FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions
How often should I water my lawn?

It depends on your location and season. Please check the irrigation section for specific details.

What’s unique about Marathon ™ sod?

Southland Sod Farms pioneered the development of tall fescue sod in Southern California. Marathon® is Southland’s brand name for that species of grass. Although other growers now produce copies of Marathon under their own brand names, Southland continues to use its own varieties, including one that was ranked #1 by the US Dept. of Agriculture each year for the three years that it was tested.

In other words, just as different varieties of apples have different characteristics, so do different varieties of grass within a species have different characteristics—such as color, texture, and disease resistance—making some varieties superior to others. The varieties in the Marathon family have been selected to offer the best combination of desirable traits.

Additionally, Southland Sod uses different production methods that result in a denser turf. All of these attributes make a lawn of Marathon Sod very attractive, as well as its ability to hold up well. Southland has been growing this sod since 1983; and, due to strong customer satisfaction and loyalty, Marathon Sod has earned its reputation for quality while becoming the most popular sod in Southern California. And, in case you have a problem, Marathon Sod is guaranteed for one year.

What is the difference between Marathon (original), Marathon II, and Marathon III?

The Roman numerals “II” and “III” represent a progression of development toward slower growth and improved aesthetics over the original Marathon. The Marathon products are all tall fescue grass species and are significantly more durable than other cool-season varieties of sod available for use in Southern California.

Within the Marathon group, original Marathon is slightly more durable than the others, and its faster growth rate allows for quicker recovery from injury. Original Marathon was ranked the “number one” variety in US Dept. of Agriculture-sponsored tests for three years in a row. This ranking reflects strong disease resistance.

Both Marathon II and the newer Marathon III are exclusive dwarf varieties developed by Southland Sod’s research team with the requirements of the Southern California market area in mind. Focusing breeding selection criteria on creating dwarf plants allowed for a reduction in growth rate.

Marathon II and Marathon III can be mowed to between 1-1/2″ to 2-1/2″, while original Marathon should be left about 1/2″ taller. Overall, Marathon III offers the most manicured look and the slowest growth. Marathon II falls between Marathon I and III in growth rate.

Original Marathon should be used where wear and tear and recovery from injury are the top priorities. Marathon III should be used where a manicured look is more important than maximum durability.

What is the difference between Marathon and Marathon Lite?

The basic difference between Marathon and Marathon Lite lies in the growing process. Both Marathon and Marathon Lite use the same seed; however, Marathon Lite is grown without soil,using a hydroponic process that was developed and patented by Southland Sod Farms. The resulting turf is almost 50 percent lighter than traditional field-grown turf. As a result, the sod can be cut into larger pieces, thereby reducing installation time and effort. Furthermore, the optimum control of water and nutrients afforded by this growing process enhances the characteristics of finer texture, and increased density.

I can buy fescue from a discount warehouse. Why shouldn’t I save some money?

The fescue sold at discount warehouses is not the same as Marathon Sod. Although it is the same species, the sod sold at the discount warehouses originates with growers from marginal agricultural areas. To compensate for the extremes of weather where the sod is grown, it is sometimes dyed green to mask its inferiority (run your hand across the product, or ask the salesperson to do so). Also in order to cut production costs, less seed is planted, resulting in a lower density, shaggy looking turf. Finally, these growers use different varieties of seed than those developed for Marathon.

As mentioned previously, Marathon Sod contains Southland Sod’s company-developed varieties, including one that was ranked #1 in tests by the US Dept. of Agriculture three years running. Different varieties within a species have different characteristics such as color, texture, and disease resistance, and Marathon’s are superior to other varieties. In addition Southland’s production methods result in a denser turf. All of these attributes make Marathon a very attractive lawn, as well as one that holds up well. Southland has been growing Marathon since 1983; due to strong customer satisfaction and its constantly spreading reputation, the Marathon sods have become the most popular sods in Southern California. In addition, Southland Sod offers a one-year guarantee on its Marathon sods should there be a problem.

If possible, go to a discount warehouse and take a look at the sod in stock. When you compare it to Marathon, you’ll see the difference. The Dealer List section of this web site will help you find a Marathon retailer where you can inspect Southland’s sod.

Do you sell to homeowners? Why not? It doesn’t say in your advertisements that you’re wholesale only!

Southland Sod does not sell directly to homeowners, although your order will be delivered directly to your home from our farm after you have placed the order with one of our authorized dealers. Nurseries assist both Southland Sod and customers by providing convenient locations for distributing Southland’s information, collecting customer payments before delivery of sod (due to the perishable nature, advance payment is necessary), and exchanging all necessary delivery information. In addition, contracting nurseries carry Southland’s supporting product line of Marathon seed and fertilizer. In other words, Southland Sod and the nurseries work in a kind of partnership to better serve individual customers; therefore, Southland does not compete with the nurseries by selling retail. Southland Sod can be found on the internet in order to offer prospective customers information and referral to authorized dealers.

Do you install sod, or can you recommend someone in my area?

We grow and deliver sod to customers but do not install sod. If you want to install the sod yourself. Click Installation. If you would like someone to install it for you, ask your nursery for a recommendation or select a licensed landscape contractor from the internet. Be sure to specify that you want them to install Genuine Marathon Sod from Southland Sod Farms and not an imitation of lesser quality.

I’m a homeowner and would like to make the call for my landscaper. Why can’t I just get the price instead of having him or her call?

We sell wholesale only to licensed nurseries and landscape contractors. As a courtesy to your contractor Southland Sod will not quote our wholesale price to you. You are the nursery’s and contractor’s customer, and they are Southland’s—Southland Sod must respect that relationship, although we can tell you our suggested retail prices.

I’m not licensed but I am a contractor. Can I just get a rough estimate?

Southland Sod is not authorized to sell sod to unlicensed contractors and cannot quote the wholesale price; we can, however, give you our suggested retail prices.

What kind of sod should I use with dogs?

No sod is completely resilient to dogs. Hybrid Bermuda and St. Augustine are the most tolerant to dog urine; however, they too will burn. According to customer feedback burning seems to vary, probably due to varying soil moisture. A wet lawn will not burn nearly as easily as a dry one. In any case the Hybrid Bermuda and St. Augustine will recover, while Marathon will not. However, keep in mind that the Hybrid Bermuda and St. Augustine varieties are not green year-round, but become dormant in winter.

Why do I have mushrooms in my new lawn?

Mushrooms are caused by just the right combination of water, temperature, and humidity. Since they need constant moisture, mushrooms often appear as a result of the frequent watering needed by new sod. As the need for heavy watering decreases after the sod is established, the appearance of new mushrooms will decline radically. Be assured that mushrooms will not damage a lawn; just mow them off and reduce irrigating so that the lawn can dry out between waterings.

What’s the best method for watering and fertilizing my new lawn?

For watering a new lawn—see the Irrigation elsewhere on this website..

Why is there Bermuda in my Marathon lawn?

None of the weed killers that get rid of Bermuda can be used in a Marathon lawn without also killing the Marathon. Use Roundup® to spot treat the Bermuda-infested area and then re-sod or plant new seed. Be aware that Bermuda seeds are carried into the yard by birds and by wind. Also, Bermuda seeds can be carried in by gardeners if they adhere to the inside of a mower at another location.

How often should I water my lawn?

The frequency and duration of lawn waterning depends on the time of year and your sprinkler’s precipitation rate. Click on Lawn Care Irrigation for detailed guidance.

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