There are many ways to propagate a new lawn or to patch in bare spots - seeding is often a go-to, particularly for home lawns. Unfortunately, many warm season grasses cannot be seeded, either because seed is highly variable and will result in a non-uniform lawn, or because hybrid varieties don’t produce viable seed. Instead, most warm season grasses are often established vegetatively, via sod, sprigs, or plugs.
Seed is great for overseeding into existing turf, patching bare spots, or for general renovations. Seeding is the slowest way to establish turf, but it is also usually the cheapest option. Centipedegrass, bahiagrass, buffalograss, zoysiagrass, and common bermudagrass – including Sunday’s Bermuda Time seed – all have seeded varieties. These are best planted in late spring, so seeds have enough time to establish before temperatures dip in the fall.
Sunday ProTip: Bermudagrass usually takes around 4-10 days to germinate, but some varieties can take longer.
Sod is large chunks or rolls of grass that can be laid directly on the soil surface for a quick groundcover. Sodding is the most expensive method of establishing a lawn, but it is also the quickest, since the grass is already actively growing. Warm season sod can be laid any time during the growing season.
Sprigs are small pieces of grass roots, shoots, rhizomes, and/or stolons – essentially pieces of sod chopped up and washed free of soil. Sprigs can be dormant, but it is better to plant when there is green tissue present, if possible, to allow for more rapid establishment. Sprigs should be planted between mid-spring and early summer.
Plugs are small chunks of actively growing turf that are planted into the ground – much like transplanting a potted plant in the garden. Plugging is a great option for filling in small areas with grass that can’t be seeded, and can be done anytime the grass is actively growing.
Once your warm season grass is established, be sure to keep it happy by following proper maintenance. Mow at the correct height for your grass, irrigate deeply and infrequently, sign up for a Sunday Lawn Plan, and most importantly – enjoy your lawn!
Bauer, S., B. Mugaas and B. Pedersen. Seeding and Sodding Home Lawns. University of Minnesota Extension.
Turgeon, A.J. and J.E. Kaminski. Turfgrass Management.