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New Turf - Brown Patches = Stress!

DuggyfreshDuggyfresh MidlandsPosts: 28
Hi - 

New turf advice please - after considerable clearance works we had a new lawn laid last week (decent guys, did a good job) and all seems to be going ok - after prep we put down a pre-seed fertiliser and have covered the lawn with 3x oscillating sprinklers that we use both early am and for a good hour early evening (tried the impact type initially but they were too much faff / fiddly to control etc) so the garden is getting plenty of water (as per glasgowdans advice!) See front and back photos below - this is a week in and from a distance it could be argued all looks well . . .? 



The majority of areas are already starting to take and you can see the roots growing through nicely when you lift a corner (the majority of sods are also getting difficult to lift) however we have a couple of 'brown/dry' areas that aren't performing like the rest of the garden. 

Middle 'Brown' Area (3x images) 

Top 'Brown' Area

We have been over watering the larger spot (by ensuring the sprinklers cross over at this point) however this doesn't seem to be making a difference and in the border adjacent the ground is now getting boggy/sticky (see image 4 where timber fence meets wire fence border)

Are we doing anything wrong? Should we continue to focus all watering efforts on these areas specifically or should we let the sun (now warm) hit the garden in the day and continue with the early am/pm daily schedule?

Alternatively - should we perhaps spike / aerate these areas and if so do we use a spiked roller type or a more substantial plug remover? Don't really want to walk on the grass yet but worried that we need to at least do something quick?  The contractor we used is away all weekend so hasn't responded to my texts - should they be sorting this with new turf? 

HELP!  Cheers 


  • Dave HumbyDave Humby HampshirePosts: 1,142
    It’s a very difficult time of the year to be laying turf. It may be the subsoil ground conditions that are causing the brown areas ie less top soil / more / drainage / poorer subsoil (clay / stones etc). I would keep going with your approach and you’ll no doubt see an improvement later in the year. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,201
    I'd agree with @Dave Humby. The timing probably wasn't the best for your climate/conditions. 
    Worst case scenario - if it's still a bit gappy [the joints aren't brilliant] and yellow by spring, you can reseed any poorer areas, but once autumn appears, and you presumably get more rainfall, it should help.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • amancalledgeorgeamancalledgeorge South LondonPosts: 2,308
    Can't imagine there's much you can do if you're going to lay turf in one of the hottest weeks of the year. Keep watering and hope you like grass cutting it will take an aeon to cut. We did our hard landscaping which it included a semi circle of grass last May...and despite the freakishly hot weather the lawn survived and has started to thrive this year. Like all other plants it needs a couple of years to settle properly, turf may look like an instant solution, it really isn't as it will take a while to root properly and thrive. 
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • DuggyfreshDuggyfresh MidlandsPosts: 28
    Agree with all points about timing not being ideal however the prep was pretty good and the reality is the majority of the turf looks good. 

    What I'm questioning is the specific poor area and what if anything (other than over water which I will continue with) we can do? I did spike the area yesterday (the idea being to relieve poss compaction) so will see where that leads. 

    Failing that do we complain to the contractor and get him to review? Do we wait to get into mowing in a couple of weeks? Do we add some top dressing and spread a little seed over the brown bits now or after its been established a little longer? 

    Pleaae advise Cheers
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,298
    I would just continue to water but be careful not to overdo it. Warm and wet can cause fungal problems if the grass isn’t growing strongly. 

    I definitely wouldn’t spike as that can lift the turf just when you’re wanting the roots to get growing down unto the soil. 

    I wouldn’t feed either ... lawn feeds tend to encourage top growth whereas you want to concentrate on root growth at the moment. 

    My strategy would be to keep off the lawn, keep it moist but not soggy, and be patient.

    It may well look worse before it looks better, but my bet is that next summer you’ll have a lovely lawn and you’ll wonder why you worried. 😉 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Dave HumbyDave Humby HampshirePosts: 1,142
    I think you're trying to do too much. I would just leave it and carry on watering. If you're on it with spiking it and other treatments such as top dressing you won't be helping as the turf just needs time to settle and grow in the right conditions. It doesn't want traffic on it. I will however contradict that a little and agree with @Fairygirl that I'd try and get some top dressing in the joint gaps as this is where they will dry out first. 

    When I took a look at the photos a second time it looked (generally) like the brown areas were confined to individuals rolls of turf which suggests it's not a ground condition issue but more local i.e. the specific strips of turf. That could be any one of a number of reasons so keep an eye on that. If only isolated strips are a problem you may consider speaking with the contractor but as said by others you won't really know what you've got until the end of the autumn or end of next spring. It needs time and the right growing and establishment conditions. Keep the cut at 2" or so this year and it's first cut(s) just nip the very top off.
  • DuggyfreshDuggyfresh MidlandsPosts: 28
    Thanks for all the general consensus is to leave it...mow it reg and then wait till spring? 

    @Dave Humby can you pls advise what I need to do with top dressing...what it should consist of etc and where. Also 're the strips issue what are your suspicions? Is it worth getting these relaid as they do seem localised...? 

    Cheers Chris 
  • Dave HumbyDave Humby HampshirePosts: 1,142
    In terms of ‘top dressing’ for the joint seams then any top soil or lawn sand will do. It’s not overly critical but you want to make good those openings. 

    As for the brown strips then as I said it could be any number of things and I’d just be guessing but maybe they were rolled up longer or at the bottom of the pile and got compacted or the growing medium they came from was not so good in those particular areas. 
  • Joy*Joy* Posts: 571
    You have been given loads of good advice but my first thoughts when looking at the pictures was that you have some really good turf at each end, which looks lovely but with some that is not as good (I'm probably being a bit generous there). t could be down to what is underneath but in case it is due to having some older or poorer turf layed, I'd get in touch with the contractor to get his advice. It is obvious from the verdant green areas that you give it TLC,  but if the brownish, shrinking areas don't pick up, you will have opened a door for him to be expected to do something about it. Usually,  people want satisfied customers but he can't do anything to help if he doesn't know there is a problem.  If you wait until much later to speak to him, you are more likely to get the blame for not looking after it correctly. 
  • DuggyfreshDuggyfresh MidlandsPosts: 28
    @Dave Humby...I think you are correct. The turf was laid from the rear end to the front on day 1, but they couldn't get the entire 240sqm on the flat bed in one go so interestingly or not the main 'brown' section is where they ended that day. They then returned the following day first thing and finished the remaining front section....the affected area would have been at the bottom of the pile and also out on the truck all day....wheres the front area was laid quickly and by 10am...

    On this basis do I have grounds to get them back and replace some of the worst sods? I've paid in full as to be fair they did a great prep job and were polite, hardworking and courteous!  
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