Early this spring, I put down new sod. The grass looked incredibly
healthy for several months. But now, although it's still very thick,
the grass is starting to look yellowish. It's not underwatering, as I
know the gray-green tinge underwatering causes. I have not
fertililized the lawn since I laid it down (except for the starter
fertilizer). I cut the grass high at the mower's highest setting, and
use a mulching blade. (The mulched clippings are fine enough not to
be visible on the lawn.) I deep soak the lawn three times a week. I
feel like I'm doing everything "right" but still, it's looking
yellowish. Any suggestions?
Sod never really roots. Sod is extra susceptible to every lawn
malady. Sod is like hydroponic lawn. If sod is not greening up it
probably needs nitrogen. It's not possible to sucessfully grow sod
withoiut an automated sprinkler system. Sod requires daily watering
and constant [time release] fertilizing and pesticides. Sod is for
those who have no patience and have more dollars than brain cells.
Sod can't compete with a seeded lawn.
Iron? 3x per week is too much. Define deep soak? Most grass needs
watering to an inch deep to encourage the roots to grow deeper. How
large an area, what type of sprinklers and how long do they run? Are
you on a slope? Do you use a lawn contractor?
1000 sq. feet of lawn requires 1000 x .62 gallons (.62 gallons covers
1 sf to a deph on 1 inch) gallons of water to apply an inch of
So, if you have 1000 SF to water, you need to apply 620 gallons of
water per week (abscent rain).
If your sprinkler delivers 3 gallons per minute, you need to water the
same area for 3.44 hours.
If you have a slope, then you still need the same amount of water, but
it must be applied incrementally to prevent runoff.
We used to grow annual rye for a few years then seeded perennial.
Sod is quick I know I had to help a friend get it down before it self
destructed due to heat buildup. Speak of composing without trying.
My question is what does your sod sit on ?
Seems like great advice!
S Jersey USA Zone 5 Shade
http://www.ocutech.com/ High tech Vison aid
Just for grins, try three things:
1) Get down and look at the cut blades closely. Are the tips torn-looking
Sharp lawnmower blades leave a nice "cut" looking edge, while dull ones
look ragged. The ragged edge often gives a yellowish or brownish cast
to the lawn
Also examine the grass blades for brown or yellow or reddish spots or
or pustules (a sign of fungal diseases)
2) Lift a piece of sod in the yellowest portion -- not a big piece, or very
deep... what you're looking for is to see if the roots are penetrating
the soil underneath, if the roots look healthy, and if you see
signs of insect activity. Also check to see if the native soil under
the sod is as damp as the sod. You can also check for excessive thatch
buildup (though I'd be surprised if you have much in this new a lawn).
At the same time you do this, collect some of the native soil underneath
the sod for soil analysis if you hadn't done that before sodding.
At a minimum, I'd like to see soil pH, P, K and Fe.
3) Apply some fertilizer to a small section; something with fairly
high ratios of N to P and K. Watch the area for fairly immediate
greening up. Be prepared to live with that spot a little greener
than the rest of the lawn for a year or three if you do this
What species is/are in the lawn? What have the temperatures been like,
day and night?
What do the local golf course fairways look like?
My bets, without more information, are on bad mower blades, heat stress,
How about overwatering? Did you put the sod down over a clay cap by any
chance? We once put sod in our little condo yard and after a few weeks of
careful watering, it went yellow and died, too. Turned out that the
contractor who had built the place had scraped up and sold all the top soil
so what we were left with was just clay to plant things upon/in. The clay,
of course, held the water and we drowned the poor sod.
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