centipede sod turning brown.

bopsyJuly 11, 2014

we had sod installed on Tues 7/8/14 and it look good when installed, but now it got area's turning brown. We are water per the landscapers instructions. He told us to water each zone 1 hour in the mornings. Will the brown patches go away or is that grass dead?

Thanks to anyone who can help.

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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

It does look to be over watered. How much water does your system put out in an hour? My neighbor's system puts out 3 inches per hour. Mine puts out 1/8 inch. You can measure by putting out some tuna or cat food cans before the sprinklers go on.

Most new sod gets watered 3x per day for 10 minutes. I've never heard of a landscaper giving the advice you got.

Ask the landscaper to come look at it. Centipede is one of the really weird grasses. Why did you pick that instead or something normal like St Augustine or hybrid bermuda?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 4:01PM
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Thanks for the reply. Honestly I would have preferred bermuda but since our front yard had centipede installed the landscaper said to do the same in the back.
Since this landscaper works for our builder and not us when I asked the builder to ask him why its turning brown. The only response I got was the only reason why it should turn brown is because of not enough water and we have been watering it like crazy. So he will not come and look at the yard.
I think its to much water but landscaper told builder to tell me you can't over water it.
So honestly I am very lost. We purchased the sod builder payed to have it put in, and now I have not help and they will not answer questions.
If it is over watering, should I just cut down the water or miss a day to let it dry out some? Will it come back or are those sections just dead?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 5:24PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Wish I could be more helpful. We get very few centipede issues here and zero centipede installation issues.

Centipede will grow back in to refill any dead spots, so that's good. But you have to have some living grass for that to happen.

If it were St Augustine I would say it was a fungal disease caused by too much water. Can you get very close and take a picture of the grass right where it turns from green to brown? Here's a sample picture of St Augustine showing the disease lesions I'm looking for.

The grass should be spotless. Any spots like those indicate disease. This time of year it is too hot to use chemical fungicides, not that those have much value. I have had excellent results using ordinary corn meal to cure disease in my lawn. I seem to get some every year. The application rate is 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet. You can buy it in 50-pound bags at your local feed store (call first). Price should be around $10.

Corn meal is a biological approach as opposed to a chemical approach. Corn attracts a predatory fungus which kills the disease fungus. That process takes about 3 weeks to see results.

I would back off a little on something. Either back of on frequency or the time. Normally, as I mentioned, a 10-minute misting, 3x per day is what people do for new sod. That keeps just the surface of the soil, where the roots are, moist. Soon enough the sod will knit to the underlying soil and you can back way off on watering.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 5:52PM
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pic 1

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 6:03PM
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green part looks like this

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 6:04PM
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another patch of brown close up

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 6:05PM
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final pic of brown area's. Not sure but these look dead.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 6:06PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Certainly these blades of grass are dead but that doesn't mean the roots or stolons are dead. Let's be positive. (Looks positively dead to me ;-)

Seriously, it really looks diseased. It's not identical to my picture, but you can see lesions on both dead and green grass. I'd stop watering every day and get some corn meal on it. You'll have to apply to the entire lawn to be sure you caught it all. I would repeat the corn meal in a month.

In addition to being antifungal, corn meal is a weak organic fertilizer at that rate. Applying fertilizer to centipede is asking for trouble, but I'm not sure if that only applies to chemical fert or organic too. Again, there are almost no experts on centipede lawns in any forum I read. Texas Weed is the only one who has any info at all, and he just says to ignore it for best results.

One hour seems like a crazy amount of water for an in-ground system. With these pictures I would not even back off to 3x per day. I would skip tomorrow and possibly Sunday. Let this stuff dry out. When you apply corn meal, mist the top of it to dampen the corn. Then don't water again unless the grass looks dry. When my St Aug gets looking like this, the corn meal brings it all back at one time. So the large brown spots don't need to refill. They are all alive underneath, so once the disease is gone from the surface, it all returns. Let's cross our fingers that centipede does the same.

Can you try lifting a piece of the sod to see if it has knit into the underlying soil/sand? I would not expect to at this early age. Lift carefully. You don't want to undo any root penetration at this point. The problem is with dead blades, the roots aren't getting any sugar so they don't grow.

If you can't find corn meal, ask for cracked corn. Whole corn will give you a forest of corn plants. Cracked corn will give you the occasional corn plant, but one hit with a string trimmer and it dies.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 7:43PM
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Can you pull up the edges of the sod? If so, is the ground below moist? I disagree with the above anylsis, it looks to be going dormant because of lack of water. Is it crunchy to the touch? What time of day are you watering? You should be watering twice a day while the sod takes, once in morning and once in evening. If you find it still looks brown you can increase to three times per day. It is key to keep the root system moist while it is new. Did your landscaper apply a starter fertilizer to the subsoil before placing sod?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 7:46PM
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When I pull the sod back and look underneath it is moist/wet/soggy depending on the piece I pull up. On the brown patches I don't see any roots trying to grow out the bottom but on the green patches I do.
I don't believe he applied anything to the soil first just used a front loader to pull up old grass and loosen soil then smoothed it checked grade and applied sod.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 7:56PM
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dchal_san_antonio thanks for the reply will get some corn meal and try that to see if it helps.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 7:58PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Well now I'm curious about Dellonb's suggestion. Does the fact that it's soggy underneath change your thoughts on this? Because I agree that he should have been watering 2x or 3x per day. But if he was going to do that, I would only water only 5-10 minutes each time with an underground system. He was going a full hour. I'm guessing that's waaaaay more than an inch of water.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 8:06PM
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Dchall - when I said I disagree with the above post, I wasn't referencing yours. I was speaking of the first reply regarding water. After reading your reply I think you may be correct regarding disease. I just know when I sodded TifSport last year I had an area on the side of my house that looked very similar and it was due to lack of water. I have no experience with centipede.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 8:27PM
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I am watering with just sprinklers attached to hose not an in ground system, so not sure how much water it is putting out. I will try to measure it.....still don't know if I should water or not.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 8:56PM
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I might be giving the landscaper a call....why would they install diseased grass? This is a picture from the day it was installed.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2014 at 9:00PM
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Is your soil clayish or sandy? Or regular soil?
Centipede sod does really well over sandy soil.
Centipede doesn't go dormant at all, when it dies, it dies.
It needs lots of water when it is established, and you just laid your sod in this heat, so water it real good many times a day, if you are using a regular old fashioned sprinkler, you are moving it around in sections all day long I guess.
You are not over watering it.
Don't let it dry, did you feel that you could easily just pull up the sod? No rooting at all yet?
The landscaper is going to blame you if the sod dies, and I'm sorry to tell you it looks like some of it is dying.
I have a horrible time with centipede and I live with poor sandy soil, just the soil centipede is meant for.
It never rains where I live, so the grass suffers.
Good Luck with it, keep watering it til it roots in, whatever is alive.
When it does take hold, it is aggresive grass, and will recover nicely, just water it 1 1/2 inches of water per week, more than other grasses, and it will grow nice.
I actually had centipede growing up my fence, honest, that is how aggresive it can be. LOL!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 10:16PM
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Thanks for all the replies, I had a landscaper come out and he told me that it was looking okay and that about 90% of it should make it....that the area's that are brown not to worry yet they might still come back. We water it to the point there are puddles standing and then I check it through the day to see if it is in need of more water. Other then when they where laying the sod it has been kept very watered. I have check different area's for rooting and even some of the brown area's seem to be rooting. So hopefully it works out.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 6:30PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Please keep us informed what you're doing and how it seems to work. Centipede is a mystery to most of us.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 3:29AM
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