We recently bought a newly built home in central Illinois with sod laid last fall. Year one has been unsuccessful to say the least. While a great deal may have to do with my inexperience, I reckon the low-cost job and clay soil also played a role in my lawn's inability to flourish.
I'm hoping the experts could provide advice on possible steps to take this fall to set us up for a successful year two. Symptoms today include 1-2 inch gaps between sod strips (assumed to not be butted and watered properly when laid), thick patches of white clover (peppering of clover would be fine, but we appear to have full sod strips of the stuff), and a crunching sound when walking the lawn (layer of thatch?).
I'm more than willing to put the work in, but want to ensure I'm doing the right work. On my mind for fall is a good aeration, over-seeding (bluegrass), top soil for the sod strip 'crevices', and a 13-13-13 fertilizer (wife desperately prefers organics, but I'm not sure we can do it).
Are these the right steps? Also, our dog is burning the grass. Would you suggest over-seeding bluegrass with something less vulnerable to the highly concentrated dog waterings?
Cheers & Thanks!