste water. Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 9:28PM
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What about reseeding w/Bolero Plus seed? I have the same problem as Nitnin and I'm not thrilled about ripping up my newly sodded lawn (March, 2012) just yet!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 1:33PM
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