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Planting St. Augustine Runners?

45,431 Views | 12 Replies | Last: 9 yr ago by Btron
Btron
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AG
I was giving a bag full of St Augustine runners to help some patchy areas in my lawn. What is the best way to plant these to have success? Dig a hole, cover with dirt, water? Is that about it?
Posting in OD board as well.
Frok
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AG
I just dumped a bunch of dirt on my bare patches this weekend. What does a bag of runners look like?
Gary79Ag
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You can do it several ways, but as you mentioned that will work as well! Key is to cover the cut end in the ground and water so the ground doesn't dry out before it roots.

I've done it that way as well as just using a hoe or tiller to loosen up the ground and provide a trench to put the runners in. Then cover and water regularly. I most cases I just cover the bulk of the sprigs as over time I've learned that they do good either way.

I just did this to an area of my side yard where it was pretty much bare ground and weeds.

A few years ago, I had a large area back behind the house in the back yard towards our creek that was in similar condition. I estimated it would have cost me about $5-6K for sod alone to sod the entire area with St Augustine. I was in no hurry to get it totally sodded so I just went the sprig route. Zero costs other than my labor and did it over the period of 2 summers with the help of my neighbors sprigs after his trimmer broke so I would edge for him and use the long sprigs he had growing into the street at times.

I tilled about 6-8 rows about 6 ft. apart and laid down the sprigs in the trenches, covered them up and watered. Took another 2 years for the total area to get covered and now it's lush green with St Augustine...actually better than my yard as its heavily shaded versus almost full sun down there.
Btron
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AG


This, just in a plastic grocery bag.


Gary, that is great feedback. How deep is your trench? Couple of inches?
Since we're on the St. A topic. The patches of grass I do have are a healthy but bright green almost yellowish. Could be over watering, could be something else? Thoughts?
Gary79Ag
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Thanks for the kind words Btron.

It varied anywhere from 2-4 inches. At first I spent all kinds of time sticking the individual sprigs into the soil in a 2-3 inch deep tilled trench with the sprigs perpendicular to the trench and then just back filled the trench.

I got tired of spending so much time doing it that way and so I just tilled a deeper trench and laid the sprigs in the trench with them parallel and overlapping in the trench. I then backfilled mostly covering the sprigs and watered heavily so the loose soil settled thereby exposing more of the sprigs. Inmost cases the sprigs were completely covered but rooted and grew out just as well as the uncovered sprigs. Key is keeping the soil from drying out until it's taken root (1-2 weeks depending on the heat/weather conditions, etc.). You'll know you did good when you see the sprigs busting up the soil and growing out from under it!

Hope that helps!

On your grass condition, can you please post some pics to help get a better understanding of your situation. May be a watering issue or an iron deficiency issue or something else.
Btron
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AG
Here is the yellow bright green grass


Rusty GCS
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From Dr. Duble of Texas A&M

quote:
Sprigging. All of the bermudagrasses, the zoysiagrasses and seashore paspalum are readily established by sprigging. St. Augustine grass and centipedegrass can also be established from sprigs, but the risks are greater. For large plantings such as golf courses and sports fields, sprigging provides the most practical method of establishment.

A grass sprig consists of a stem or rhizome segment with at least one node or crown (multiple nodes) and any leaves and roots that might be attached to the node. Usually, 3 or more nodes are found on a single sprig.

Sprigs are harvested by shredding sod, by rototilling sod and raking, by vericutting or by a sprig harvester. Sprigs consisting of rhizomes, crowns and only a few green leaves are most desirable. Such sprigs will transport and store much better than green, leafy sprigs. Rhizomes are also more drought tolerant and will survive several days without water; whereas, a green leafy sprig without a crown or rhizome segment may die within hours if not kept moist after planting.

Bermudagrass, zoysiagrass and seashore paspalum are the only vegetative propagated warm season grasses with rhizomes. Thus, those grasses are best suited to sprigging. St. Augustine grass, centipedegrass and buffalograss sprigs that consist only of stolons are much more susceptible to drought stress after planting. Such sprigs are also more likely to overheat and deteriorate during shipment. Sprigs that appear moldy when they arrive at the planting site should not be planted. Such sprigs desiccate rapidly after planting and replanting is often required.

The quality of sprigs, like that of seeds, is critical to successful establishment. Just as weed seeds are undesirable in a lot of grass seed, off-type grasses are undesirable in a bushel of sprigs. Common bermudagrass sprigs can cause serious problems in a bushel of hybrid bermudagrass sprigs. Likewise, bermudagrass sprigs in zoysiagrass or other turfgrasses lead to serious weed problems for the turf manager.
In addition to purity, sprig vigor is another aspect of sprig quality. Sprigs harvested by digging are usually the most vigorous since they include rhizomes, crowns and the large stolons found near the soil surface. Such sprigs are more vigorous than the leafy sprigs harvested above the soil level. The more vigorous sprigs tolerate stress and develop a root system more rapidly than the less vigorous sprigs. Consequently, sprig survival is much greater for the more vigorous sprigs.

Sprigging rates depend on grass varieties, planting method, sprig quality and the time available for a complete cover. Bermudagrass sprigs spread faster than all other grasses and can be planted at lower rates. Large sites such as golf course fairways and sports fields can be sprigged at 250 to 300 bushels per acre with an expected cover in 10 to 12 weeks. Where a faster cover is needed sprigs can be planted at 10 to 25 bushels per 1,000 sq. ft. Golf greens sprigged at 25 bushels per 1,000 sq. ft. can be in play in 4 to 6 weeks.

Planting method also influences sprigging rates. Most sprigs are broadcast over the site with a distributor or hydroseeder at rather high rates of sprigs. However, row planters are available for sprigging that use much less planting material. If the row planter functions properly, it places the sprig in a narrow furrow, covering 50 to 80% of the sprig with soil. If water is applied immediately (within 30 minutes), a very high percentage of sprigs survive. In contrast, broadcasting sprigs over the surface and depending on an irrigation system to keep them moist results in high sprig losses. Covering broadcast sprigs with a mulch helps to reduce their losses.

Sprigging rates can also be reduced by planting high quality sprigs. Sprigs harvested by digging are more vigorous and have a higher survival rate; thus, lower rates of planting can be used. Where only the "tops" of bermudagrass are planted, twice the quantity of planting stock may be needed as when dug sprigs are used.

Finally, the time available to develop a complete cover will significantly influence planting rates. The higher the rate of sprigging, the faster a cover will develop. However, the cost of sprigging also increases with each increase in planting material. By sprigging 5 bushels of bermudagrass sprigs per 1,000 sq. ft., a satisfactory cover can be developed in 3 to 4 months. At 10 bushels, a complete cover can develop in 2 months; and at 25 bushels, in 1 month. The cost of planting material for those rates may range from $20 to $100 per 1,000 sq. ft., or from $500 per acre to $2,500 per acre. Sometimes, however, the need to use a facility by a certain date precludes the use of the lower planting rates. On critical areas, such as sports fields and golf greens, the higher planting rates should be used.


http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/archives/parsons/turf/publications/estab.html
AgResearch
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quote:
The patches of grass I do have are a healthy but bright green almost yellowish. Could be over watering, could be something else? Thoughts?


Iron defiency chlorosis.

__________________________
Agronomist/Weed Scientist, Ph.D.
Rusty GCS
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AG
If you're having iron chlorosis it's not unlikely that your soul pH is high.

Putting out sulphur will help both of those problems.


Of course, if you're grass is short on iron putting out iron will help too! Haha

I was always a big user or micropacks when I was running golf courses.
stick93
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A thick layer of peat moss can get a quick response as well. Better than sulfur in the short term imo. Basically "waters down" a high ph soil. Sulfur is outstanding but it takes a while to convert to sulfuric acid.
Btron
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Just bought this house in Feb previous owners where yankees and did nothing to the yard. What you see is the largest patch of grass we have. I'm trying to take care of that patch, hope it spreads and plant runners and possibly a few squares. So short term, long term, doesn't really matter since this is all we're working with right now. I'll look into adding iron and sulfur. Is there any preferred brands?
Ezra Brooks
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AG
getting some good compost on that yard would help as well.
Btron
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Update.
Bought some Lady Bug Iron. Very fine, hand sprinkled it all over the front yard. I have not watered since, some rain and been out of town. It seems that it is florescent green now, greener than before. I also have not mowed since laying the iron. Any thoughts? Does this color change take a while? If I mow will new growth be darker green? SOL?


Btron
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AG
Bump

Any other suggestions than what I posted earlier?
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