It is important to know that grass plugs are ultimately used for one of two reasons: to repair damaged areas of your lawn, or to establish a lawn when sod is not available or not practical. Grass plugs are also great if seed is not a viable option. If you want a St. Augustine lawn, for example, there’s no such thing as St. Augustine seed so grass plugs are the next go-to choice. Our grass plug installation guide covers all the necessary steps on how to properly install grass plugs. Skip to Step 2 if you are using grass plugs to repair damaged areas in your lawn.
- Soil Analysis Kit
- Measuring Tape
- Sod Cutter, Roto-Tiller or Glyphosate
- Auger Bit and Drill
- New Lawn Starter Box
STEP 1: Test The Soil
If you are plugging your entire lawn, the first step we recommend is testing your soil—before you apply chemicals to kill off your old grass and before you install plugs. Your soil’s health is what determines the overall health of your grass. Working from the ground up is the best way to ensure superior grass quality.
Be sure to check out our article on Collecting and Submitting a Soil Analysis for more information on soil tests.
STEP 2: Measure Your Planting Area
The first step for planting instructions is to measure the area you intend to install grass plugs in. This allows you to know exactly how many grass plugs you will need to purchase. You can use measuring tape to measure the area that will receive the grass plugs. Make sure to take areas with sidewalks, driveways, shrubs, trees or other landscaping into consideration. The Area Calculator Tool is a digital resource for homeowners to type in their address and then draw out the areas in his or her lawns for installation. The amount of square footage automatically generates with each drawing. When making the decision to purchase grass plugs, it is important to know that they will be planted anywhere between 6–18 inches apart from each other. Our plugs come in 36 and 72 count trays that cover 64 sq. ft. and 72 sq. ft. respectively. The 36 count tray of plugs contains plugs that measure 3 inches x 3 inches, whereas the 72 count tray contains plugs that are slightly smaller and measure 1.25 inches x 1.25 inches.
*Learn more about how to use the Area Calculator Tool here.
*These plug trays cover 64 and 72 sq. ft. based on planting each plug 12 inches apart from the center of other plugs.
STEP 3: Prepare Your Soil
When Planting a New Lawn
Before installation, it is mandatory you clear the area of any currently existing grass or weeds—especially when it comes to installing grass plugs. Weeds WILL compete with your grass plugs until they become fully established. We recommend following these steps:
- Begin by making an application of Roundup or some other glyphosate-based product 10–14 days before sod installation takes place,
- Wait three to four days and then make a second application if the grass isn’t dying quickly enough,
- Once your grass is dead, use a sod cutter or roto-tiller to remove the top layer of grass and debris.
We have a few product recommendations and rental locations for roto-tillers and sod cutters on our Sod Installation Tools page to get you started with sod removal equipment. If interested in using a sod cutter, be sure to read our article on sod cutters for more details.
When Filling Damaged or Bare Spots
If you are planning on repairing bare spots with grass plugs, you will want to first rid the area of any problems that may exist. These issues could include weeds, insects or fungus. This can be as simple as pulling the weeds out by hand in the area or as difficult as treating the area with an herbicide, insecticide or fungicide. Browse through our online products here.
STEP 4: Drill Holes
The next step following the preparation of your soil is to drill holes into the ground to plant the grass plugs in. It is helpful to thoroughly water the soil first as this serves to soften the ground. Then, use a drill and the auger bit we sell on our website to dig your grass plug holes. You can also use spray paint to mark the areas in the soil where you intend to plant the grass plugs beforehand—that way you can simply follow the spray painted marks with the auger bit. You can plant the plugs either in a grid formation or a checkerboard pattern. The holes will need to be anywhere from 6–18 inches apart from one another or existing grass. When drilling the holes, the base of the grass plugs will need to be level with the ground, so don’t drill too deep.
When Filling Damaged or Bare Spots: Measure the bare spots in which you are filling in. If the spot is larger than one sq. ft., we recommend planting two plugs in that area.
STEP 5: Fertilize Before Planting
Yes—fertilize the holes you have just drilled with Lawnifi Grow BEFORE planting your grass plugs. Lawnifi Grow is a liquid fertilizer included in the Lawnifi® New Lawn Starter Box, which contains everything newly plugged lawns need to establish thick, healthy grass. Each box comes with two bottles of Grow and one bottle of Maintain. Grow is designed to promote healthy root growth of newly installed sod or plugs by providing important nutrients for establishment like phosphorus, potassium and carbon.
STEP 6: Plant Your Grass Plugs
Now that you have created an environment to successfully grow healthy grass plugs, you can begin installing them into your soil. Firmly press the plugs into the fertilizer primed hole with NO space around the edges. Fill any excess space with loose soil to help fit the grass plug snuggly into the hole you have previously drilled. The base of the grass blades should be level with the ground.
STEP 7: Water Your Grass Plugs
Once you have finished with installing your grass plugs into the soil, go back behind them and water them. Use the remainder of your first Lawnifi Grow fertilizer bottle and water thoroughly to remove air pockets for optimal performance.
STEP 8: Post Installation Care
For the next 10–20 days, water your grass plugs everyday, but take rainfall into consideration. Use the rest of your New Lawn Starter Box according to its schedule and keep the soil moist at about six to eight inches deep. After 10–20 days, your plugs should be rooted. Gently pull on a grass plug to see if it is starting to take root in the soil. Be careful to not completely uproot the grass plug. You should see new runners appearing. Once this has been confirmed, you can begin decreasing your water schedule to twice a week.
If you are interested in learning about the grass plug planting progress at our office, start by reading our What are Grass Plugs and How to Use Them article, then read our updates here: Fall Grass Plugs Update and Spring Grass Plugs Update. These last two articles will also inform you of any maintenance or obstacles we encountered as the plugs established. We will continue to follow up with relevant updates or other tools we end up using to help these plugs grow.