Building a New Lawn with Grass Plugs (with video)

ProPlugger Co - Saturday, March 03, 2012

ProPluggerThere are several ways to build a beautiful lawn. The most popular methods include seeding, sodding, sprigging and plugging. While all of these methods can work, some are more difficult and/or more expensive than others. Plugging, if done correctly, can allow you to build a beautiful lawn without the high cost of sodding, the specialized equipment required for sprigging or the hard work of seeding from scratch. It takes some patience, but the payoff can be well worth it



How to Cut Plugs from Sod Pieces:

Sourcing your grass plugs

Several sources exist from which you can obtain your turf plugs:

  1. Sod squares purchased over the internet
  2. Pieces of sod purchased from a local sod farm or garden center
  3. Lawn plugs grown in nurseries (supplied in trays or flats)
  4. Your neighbors lawn

Internet Sod

Purchasing sod plugs over the internet, while certainly convenient, isn't without its' pitfalls. The sod from which the plugs are to be cut may arrive in less than fresh condition (right). The sod pieces are typically scored on the back side to show where they are to be cut, usually in 1"x1" square plugs.

These sod plug providers will suggest that you cut these by hand, using garden shears (right), or with a small one-at-a-time plugger which can be purchased separately.

Take heart! There's a much easier way to cut your sod plugs(see video at top of page)

Local Sod

Sod purchased from local or regional sod farms tends to arrive in much better shape. In many cases you can pick up the sod yourself or have the sod delivered within a day or two of the sod being harvested. This fresher condition (left) can have a dramatic impact on the success of your plugging project.

Sod source throughout the Southeastern US -Super-Sod



Nursery Plugs

When you purchase sod which has been harvested, as in the two examples above, and then go on to cut them into small 1" squares, you induce significant transplant shock into the lawn plug. With adequate irrigation of the plugs after they've been planted, you can help the grass plugs overcome this shock.

An advantage to using plugs grown in trays in a nursery is there is much less transplant shock because the root system remains intact to a large extent (right). This allows the plug to start growing and spreading faster as it doesn't require the time to recover from transplant shock.

Your Neighbor's Yard

Well....maybe not your neighbor, but certainly a good friend that's growing a turf type that you like. My son-in-lawn created a beautiful Zoysia lawn using this method. You can guess where he got the donor plugs...:-)

The advantages of harvesting your plugs from a nearby source are threefold. First, it's the least expensive of all options (assuming your friend doesn't charge you for the plugs). Second, the plugs have a much higher transplant success rate because they have been growing in similar soil and climate conditions to where they will be transplanted. And third, by pulling plugs from your friend/neighbor's lawn and filling the donor holes with organic material such as coco peat, potting soil or compost, you'll help your neighbor improve the health of his/her lawn by aerating and adding organic material to their top soil.

As with any project, the trick is to use the right tools to make the job as painless as possible. 

Digging the Planting Holes

Regardless of the type of plugs you choose, there are several ways to create the planting holes. These methods can be broken down into three broad categories:

  • Relatively easy
  • Fairly difficult
  • Downright hard

The most difficult way to dig planting holes is to use a hand shovel (right) and dig individual holes for each plug.  A slightly less difficult method is to dig long trenches using a garden hoe, setting the plugs in place, then filling between each plug with soil.

Much less difficult but still a bit hard on the back is the soil auger method in which you attach what amounts to a long drill bit to an electric drill motor and "drill" the holes out for the plugs. These augers (left) can help speed up the process and are available at many retailers.

Fortunately, now there is a much easier and less back breaking way to cut your plugs AND dig the holes for transplanting.


Cutting & Planting Lawn Plugs Using the ProPlugger!

turf pluggerWith our new ProPlugger 5-IN-1 Planting Tool, you can cut your sod plugs from pieces of sod (Not Recommended for St Augustine) and create the planting holes in a short amount of time. Even better, you can do it from a standing position. With the ProPlugger you can pull over 500 plugs per hour and all will be a perfectly round 2-1/8" diameter. This means that the plugs that you cut will fit perfectly into the holes that you dig for a snug fit. All with NO BENDING OVER.

Be sure to check out the helpful information on our website, including other uses for the ProPlugger including:

  1. Bulb planter
  2. Bedding (& annual flower) planter
  3. Weeding tool
  4. Ground cover planter