As a relocated midwesterner, sod was never much of an issue when there were any problems with the lawn. We knew the rain wasn’t going to be much of an issue, and we sprinkled some grass seed (likely blue grass) down in the spring, and were pretty confident any “naughty lawn” places would grow back in nicely.
In Texas, we do not have this luxury. We need to buy a piece (or pieces)of St Augustine sod (one of really only a couple of choices in lawn greenness in Texas) to fix the bad spots. Due to our winter being extra cold and somewhat dry, it seems the ugly spot ratio was much higher than normal in most lawns this spring. And, as much as we want the HOA award for best yard, we will just have to be satisfied not being the house people say, “as least it is not our yard.”
As I did some of my own sodding this year, these are techniques used by myself and others:
- Plugs: This is like one of the pictures above. As I view it, there are two ways to get to effectively perform the “plugs” technique. First, you go back to a healthy part of grass in your back yard. You take up a few hunks–not too many from one spot, but taking a few from here and there. You then transplant these pieces to the less than appealing area–likely the front yard somewhere. Secondly, these “plugs” may come from the dissecting and dismembering of a purchased piece of sod. Somehow, you can’t seem to commit to using a whole piece of sod in a particular area, so you spread out your luck over a larger area with more pieces. Certainly one of them will take off!
- Lay in: Although not described above, this method is more an approach than a specific technique. When new sod is placed in your yard, an area is created for it. The old, dead grass is cleaned up and the new piece of sod should fit right in. You may backfill a little once the “sod-space” is removed to account for any low spots, but the goal is to get the new sod as close to the Texas dirt/sand/ants as possible.
- Lay on: This approach competes with the “lay in” method. And, maybe “layout” is a better term to describe it. It seems this technique is pretty popular–likely because the LACK of work necessary. If you have a spot with dead grass, there is no problem. Just put the sod right on top of the dead grass. It makes it obvious to all who pass that you have new sod in your lawn, and if anybody wants to bury a body, these kind of lawns are ideal!
- Kill it all: This seemed to be less popular, but I did see at least one neighbor who used it. Our yards are laid out with a little grass next to the street, the sidewalk, and then the rest of the front yard. Apparently one neighbor was SO disgusted with his appalling lawn and the ugly glances from those passing his house, he decided it was better to admit full defeat then to try and claim partial victory. It appears he used a weed/grass killer on the whole section between the street and the sidewalk. And, once it all died, He probably had 50 or so pieces of sod that found a new home in his yard. Unfortunately, it appears some of the sod has also chosen to go “brown” rather than stay green. I hope they bounce back before the summer is out—good luck to him!
Irrigation is a key to any sod replacement therapy technique. Due to tweaking of the sprinklers, I hope my sod will claim green as its favorite color for the rest of the summer. If not, we can see if the therapy works better after summers heat has fizzled. Or, we can embrace the cactus and other “lovely” plants that thrive on low moisture OR we can move….