Marathon is the highest quality sod lawn in Southern California. In brief, here's what you'll need to know to keep in the green:
Watering New Marathon Sod
Water Sod lightly after each 200 square feet are installed, to prevent wilting. After all the sod is down and rolled, turn on your sprinklers and let them run until the sod is good and soaked. To keep it that way, for the first week water until runoff begins once every few hours at 7 am, 11 am and 2 pm. During the second week water twice a day at 7 am and 2 pm. During the third week water all Marathon Sod once a day at 7 am. Eventually taper back to once every two or three days. Adjust according to weather and season - water more frequently during warm/dry or windy weather. Do not water new sod between 4 pm and 4 am.
Please refer to the supplemental watering bulletin for watering tips during the hot/humid summer months (July-September).
Watering New Marathon Lite Sod
Marathon Lite is grown in an organic mat which has been designed for its moisture holding capacity. The Marathon Lite mat holds more water than soil and therefore needs less frequent irrigation during the early establishment period. Once the turf begins to root into the soil, irrigating Marathon Lite is the same as the field-grown Marathons. As a general rule, you can water the Marathon Lite once per day for the first three weeks. If dry spots appear in the lawn during the afternoon, the irrigation time should be increased. If dry spots persist, an irrigation uniformity problem is likely, and an additional sprinkler head may be required. After the first three weeks, you should begin to taper back to once every two or three days, depending on how quickly the sod is rooting. Generally speaking, as the root system grows deeper, irrigation frequency should be reduced.
Watering Established Marathon Sod.
After your lawn has become established (approximately 6 to 8 weeks), water according to the following guidelines:
- As infrequently as possible (once or twice a week in the cooler months, three or more times per week in the warmer months).
- For as long as possible to get deep soil penetration (up to 30 minutes). It may be necessary to cycle irrigate if runoff occurs after just a short time water until runoff occurs, then stop and wait for the water to penetrate (usually 1 to 2 hours), then repeat.
- As early as possible - first thing in the morning. Do not water between 4 pm and 4 am.
- Do not water areas in the shade as frequently as the areas of your lawn that receive full sun.
In addition, be sure to watch for a blue-grey tint and limp areas of your lawn. This is not a fungus. It is caused by dehydration and is an indication that immediate watering is needed. This will usually occur on tops of mounds, or areas where sprinkler coverage is not adequate. (It is acceptable to water in full sun, it will not burn the blades.)
For a watering guide in your area, please refer to the irrigation schedule calculator.
Begin mowing weekly one week after installation. Using a rotary mower, cut Marathon Sod at a height of 2 to 3 inches, Marathon II at a height of 1 1/2 to 2 inches. Marathon III should be cut at a height of 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches. Do not mow off more than 1/3 of the length of the grass blades at one time. A sharp mower is essential - white or yellow grass blade tips are the result of a dull mower. Always remove the grass clippings or use a mulching mower.
Fertilize one month after installation and every month thereafter throughout the fall, winter, and spring. Avoid fertilizing during July and August. If your lawn is yellowish light green in color overall it is an indication that fertilizer is needed. For best results, be sure to use Marathon All-Season Lawn Fertilizer - nitrogen-rich for quick greening, and formulated especially for your Marathon lawn. We also recommend the use of Marathon Sod & Seed Starter, which promotes strong root structure and quicker establishment. If you did not use any pre-plant fertilizer during soil preparation, we recommend using Marathon Sod & Seed Starter one week after installation.
Trouble Shooting Established Lawns (older than one month)
Brown lawn areas are most commonly caused by one of three types of problems: Improper watering, burn, or disease. Check for watering and burn problems first before treating for disease.
To check for lack of water use a screwdriver or knife to probe the brown areas of your lawn as well as the healthy green areas. If the brown area is more difficult to penetrate then a lack of water is likely. This is usually the result of poor sprinkler spacing or sprinkler malfunction. Saturate the area with a hose as soon as possible and continue to provide supplemental water until the sprinklers are repaired.
Excess water can cause turf to die by suffocating the plants roots or rotting its crown. This generally occurs in low spots or shady areas. Check for muddy soil, algae crusts, or slimy rotting grass. To correct problems in the shade reduce irrigation time to that area or replace the sprinklers with lower volume heads. Low spots must either be raised or drained.
Brown spots caused by a burn will result from pet urine (both male and female), over fertilization, gasoline spills, etc. Burn spots are distinguished from other types of damage by their "total kill" straw-yellow color. Dog urine burn spots that are over a week old will be surrounded by a dark green taller growing perimeter. If a burned area is thoroughly flushed with water in the early stage of damage some recovery may occur. Otherwise reseeding or sodding will be necessary.
Diseases are almost always related to heat and moisture. The most susceptible months of the year are July, August, and September. High humidity creates an ideal disease environment. However, poor irrigation practices can also promote disease development. The longer moisture stays in the turf foliage the greater the disease risk. Therefore, do not water at night, (between 4 pm and 4 am) since the lawn will stay wet until morning. It is best to irrigate between 6 am and 8 am. Weather permitting, do not water established sod everyday. Also, reduce fertilization in the summer.
When brown spots first appear observe them from one day to the next. If more develop you probably have an active fungus. During periods of high humidity small six inch diameter spots may multiply, overlapping to become a large area. The grass may be collapsed to a point of lying matted flat and rotting. This is symptomatic of the fungus pythium. Reduce the frequency of watering so that the diseased areas will dry out. Also, make sure that when water is reapplied it is between 6 am and 8 am. Lightly rake up collapsed matted areas to air out in order to prevent recovering shoots from suffocating. Use a broad spectrum fungicide such as Daconil or Fore as recommended by your nurseryman. Always apply the fungicides according to label directions. Another option is to call a lawn care service.
Spraying will usually stop the disease from spreading. Be patient with areas that have been damaged, often a high percentage of recovery will occur. If reseeding or sodding is required wait until the cooler times of the year.