Help! New sod installed 6-7 weeks ago.

Asked June 21, 2019, 2:06 AM EDT

Installed sod in Ashland Oregon about 6 weeks ago. Lawn is turning sort of a dingy color in spots and looks great in others. What is going wrong? Watering every other day for 20 minutes...it looked great 2 weeks ago. I will take pictures tomorrow.

Jackson County Oregon lawns and turf horticulture

3 Responses

Thank you for the photos. Unfortunately, the information we need to help you is not determinable from the photos alone. For instance, what is the mixture of grasses in the sod? If there is a bluegrass in the mix,that type of grass does not do well in hot weather in our area and might be why certain areas are turning brown. Did you have the sod professionally installed? If not, did you prepare your base carefully and test for the proper fertilizer content and pH of the soil before laying the sod? Ashland has quite a mix of different soils depending on the area of town you are in. Decomposed granite is nutritionally poor, but very fast-draining; soils in the Bear Creek floodplain can be rich, gravelly and uneven. East of town there is clay,sometimes with an impermeable (by water) hardpan about 8 to 12 inches down. Lack of drainage and/or lack of fertility can cause browning out. Although you watered heavily, we don't think there is much chance of a fungal infection at this stage. Although we have had hot days when fungal troubles thrive, your grass should have been treated with an anti-fungal before it was harvested. Established lawns need 1 inch of water a week, in general. Your present water schedule of 20 minutes every other day , if you have good drainage, should be okay. If a professional laid the sod, you should contact him to look at the installation and make a judgment as to what to do,. If you are on your own, an excellent source of information about lawns can be down-loaded free at extension.oregonstate.edu/publications. Search for EC 1321, "Practical Lawn Care for Western Oregon " by Alec Kowalewski. Thank you for using Ask an Expert.

  • Firecracker, Dynamite, and Titanium Tall Fescue was the sod we installed. We live in shaded forest area the lawn receives between 4-6 hours worth of sun per day. Mostly in the morning and early afternoon, since the lawn is on the east side of our home.
  • We did not have it professionally installed...did it ourselves.
  • Prepared the base by leveling the yard, picking out many small 2-3 inch in size rocks, brought in 10 yards of top soil to go over the Decomposed Granite, and tested the PH which came out between 6.5-7.0, also added Scott’s Starter Fertilizer 10-10-10 and lightly watered before laying the sod.
  • We did not test for the proper fertilizer content. I did fertilize it about two weeks ago with the starter fertilizer again.

Thank you for the additional information. Unfortunately, all of the grasses you list are the same--tall fescues. Two are called "lateral spreading" types, which are engineered to create a very hardy turf,. Tall fescues are best in cool weather and moderate heat. One of the varieties you note is resistant to brown spot; the others are not treated to resist this fungus. Most of the descriptions of these three seed types recommend moderate water. Perhaps you can measure the amount of irrigation by setting some small flat empty tins (such as tuna cans) at a series of feet from the sprinkler or other source--say 1,3, 6 and 10 feet out. Measure the inches or partial inches in each can to see how much water you are giving the grass. As noted, 1 inch a week is the recommended amount. We can find no fault with your description of the installation--sometimes sod takes a while to establish itself. If the brown areas do not increase, you might just have to be patient and give the grass a chance to get established. If more appear, you can get further advice by taking your photos and perhaps a sample of the brown areas to the OSU Extension Office, 569 Hanley Rd (Rte.238) Central Point and ask the plant clinic there eto examine the grass. You will also find more information on the heat tolerance of lawn grasses by searching the publications online at extension.oregonstate.edu/publications.