A plush, green lawn can add to the aesthetic value of your home. If you’re a mom with a green thumb and up for a challenge, growing your own lawn can be an option. Aside from using grass seed or sod, using sod plugs might be ideal, depending on your location, grass-type preference and patience.
About Sod Plugs
Sod is often sold in slabs that can instantly form a green carpet in your yard. If you cut a sod slab into small pieces you end up with sod plugs. Commercially, plugs are container-grown and sold in plastic trays, after which they’re planted, using a technique known as plugging. Ideally, the pieces you purchase or cut have a good amount of soil on their roots and are between 2 to 4 inches in diameter.
Where and When
If you’re a mom living in the northern part of the country, where the climate is cool and the growing season is short, you might not find sod plugs in your garden center, because using sod plugs here isn’t a good idea. The plugs won’t have enough time to establish before the frost sets in. You’ll have to settle for cool-season grass seed or sod to establish your lawn. Gardeners in southern climates can start sod plugs in late spring or early in the summer.
Sod plugs might be an alternative if grass type of your choice can’t be established from seed and if you don’t mind waiting several months for the grass to spread and fill the yard. Grass types that are stoloniferous, meaning that they develop a horizontal, above-ground shoot, and spread via rhizomes, which are horizontal, underground stems, are strong and hardy and make good plugs. Examples include Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon), and zoysia grass (Zoysia spp.).
Sod plugs are best started in low-traffic areas where the soil is level, well-drained and has a pH range between 6.0 and 7.0. Planting plugs 4 to 6 inches apart, in 2- to 3-inch-deep furrows that are spaced 6 inches apart, makes for even coverage with minimal bare spots. Once planted, the plugs should resemble a checkerboard-like, staggered pattern. By consistently keeping the soil moist after planting, the plugs can establish and grow into a plush, healthy lawn.
Garden Wisdom and Know-How: Everything You Need to Know to Plant, Grow, and Harvest; Judy Pray
Jerry Baker’s Green Grass Magic; Jerry Baker
Virginia Cooperative Extension: Establishing Lawns
UCLA Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden: Stolon
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences: Zoysiagrass
University of Missouri Extension: Soil pH and Liming