Our sod 4 years ago had army worms when they delivered it to our home. Of course the builder did nothing because we had already closed.
Took me about a year and a lot of reading on Bermuda lawns to get things working. Was so mad I considered nuking my entire lawn, but it bounced back!
fp_911 Ugghhh that's brutal... what was like the biggest thing you learned about bringing back a lawn through all your research?
As someone mentioned above the Bermuda Bible should be studied and followed closely. But in summary here are my key points that helped me progress:
- The armyworms had done such a job on my yard that I did have to go buy about 10 rolls of sod. I knew the Bermuda would eventually grow but the HOA was bothering me (yes I got letters from them even though it was the builder's fault!) so I had to replace some sections.
- My builder simply plopped the sod on top of whatever construction debris was in the yard. So I had to dig up areas that seemed to have issues with growth. Underneath I found some 2x4s, a glove, a styrofoam cup, and a few other items.
- Since I'm in NC the land underneath the topsoil is clay. I recognized that this isn't any good so any mowing I did, I made sure to leave the clippings. Even if it looked bad I knew the soil had to be conditioned. I also started dropping a bag of milo every month on the lawn. It must have worked because now when I dig up the ground the dirt underneath is a real dark brown meaning it's great soil for growth.
- Next was to mow low. I have a Honda HRX217 which will go down to 3/4" so I did that. It sometimes looked awful but then I learned you have to mow often to keep that from happening. I then found some low spots so little by little I would try to level them out using sand to keep the mower from bottoming out. Eventually I did move to a greens mower but even with my Honda I was still able to get a lawn that people asked me about.
- Watering is a bit counter-intuitive. You'll want to keep your sod moist but once it's rooted stop watering frequently. Most of my neighbors were watering every day and their yards still looked like crap. I would water maybe once a week and only if we didn't have any rain. I did that to make sure my Bermuda grew strong. In fact even with these awfully high temperatures I just started watering about a week ago because my grass was really getting parched.
As I mentioned before it took about a year to get things established. I moved into the house in September and it wasn't until late the next Summer where things really took off. People assume I spend hours on the lawn but honestly I cut it once a week and it takes me about 90 minutes to do front and back, trimming, and cleanup. Getting it to that point is work but once you're there maintaining can be easy if you're not too picky.
Now I still have some subtle low spots I need to fix but it's almost where I want it. Here's a picture from 3 days ago. You'll see there are some brown spots because I was out of town and couldn't get the watering started until some parts got a bit damaged. But it'll be back to normal again soon: