Ask A Lawn Sodding Expert
Owner Ben Schneider, The Sod Installation Guy, and his team answer common questions about fixing a lawn in the People Ask: Lawn Sodding Q&A.
Q&A to Fix My Lawn
If you have questions on whether you can salvage your current lawn, let us know. We’ll do our best to send you a response quickly and also post it below, make a video or place it on our blog for future reference.
Questions & Answers from Peak Sodding
What’s the most common lawn problem you see?
The most common lawn problem I see is a lawn installed without thought given to the type of grass chosen or the method of installation. Let’s take an in-depth look at new construction lawns.
In the Raleigh area, new construction lawns tend to be Bermuda installed directly on heavily compacted, post-construction clay with little or no topsoil. The grade tends to be lumpy, and the soil contains inadequate nutrition for the new sod. The result is an uneven and anemic lawn. Bermuda should be mowed frequently (every 4-5 days) and kept very short (0.5-1.5″ tall). Keeping it this short can be a real challenge if the grade is not correct and the lawn is lumpy. If this describes your lawn, there is hope!
You can start from scratch and install a lawn properly, but that may not be in your budget. We often work with clients whose front yard was sodded by the builder’s landscaper, but the back yard was not sodded at all; so we sod the back yard, and the difference between the back and front is significant. You can help the front yard (or any improperly installed lawn) by aerating and then applying a thin layer of Level Mix (70% sand and 20% compost), followed by raking the lawn with a leveling rake, once a year until the grade improves. With warm-season grasses, this is best done in May or June. This process raises the low spots and adds nutrition to the soil. It is a heavy, laborious task, but it is more cost-effective than re-sodding.
When the lawn is installed, it is important to take sun conditions into consideration as well as proper installation methods. Fescue lawns installed in full sun are going to struggle with our hot summers. Bermuda lawns installed on the shady side of the house will thin out and die over time. The old adage of “The right plant in the right place” comes into play here. For more information on the light requirements of specific sod varieties, click here.
Are there ways to troubleshoot lawn damage or lawn disease?
Prevention is always the best way to avoid disease in ourselves and in our lawn. The healthier we are, the more resistant we are to disease and the same applies to our lawns. With fescue, a fungicide applied every 14-30 days (depending on the product) when temperatures are above 60 degrees can help prevent fungal disease. It can also treat disease, and early diagnosis is always beneficial. With warm-season grasses, a spring application of fungicide is helpful, but the more critical timing is early October, and again in early November to help prevent the disease from occurring during our wet winters. Heavy rains can dilute these applications, so try to avoid applying fungicide when heavy rain is predicted.
You can also apply preventative insecticides to your lawn, but timing is critical and pesticides should be applied very carefully, and only according to directions.
The best preventative is a healthy lawn. If your lawn receives proper care, water, light , and nutrition, it is more equipped to fight disease and pests naturally. I always take the Integrated Pest Management approach. Click here to learn more.