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Blue Grass for shade and semi-shade!
Shipping for grass plugs begins February 23, based on zone. Shipping concludes Sept. 1 - Nov. 13, 2015 depending on zone. See Shipping Info for specific dates.
Availability: In stock
Planting A Lawn With Grass Plugs (Download our Grass Plug Planting Guide - .pdf format)
When planting a lawn with grass plugs, you have the option of using several methods.
1) You can plant into bare soil that has been enriched with compost and other natural or organic fertilizers (See below: Site Preparation)
2) Remove the old lawn and improve the soil. You can do this in several ways. A) Thoroughly strip off the old turf grass with a sod cutter, kill off any remnants of lawn around the edges; OR B) Rototill the existing lawn, water thoroughly, then let it dry. Repeat this process twice; or C) Smother the Lawn: If you can wait 6 months or longer, the old lawn can be killed by covering it with alternating layers of newspaper or cardboard and compost laid down about 6” deep. With any of these methods, you should rototill the area and enrich the soil prior to planting (See below: Site Preparation).
3) Plant directly into dead turf that has been thoroughly killed. You can do this by covering the lawn turf with clear plastic during the heat of summer to “solarize” (bake) it to death for several months or by killing it with a systemic herbicide. The plugs can be planted through the dead grass without having to strip off the old sod (See below 2: Drill and Fill Method).
It is NOT recommended that plugs be planted into a live lawn.
1. SITE PREPARATION - Before planting grass plugs into bare soil, it is essential that the soil be enriched with compost and other organic or natural fertilizers to insure that the plugs grow vigorously and cover the area quickly. Proper soil preparation can be done anytime before planting the plugs. However, preparing the soil well in advance of planting insures that the ingredients have begun to breakdown and the soil will have a finer texture. It also allows weeds to sprout and be pulled prior to planting. This will help reduce the amount of weeding after planting the plugs.
To prepare the soil for best results use organic or natural soil amendments. Rototill the soil enriching ingredients into the soil to a depth of 4 to 6 inches.
Yum Yum Mix: 4 lbs/100 sq. ft. When it comes time to fertilize your soil in preparation for planting your dwarf fescue lawn, we suggest using a gentle, non-chemical based fertilizer. Yum Yum Mix feeds the soil that feeds your lawn. This organic formula adds essential nutrients to the soil and “feeds” the soil’s earthworms and beneficial microbial population to maintain a healthy living soil needed for a vigorous, low-care lawn. Healthy soil means a happy lawn!
Mycorrhizal Root Inoculant: Lawn grasses will grow more vigorously by having these beneficial mycorrhizal fungi attached to their roots. Mycorrhizal inoculation is essential if your home is in a new subdivision or there has been extensive earthwork, soil removal and compaction from your home construction process. This earthwork kills off the soil’s underground ecology of beneficial creatures and micro-organisms, ruins the soil’s ability to absorb water and renders the soil unable to grow anything but pioneering weeds.
DO NOT use manure unless you know it has been actively composted to break it down. Old piles of manure (even if stored for many years) have not been broken down adequately. Instead, it will begin to compost (break down) after you’ve tilled it into the soil. This causes burning of grass plug roots and induces a serious nitrogen deficiency that will stunt or kill the grass plugs.
Organic Plant Magic: This all-purpose fertilizer is packed with every essential element required by plants to properly build and maintain themselves, including beneficial microorganisms and microbes. For best success, we suggest using it as a root dip when planting grass plugs.
2. PLANTING USING THE DRILL AND FILL METHOD - Planting plugs into existing turf areas (Planting option #3). This can be a real labor saving method when replacing your existing lawn. Assuming that the lawn was planted into well prepared soil, planting into the dead grass is a proven, labor saving method. This method also greatly reduces the amount of weeds that sprout once the plugs are planted.
a) Make sure the old lawn is dead, both foliage and roots. Don’t make the mistake of assuming a completely brown patch of Kentucky Blue Grass (or any other turf grass) is dead from lack of water. Many grasses survive drought by going dormant only to “wake up” when water is made available. Choose from the method that works best for you.
Solarize: Bake the lawn to death by covering it with clear plastic (takes 4-6 weeks). First, irrigate the soil (wet soil conducts heat better). Cover it with plastic, burying the edges around the border and put big rocks across the plastic to hold it down in the wind. This method can be used from late spring through late summer when daytime temperatures are at their hottest.
OR Apply Herbicide: The quickest way to get rid of your existing lawn is to apply a systemic herbicide. Apply glyphosate at recommended rates to an actively growing lawn at least 14 days prior to planting. (While repeated, widespread use of glyphosate can be damaging to the environment, healthy soils are capable of breaking down any residual chemical from a one-time use. Keep kids and pets off the lawn until the herbicide has dried.) Once the grass is brown and dead, use a lawn mower on its lowest setting to cut the dead grass as low as you can go. It’s now ready to plant.
b) Preparing the plugs for planting: Before planting the plugs make sure they are well watered but not soggy. Make a few shallow slices into the sides and bottom of the plug’s root ball to break the circling root growth and encourage lateral root growth into the surrounding soil. To speed the transplantation process the plugs should be removed from the plug tray, have their roots sliced and placed into a box or flat in the shade to await transplanting.
c) Measure the grid: Use a string line marked every 6″ or 12″ (with a Magic Marker), stretch it between two stakes to show you where to plant each plug.
d) Use a cordless drill to make the planting holes: Using a cordless drill and a 1 ¼″ diameter wood boring bit, drill one inch deep holes on a grid 6″ or 12″ apart, place the plug in the hole and step on it to firm it into the soil. Plant the row and move the stakes to the next row. When done planting the whole area, water thoroughly.
e) Planting into bare soil: Prepare the plugs for planting (as described above). Using a hand trowel and the string line (as described above) to correctly space the plugs, make a shallow hole, plant the plug and firm it into place. Mulch with clean wheat straw to shade the soil and keep the plugs moist. Water thoroughly after the plugs are planted.
WATERING - Frequency: Water in newly planted plugs thoroughly so that the soil is wet to a depth of 4-6 inches. The frequency of subsequent irrigation will depend on how quickly the soil dries. Water enough to keep the soil damp but not muddy with standing puddles. First week to 10 days: Water daily in the early evening. Next couple of weeks: As the plugs begin to root-out into the soil and grow, watering can be reduced to every 2nd or 3rd day. Plugs that are taking hold and rooting-out will be noticeably greener and have longer, larger leaf blades than one’s that haven’t. After the first month: If it’s not too hot and dry, your growing plugs will need watering no more than one to two times per week, putting down an inch of water each time. Use several empty coffee cans placed around the newly planted area to measure the amount of water applied. Even xeric native grasses like Buffalo and Grama grass need regular irrigation that first growing season. Once established, the amount of water needed next summer will be much less!
Watering sloped areas: If you’ve planted on a slope, be sure to mulch the plugs with clean, weed-free straw. Water the soil with a fine spray, just enough that the water is absorbed by the soil and doesn’t run off. Repeat 3 or 4 times at 5 minute intervals until the soil is wet to a depth of several inches.
This is only a suggested watering schedule. Anytime the plugs are looking gray-green and the grass blades look thin and folded, they need water. The first couple of times you water, check the depth of the soil moisture after you water by digging into the soil to visually examine how deeply the water as penetrated. You’ll soon learn how much and how often your soil will need watering to keep the plugs moist.
WEEDING - Weeds will sprout quickly in newly planted areas. Weed control is essential so they don’t smother your new plugs. Pull weeds when they’re small.
Hand Weeding: You’ll need to pull weeds until the plugs have grown together for best establishment of your new lawn. When hand weeding, use a couple of wide wood board pieces to stand on while you weed. This helps to avoid stomping and compressing the soil as you walk around pulling the weeds.
Herbicide Precautions: If you opt to use chemical herbicides instead, do not apply 2,4-D when daytime temperatures exceed 75° F. Do not use Trimec or other formulations that mix 2,4-D with other herbicides as these can stunt buffalo and blue grama grass plugs.
Fertilizing the First Growing Season: It is beneficial to fertilize your plugs that first growing season to make sure they fill in quickly and cover the bare soil. Use an all natural foliar plant fertilizer and soil. An alternative option for fertilizing is to apply a light application of Yum Yum Mix monthly through October to grass plugs.
MAINTENANCE AND EXTENDED CARE FOR ESTABLISHED PLUG-GROWN LAWNS:
Once established Buffalo and Blue Grama grass are very drought tolerant, but they may need extra water during the hottest part of the summer to keep them green and actively growing. Turn on the sprinklers to apply approximately an inch of water every two weeks.
Bella’ bluegrass will need more water each month than Buffalo or Grama in western climates. Water ‘Bella’ when it gets a gray-green color and the grass blades are folded and thin.
These native grasses have deep roots that keep them alive through extended drought.
Buffalo grass varieties; Legacy, UC Verde and Prestige need to be fertilized twice annually for best appearance. Apply Yum Yum Mix or other organic or natural fertilizer in late spring and again in early fall.
‘Hachita’ Blue Grama; needs only one application of Yum Yum Mix applied in early fall.
Bella’ bluegrass; normally needs no supplemental fertilizer. In poor soils, apply Yum Yum Mix once annually in early fall.
A 25 lb. bag of Yum Yum Mix will cover about 600 sq. ft. of lawn.
Buffalo and Blue Grama grasses are warm-season growers, meaning they don’t green up until mid- to late spring (depending on elevation). Corn gluten meal application can prevent weeds from germinating. Weeds are best pulled, dug up with a dandelion fork or spot-sprayed with herbicide in early to mid-spring. At this time of the year, these native grasses are still dormant while the weeds are already green and growing. This makes them easy to find and pull. A thorough weeding in early spring is usually sufficient for the entire year.
Grass Seed: Most orders ship within 5-8 business days (all zones).
Buffalo Grass Plugs will be shipped during the first zone-appropriate week in spring 2015, beginning with Feb. 23 for zones 10-11; March 15 for zones 8-9; April 1 for zone 7; April 20 for zone 6, May 1 for zones 4-5; May 10 for zone 3; May 20 for zone 2.
Plant Shipping: We will ship your order during the first available zone-appropriate shipping week.
Your plant orders are scheduled to arrive within 3 days or less of leaving our greenhouses. This prompt delivery is provided without additional express charges.
Gardening Goods:All non-plant items ship within 2-3 days.
Standard shipping costs are $8.99 and up, depending on the size of the order.
Make Fast Even Faster: For ‘Rush’ same week delivery, please call customer service at 800-925-9387.
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