Fall Sod Plugs Update: What are Sod Plugs and How to Use Them

Fall Sod Plugs Update: What are Sod Plugs and How to Use Them

Sod University

Fall Sod Plugs Update: What are Sod Plugs and How to Use Them

Sod plugs are a great option for repairing damaged spots in your lawn as well as for establishing a lawn when sod is not readily available or practical. In a previous Sod University blog, we discuss sod plugs and how to use them. We also talk about a project in which we planted sod plugs in two large test plots at our Sod Solutions office in May this year. Since then, our sod plugs have grown a lot and have gradually begun expanding to cover the test plot. Today we are sharing the biggest challenge our plugs have faced so far and how we are fighting back.

It has been around six months since we first planted the test plots with two varieties of sod plugs: CitraBlue™️ St. Augustine and Innovation™️ Zoysia. Since then, they have been consistently well watered and fed with Lawnifi™️. Check out the images below to see our progress over the span of several weeks.

July

Pictured above from left to right: test plot, Innovation Zoysia and CitraBlue St. Augustine.

August

Pictured above from left to right: test plot, Innovation Zoysia and CitraBlue St. Augustine.

September

Pictured above: test plots.

Pictured above from left to right: Innovation Zoysia and CitraBlue St. Augustine.

October

Pictured above from left to right: test plot, Innovation Zoysia and CitraBlue St. Augustine.

November

Pictured above from left to right: test plot, Innovation Zoysia and CitraBlue St. Augustine.

Weed Pressure

As you can see in the series of photos above, the biggest obstacle we’ve encountered up to this point has been weed pressure. This is a common issue for homeowners using sod plugs as there is more room for weeds to root, establish and compete with the plugs. Like all plants, weeds need three things to grow: soil, sunlight, and water. As temperatures start to cool off in November, hours of sunlight, soil conditions and overall weather begins to change. With the onset of cooler weather, pressure from summer weeds starts to subside while pressure from winter weeds will commence.

Usually when weeds become a problem in lawns, it is common to lay out a selective herbicide to reduce weed pressure. One of the weeds we’ve struggled with this past September was doveweed. We had a very hot September so we couldn’t really apply an herbicide. The herbicide we planned to use is called Blind Side, which cannot be applied when it is hot or it will burn the grass.

With that being said, fall is a good time to apply herbicide for weeds after a hot, dry summer. It is mostly ill advised to apply herbicides when outside temperatures exceed 85 degrees. With the summer season being as hot as it was, we couldn’t apply an herbicide with outside temperatures higher than 90 degrees. The ideal time to apply herbicides is when temperatures range from 70–85 degrees Fahrenheit. Now that temperatures have been cooling off during the fall months, we have had more opportunity to apply an herbicide.

During the second week of November, Charleston had a 30 degree event, so a bunch of our weeds are starting to die off as we go into this transition period from hot temperatures to winter weather. We intend to handle our winter weeds with a post emergent. Common winter weeds to look out for include deadnettle, chickweed, annual bluegrass and prickly lettuce.

Pictured above from left to right: purple deadnettle, chickweed, annual bluegrass and prickly lettuce.

In general, the best things you can do for weed pressure are:

  • Apply an herbicide several weeks before planting sod plugs to keep weeds from growing. Be sure to follow label instructions and use a non-selective herbicide (that will kill all weeds including grass),
  • Feed plugs so that they grow fairly quickly and can outcompete weeds,
  • And mow so that you consistently knock off weed seed heads to prevent the next generation of weeds from taking root.
Fertilizer

If you apply a fertilizer to your sod plugs, take note that you will also be helping weeds grow. This does not mean you should stop applying fertilizer, however. The ultimate goal is to help your sod plugs grow and establish so that weeds do not continue to be an issue in your lawn.

Lawnifi Maintain is a fertilizer designed to help fortify plant and root zones with potassium, amino acids and carbon for increased microbial activity and soil health. With the use of Catalyst Technology™️, the eco-friendly product allows you to use less fertilizer with better results while covering 5,000 sq. ft. with just 32 oz. of liquid fertilizer. Learn more about Lawnifi here.

Mowing

In general, mowing is a good maintenance practice to have even as we start to move into winter. Mowing at a height as short as you can get it without scalping it is good practice. Such mowing reduces winterkill, allows for faster green up in the spring. Mowing winter weeds also prevents seed heads from sprouting and keeps the next generation of weeds from taking root.

For more information on what sod plugs are, take a look at our What Are Sod Plugs and How to Use Them blog. Our Weed Control blog offers information on ways to reduce and prevent weed pressure in your lawn along with some recommended treatment solutions.

Lastly, if you are interested in sod plugs for your lawn, you can check out our variety of premium sod plugs here. Shop for the same Innovation sod plugs we used in our test plot, and keep an eye out for CitraBlue sod plugs coming soon!

Want to learn more about achieving a great lawn? Check out our other Sod University tips here.

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