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LAWNS: PLANTING[continued]

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  MG Manual Reference
Ch. 12, pp. 20 - 22

[Planting: seeding | installation tips | plugging ]


Plugging and sprigging are additional ways to vegetatively establish turfgrasses which have strong vegetative growth characteristics. All bermudagrasses, zoysia- grasses, St. Augustine and buffalograsses can be established from plugging. Bermudagrass is also established be sprigging (stolonizing). The other grasses mentioned above are not easily established from sprigging.

Plugging involves transplanting plugs of mature grass from either trays or cut sod pieces which contain soil and roots. Plugs in trays are usually 2 1/2 by 2 1/2 inches. Zoysiagrass is often available in plugs. Plugs should be placed in pre-dug holes in the yard and filled tightly with soil and tamped moderately into place. Plugs of Zoysiagrass should be planted on 6-12 inch centers for faster establishment, since zoysiagrass is a slow grower. Bermudagrass plugs are easily made from sod pieces and can be transplanted on 12-18 inch centers. Planting plugs on six inch centers requires 4000 plugs per 1000 square feet. On twelve inch centers, only 1000 plugs are required for each 1000 square feet of lawn. After plugging, water the lawn thoroughly. Then water twice per day for two weeks. Once the plugs "take" and can no longer be pulled up, fertilize the entire area with 1.0 pound of nitrogen fertilizer per 1000 square feet and water the entire lawn area. Then water once per day for 12 days. After two weeks, fertilize again (as before), and water every other day or so, until the lawn fills in. Adjust the irrigation for rain. Remember, bermudagrass will fill in much quicker than zoysiagrass from plugs.

Sprigging and stolonizing are synonymous terms. This is based on spreading stolons on the ground and allowing these stems to root in the soil. Remember that the stolons and accompanying leaves have absolutely no root system at all and must be kept moist the first two weeks if they are to root and survive. For successful sprigging of a new lawn follow the guidelines listed below.
  1. Kill all existing vegetation (see previous section).
  2. Prepare the soil as you would for a seed bed (see previous section).
  3. Drag a pointed spade shovel across the yard to make furrows. The furrows should be about one inch deep and spaced about 10-12 inches apart.
  4. Hand sprig the area. Plant about 50% of the sprigs in the furrows. Plant the other 50% by dropping them between the furrows.
  5. With the back of a garden rake, cover the furrows with 50% of the stolons exposed.
  6. Lightly rake the remaining area slightly covering the stolons with soil, as best as possible.
  7. Roll the area in two directions with a heavy roller. Rollers are available at garden rental centers.
  8. Quickly cover the stolons with a wheat straw mat. Apply about 1/2 bail to 1000 square feet. The mulch will help conserve moisture. Do not apply large amounts of straw. This would shade the stolons too much.
  9. Quickly water the soil.
  10. Irrigate the newly sprigged area up to 5-6 times during the day for two weeks. Suggested starts would include 10:00 am, 12:00 noon, 1:00 PM, 2:00 PM, and 3:00 PM. Water only enough to wet the top 1/4-3/8 inch of soil.
  11. After two weeks, about 5-10% of the soil will show green turf. These areas will rapidly fill in after doing the remaining steps.
  12. Remove all straw by hand or lightly raking.
  13. Fertilize the lawn with 1.0 pound of actual nitrogen per 1000 square feet. Water in.
  14. Water twice per day for two weeks. Apply 1/4 inch of water per day.
  15. Apply 1/4 pound of actual nitrogen per week and irrigate once per day (at 1/4 inch) until the lawn is 90% filled in.

Allow for obvious corrections in rainfall. Do not stolonize bermudagrass past the following cut off dates:
Tucson -- July 15
Phoenix -- July 30
Yuma -- August 1
Globe -- June 15
Cochise County -- June 15
Prescott (transition) -- June 10
Do NOT overseed any new bermudagrass lawn the first year.

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