Lavery's Sod Farm, Inc.                           Call Today: (540) 268-1220
Sprigging (Bermudagrass)
   

Lavery's has the ability to sprig both of our bermudagrass varieties on your field or playing surface. Sprigging can be a very cost-effective alternative to sod, while still producing quick results.
  • Our sprigger is pulled behind a tractor, and works by feeding the bermudagrass sod through a row of chopping blades, which cut the sod into many separate pieces (sprigs), which are dropped onto the planting surface & then rolled into the soil for maximum soil contact.
  • Minimum-impact conversion can also be done by sprigging bermudagrass into existing turf. Contact us for more information & to decide if this is the right choice for your project.
  • See our pictures & videos below to get a better idea of how our sprigging process works.
Sprigging Latitude 36 into one of our fields (May 2012)
Click on pictures above for larger view & description
Sprigging Checklist:
  • Pre-planting: The field should be clean and free from contaminating seeds or plants prior to tillage. Methyl bromide fumigation would be the most costly, but most effective option.  A second option is multiple applications of glyphosate. To prepare for sprigs, the surface should be firm and smooth with marginal soil moisture before sprigging. Excessive moisture will result in ruts from sprigging equipment.
  • Planting: In southwest Virginia, the optimal time for sprigging is between mid-May & July. It is very important that the sprigs have adequate time to grow & root prior to the first frost (normally in October). Sprigging rates can range from 400-1000 bushels per acre. We use a conversion of 5 sq. ft. of sod = 1 bushel of sprigs. Higher sprigging rates will result in faster grow-in & sooner playability. Lower sprigging rates will use less sod & cost less, but require more time for grow-in. Grow-in time will range from 60-120 days depending on sprigging rates, moisture management, & weather.
  • Water: Sprigs must be irrigated immediately after planting. An automated irrigation system is ideal but not required. An irrigation plan that relies solely on Mother Nature is not recommended. Sprigs must be kept moist for the first 3-4 weeks after planting, ideally with light & frequent irrigation. Long periods of standing water in the field should be avoided. After the sprigs have rooted, the amount of water per application should be increased while the frequency is decreased to promote deep rooting of the turf. The following is a sample irrigation plan:
    • Weeks 1-2: Irrigate during daylight hours 3-4 times per zone. Each irrigation application should moisten the soil 3-4 inches deep. Irrigate 1 time each night to moisten the soil 3-4 inches deep. If standing water results from the schedule, reduce the nightly irrigation cycle.
    • Weeks 3-4: Irrigate during daylight hours 2-3 times per zone. Irrigate 1 time each night. Each application should moisten the soil 3-4 inches deep.
    • Weeks 5-6: Irrigate 1-2 times during daylight hours & 1 time at night.
    • After Week 6: Apply irrigation in a manner consistent for mature turf utilizing the principle of deep & infrequent watering cycles to promote a healthy root system.
    • Note that irrigation rate & duration will vary depending on soil type. The amount of sand vs. native mineral soil, water percolation rates, water pressure supplied to irrigation heads, wind/temperature variations, & rainfall will all affect your irrigation schedule.
  • Fertilization: Apply Dolomitic limestone before planting according to soil test recommendations. Apply fertilizer with oxadiazon at time of sprigging. Apply 19-19-19 at 100-200 lb/acre on weeks 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 after planting. Apply ammonium nitrate or ammonium sulfate at 100-200 lb/acre on weeks 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 after planting. A second, low rate application of oxadiazon may be required after week 12. Resume normal fertilization on week 14 (applying .5 to 1 lb N/1000 sq ft. every 3-4 weeks).
  • Mowing: Begin mowing when sprigs have rooted & cannot be pulled from ground (week 3-4). Remove only small amount of tissue from plant during initial mowings.  Irrigation cycles may require modification to avoid rutting up fields during mowing. Mowing heights of 1-1.5 inches are acceptable during grow-in. As the turf matures, mowing should be performed at frequent intervals to maintain the turf at the desired height while not removing more than 1/3 of the leaf tissue during each mowing. Once the turf is completely grown-in, these hybrid bermudagrass varieties can be mowed at low heights (down to 0.5 inches). However, lower mowing heights require specialized mowing equipment & proper turf maintenance to maintain optimal turf characteristics.
  • PGRs: Plant growth regulators can be applied to mature turf to help regulate rapid growth. Consult your chemical supplier for more information & recommendations.
  • Pest management: Inspect turf closely for insect & worm activity (armyworms, cutworms, & sod webworms) during grow-in. Treat as needed. Herbicides should be used cautiously after week 8 to avoid damaging the turf while treating for weed problems.
  • Improving winter hardiness: Gradually raise the mowing height in the fall to approximately 1.5 inches as temperatures approach 50 degrees F as this will provide additional insulation to the plant. Maintain high levels of K especially in the summer & fall.
For more details & information on sprigging, check out the "Sprigging Bermudagrass" article from the STMA. 

Contact us
today for more information or for an estimate for Lavery's Sod Farm to sprig your athletic field or golf course.
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