Landscaping in America

Lawncare solutions for America's homeowners

Understanding how sprigging can be used to establish a lawn.

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Sprigging illustration


Sprigging is a method of planting a new lawn where single grass plants at set intervals so the grass can fill in across the bare soil.

Sprigging can be accomplished either mechanically or manually. It normally involves planting sprigs (stems or runners with 2 — 4 nodes or joints in the grass blade) in furrows 1" — 2" deep and 10" — 18" apart.

Sprigs should be placed at 4" — 6" intervals within the cultivated furrows. Shallower planting results in a more rapid establishment. The ideal placement leaves about 1/4 of each sprig above ground after planting. Roll or tamp the soil around sprigs after planting and keep the upper surface (1" — 2") moist by daily, light watering until the grass is well rooted and spreading out.

In large areas, it is best to sprig and water smaller sections at a time. Sprig warm-season turfgrasses at least 2 months before the first fall frost in order to allow enough time for the sprigs to spread out and take root.

Mechanical Sprigger

There are several methods of planting sprigs

One method is to cut shallow furrows in the prepared planting area by using a push-plow or the edge of a hoe. Place the sprigs from one end to the other, or about every 6" — 12" along the row. Cover a part of each sprig with soil and firm by rolling or stepping on the furrow. The closer together the sprigs are planted, the faster the grass will cover the soil. Rows should be placed no further than 6" — 8" apart.

A second method is to place the sprigs on the soil surface at the desired interval end-to-end, about 6" apart, and then press one end of the sprig into the soil with a notched stick or a dull shovel. A portion of the sprig should be left above ground exposed to the light. Each sprig should have some leaves, but a single node will do if the stolon has no leaves.

Regardless of the planting method, each sprig should be tamped or rolled firmly into the soil. This will help keep the sprigs from drying out. As with seeding, soil must be kept continually moist— not wet— until rooted. Watering lightly 1 2 times daily will be required for several weeks. Mulching can also be used in vegetative planting for moisture conservation and erosion control.

Another method of sprigging, which is used where rapid cover is needed, is stolonizing or broadcast sprigging. The sprigs are prepared by mechanical shredding or hand tearing of sod into individual sprigs, or purchased by the bushel (most common method used with bermuda). The material is broadcast, like a mulch, over the area by hand. Sprigs are then cut into the soil with a light disc or covered with ½" of soil topdressing, rolled, and watered. This method provides very fast coverage.

Since sprigs are planted at a shallow depth, they are susceptible to drying out. Frequent watering's are necessary until roots become established.