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Did I Screw up my lawn??

1687 Views 8 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  jayhawk
Fellow lawn fanatics,

I'm glad to be a part of such an informative forum and look forward to crafting my yard all summer with your input, feedback, and advice. I live just outside ATL on a pretty steep slope in the front and a gentler slope in the rear. I laid zoysia sod in OCT of last year and was excited to get a fresh new lawn after losing the entire yard of fescue to fungus and heat. Another story for another day.

Shortly after the sod went down I purchased a used Trucut H-20 from a friend and was excited to use it. I anxiously awaited the Spring for the opportunity to use the new mower on the new sod and get the fairway lawn I've always wanted. However, I noticed significant undulations on the rear grade and wanted to apply a layer of top dressing to flatten things out; And just to be sure I had the season off to a good start, I did the front as well.

I anxiously awaited the weather to finally warm up and the turf to come out of dormancy after a relatively mild April. At last, consistently higher temps arrived and my appointment was set. Top dressing here we go.....the turf company arrives and the technician immediately points out (2) drainage pipes coming from my roof downspouts and suggested they be rerouted to prevent the water from washing the sand down the slope. I had officially been warned. Impatiently I told him to proceed and that I would call someone out to take care of it.

Several days later we had a significant downpour after which I noticed the sand sliding down the slope and creating ripples. The ripples were more exaggerated in the rear than in the front due to the slow growth of the new sod. The front also had noticeable ripples but recovered at a much faster rate. At this point I began to freak out. Several days passed and after the sand dried I decided to rent a lawn roller to try and roll out some of the grade issues at the front. It definitely made a difference.

I'm nervous that I've not only made the undulations at the rear worse by adding the dressing but also smothered the sod and possibly killed it in some locations.

Before I make any attempts at the rear, I wanted to ask some questions.

Question 1.

Should I actually be concerned about the sod at the rear recovering or am I just being impatient by not giving it the time it actually requires to recover.

Question 2.

Is there any way to respread the existing sand in the rear possibly with a drag mat? Or should should I roll the rear as well? Would I compact the sand and potentially create a more catastrophic result? I'm reluctant to do any thing except continue to cut it at .78

Any help would be much appreciated. At this point I'm concerned about losing another 1500 sf of turf two years straight!

Before top dressing - Front

Top dressing day 1 - Front

Day 11 (5/23)- Front

Before top dressing - Rear

Top dressing day 1 - rear

Day 11 - Rear

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First thing I'd say is, take a breath it will be fine. I don't see any reason you would lose the new sod unless you don't water it and there's no rain at all. Part of the reason so many of us enjoy the lawn is that it is a perpetual work of art that is always presenting new challenges. It takes some time and experimentation to learn how to respond to the different situations that come up. The best part is that short of letting weeds take over and ignoring the lawn altogether, it usually will bounce back. Remember, your lawn today is a result of what has happened to it over the last several months. I killed large chunks in my back yard with a large overdosing of some weed killer this spring and most of that has just about recovered now.

It's still a little early in the season. I too added some new sod last fall and put sand on it this spring. It's about 90-95% grown in. I have been putting fertilizer and extra nitrogen down every 3-4 weeks to speed up the growth over the sand. It's workong, but still have a little ways to go. There are spots where the sand got "messed up" and moved from where it should be, but I just put it back flat with a rake or even just my foot and once the grass grew over it, it was good and now the sand is "locked" in place.

So just address the problems as they come. I would just rake the sand back to where you want it, keep it watered and fertilized. Be sure to put down a good pre-emergent and address any weeds that come up with spot spraying. Just take it a step and a day at a time. All the little things you do will add up over time and you'll have that golf course lawn you want in no time.
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