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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
All,

I'm back with another huge project underway that I thought you guys might find interesting. Let me preface everything I'm about to say/show with some warnings. This is an experiment, plain and simple. I cannot find anywhere on the internet that has tried sprigging via the same exact method as I am doing here and this could end up being unsuccessful. This post will also be mostly centered around large lawn owners (2+ acres) who don't have irrigation and want a higher quality grass than seed can provide. If you have a small lawn and your goal is the reel mow, I probably would not use this method and would instead pursue other ways of sprigging found on this forum. This also requires a lot of big equipment that most people will not have access to and even though uses alot of machinery and is still a ton of work.

Also, to keep this post from being a giant wall of text I will just summarize the process and try to keep from flooding everyone with information unless requested. Here is the post I made last year with my seed renovation and I have very detailed comments laying out most of the details of this process.

https://thelawnforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=25432

After not being too thrilled with my Mohawk bermuda I seeded last year, I decided to go back to my original plan of sprigging via tilling sod squares into the ground with a tiller. The theory here is pretty simple, throw the sod squares on the ground, till them in with a large tiller, and throw water and fertilize at it. This has a couple of advantages over traditional sprigging in my opinion. With this method, you are keeping lots of dirt on the rhisomes/stolons at all times and should make the watering situation more forgiving than just using sprigs gathered from verticutting. The majority of them are also buried under the dirt, which will also help keep them from drying out. The tiller also throws the material forward, which distributes the the roots and such into the gaps between the squares.

When I called my local sod farm, the owner was very helpful and told me not to mess with sprigs. he told me this method was much better and this is actually how they sprig all of their fields and they had done 20+ acres of field this way. He seemed very sincere and went out of his way to answer every question I had. I believed him well enough that I decided to try it.

I did all dirt prep several weeks prior, this consisted of a blanket spray of glyphosate, then tilling / harrowing after everything was dead. I did not know when the sod would show up, so I had to have everything prepared for the day it arrived.

I bought 9 pallets of tifway 419 ($105 per pallet) and threw each square on the ground spaced 3ft apart. My sod guy says he does 6ft apart but I could buy a few extra pallets and squeeze the spacing together to make it fill in faster, so I went that route as I don't want to wait all summer to have good fill in. After getting them all on the ground (which was a TON of work), I took my tractor and tilled it all in, first going long ways with the rows, then a 2nd time going perpendicular to the rows. I then ran a cultipacker over it multiple times and threw 200 lbs of 13-13-13 for a balanced fertilize down and started running the sprinkler.

One note here that has me worried. It's been bone dry for weeks here. After getting through laying the squares which took a whole day, I decided to wait on tilling and instead run my sprinkler all night long to try and get some moisture in the ground. This was a good call as the next day when I tilled, it significantly cut down on the dirt storm and the sod was a little moist which I believe will help it survive the short term lack of water. One issue I've ran into is that I typically always drag a harrow over dirt like this to get it leveled/settled/smoothed, but I could not do that here as it was bringing my sprigs to the surface and clumping them. All I could do was run the cultipacker over it which did not settle the dirt anywhere near as much as I would have liked. I suspect top dressing will be needed in the coming years to address bumpy-ness. Enough talk, here are some pics.

9 Pallets of 419:



In progress of laying:



All laying done. This area is hard to get a full picture of because it is a hill. Total surface area is over 1 acre.



Tilling in progress (Ignore the patchy grass in this pic, that's a whole other story)



Even got the wife involved and her run the culti-packer for me since I was dead tired



Day 5 progress (seeing lots of green!):



 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
WillyT said:
You should have no problem with this method, just keep them wet! It will grow in in no time!
Thanks WillyT! I agree, the theory is solid and not much different than others running them through wood chipper and making sprigs that way. Water is the name of the game right now and it's an all day/night job to keep it wet. Luckily we got a great rain yesterday and another scheduled for tomorrow, so I've finally taken a break from being married to moving the sprinkler and resting up. I've got enough clay in my soil to hold the moisture which is helping alot. I do think this method is a little more forgiving for folks like me who want to do a large area but have water constraints.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
callmestevee_o said:
Why were you now very thrilled with the seeded Bermuda you had previously? I read through that journal you linked and it looks like you had excellent results with it, especially its tolerance to herbicides and pesticides during its first season.
My main complaints are mostly the color and the very late spring greenup. The color is not the grass's fault but my own. I thought it would match my existing tifway much better than it does but it's just way lighter than the tifway. My other complaint that I didn't find out till recently is it greens up much later than my tifway, although it did stay greener longer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Movingshrub said:
You have my attention.

As a comparison, I'm curious what you gained by tilling versus just running the cultipacker.

Less irrigation required? Faster establishment?

I'm curious to hear your thoughts.
I'm hoping for faster fill in and more even coverage since the tiller breaks up the sod squares and at the same time, throws that material forward into the 3ft gaps between the pieces.

Also as you mentioned, it's probably a little easier on irrigation since the tiller covers most of the roots with a couple of inches of dirt where it's easier to retain moisture.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Day 10 update: I can already tell this is going to be successful. LOTS of green everywhere and good even coverage. Fill in should be quick. Getting ready to back off watering and swap to a more infrequent, deeper soaking method. Will also probably hit it this weekend with a heavy nitrogen application of 1# per 1000 sq ft.

 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
WillyT said:
Looks like you are out of the woods! Looking real nice, seems like it pretty dang level too.
Thanks WillyT! I agree, if I can just keep enough water on it over the next week or so, I should be in good shape. We're in a really bad heatwave right now with no rain or end in sight... 100+ degrees with 60%+ humidity is just miserable. Good thing bermuda loves the heat!

 

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epac90 said:
WillyT said:
Looks like you are out of the woods! Looking real nice, seems like it pretty dang level too.
Thanks WillyT! I agree, if I can just keep enough water on it over the next week or so, I should be in good shape. We're in a really bad heatwave right now with no rain or end in sight... 100+ degrees with 60%+ humidity is just miserable. Good thing bermuda loves the heat!

Man I'm not far from you over in central AR and this heat is killer! Perfect for our grass, especially since I'll be seeding today or tomorrow, but it's rough out there raking and leveling
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
MasterMech said:
@epac90 great post and this seems like the way for large areas of hybrid Bermuda.

Question: How deep was the tiller set?
Honestly I didn't even measure it, just hooked it up and went :lol: . I'd say it was fluffing it up probably around 3-4" though.
 
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