Sprigging a New Lawn
Sprigging is a method of establishing a lawn by vegetative propagation. All
of the steps required to seed a lawn are taken, but instead of spreading
seed, you spread sprigs across the lawn.  A sprigged lawn requires about
10 bushels of sprigs per thousand square feet of lawn area to be spread out
and worked in.  Sprigs are simply shredded sod. Most of the time sprigging
is done with warm season grasses that spread by rhizomes and stolons.
Bermuda and Zoysia in our area of West Tennessee, Paris, Tn. Henry
County.  You will have to call your local sod farm and buy the sprigs unless
you happen to have a large patch of the grass type you could till up. Lets
assume you will order your sprigs. Till the lawn up just as you would do in a
new seeding project. Get the grade set, till the soil deep at least 4". Then get
your sprigs. Spread the sprigs over the soil by whatever means you have.
We use a front end loader. Sod farms will do it for you with a machine that
drills the sprigs into the ground. You can take them wheel barrow at a time
and spread them by hand if you have to. After they are spread out as even as
you can get them they will need to be incorporated into the tilled soil. You can
pull a large roller over the ground and press them into the soil, or take a tiller
and till them working them into the ground. The method doesn't really matter
as long as you get them in good contact with the soil.  After working the
sprigs into the soil, we cover them with straw just like you would after
seeding a lawn. It's not absolutely needed, but it does conserve water and
keeps them moist. Just like in a seeding project, if you don't keep the sprigs
moist they won't grow.  Since the sprigs are a living growing piece of grass,
they need to be watered just as soon as possible. Soak the ground until
water runs off then keep the soil wet. It will take a couple of weeks to see the
sprigs start to return to life. They will be green when you put them into the
soil, but then turn brown and look dead. Don't worry, when dealing with warm
season grasses like Bermuda and Zoysia, you just about can't kill it. Water
is the key, give it plenty.

They timing for sprigging is the same as for seeding Warm Season
grasses. First of May through July is acceptable in our area of Tennessee.
Farther north may not have as long of a window but farther south has a
longer window of sprigging dates. After sprigging and keeping it watered for
a couple of weeks you will start to see the sprigs come to life along with a lot
of weeds and junk grass you don't want right now. Don't worry too much
about the weeds now, fertilize the lawn every 2 weeks with small amounts of
nitrogen to encourage fast spreading of the stolons and rhizomes of the
grass you planted. Use about 4# of 15-15-15 per thousand square feet every
two weeks for the first 6 weeks. Then start using Ammonium Nitrate at the
rate of 3# per thousand sq. feet. The Bermuda or Zoysia will start to green up
and start crawling and putting out new stems and leaves. You will have a few
bare spots around but the Bermuda is a crawling grass and should cover all
of the spots by the end of the growing season.
After the grass and weeds have grown tall enough to start mowing, about 3"
tall, mow the grass tall the first time, right at 2". Remember this is warm
season grass and can be cut shorter than fescue grass.  After mowing the
grass twice you can start putting weed control on the lawn. If you have a
sprayer that pulls behind a lawn mower, the type with a 15 or 20 gal tank and
a 12 volt pump you can spray the lawn easily. You can do it with a hand
sprayer it will just take a long time.  A good chemical to use is MSMA while it
is still available, there is talk that it will be taken off of the market soon.  It is a
grass and broadleaf weed killer that works well on bermuda without hurting
the bermuda. Always follow label instructions when using any chemical, and
if your not comfortable and completely understand what your doing, hire a
professional. If you use the MSMA, you will spray monthly through the
growing season and it will keep the crabgrass, goosegrass, barnyardgrass,
and some 60 other annual grassy weeds and broadleaf weeds out.

With a sprigging project, you must keep the grass watered, keep it fertilized
and keep the weeds out, and keep it mowed short. Mowing short
encourages lateral growth which is what crawling grasses like to do. Do
these things and you will have complete coverage in 6 to 8 weeks if you
follow all directions.  Good Luck on your new lawn and email us if you have
any questions.
Questions? Email us
Plugging is much like sprigging in the objective. You are placing several live
pieces of grass in the lawn with the intention that it will spread together
making a solid lawn of the grass you plugged. The closer you can put the
plugs the faster the lawn will grow together, as a general rule, put them
1foot apart on a row and column pattern. You can use a large tulip bulb
planter to make holes in the lawn, take some chopped up sod of the variety
you are going to install, just wad up a hand full and stuff it into the holes as
tight as you can.