FIGURE 18–6 laid sod. Rolling newly Immediate Care The first thing to do after laying sod is to water it thoroughly to wet the topsoil for root establishment. Thinly cut sod tends to dry more quickly than thick sod but also establishes more quickly. Even though freshly laid sod gives the appearance of an established lawn, all heavy traffic should be kept off of the lawn until it has rooted. Because of the thick soil cover sod produces, the soil does not dry up quickly. However, the area should be watered frequently during the first several weeks to ensure proper establishment. Fertilizing Applying small amounts of lawn fertilizer after the sod has rooted is helpful for good establishment. Advantages and Disadvantages The major advantages to using sod are that it provides instant cover (instant lawn), promotes a high-quality lawn, is good for a quick fix of high-traffic areas of alreadyestablished lawns, and is easy to lay. The disadvantages of using sod include that it is bulky to handle, expensive, and once purchased must be laid without delay. Plugging A method of lawn establishment involving the use of small pieces of sod. 18.4.2 PLUGGING Plugging is a method of lawn establishment that involves the transplanting of small pieces of sod plugs into holes in the seedbed (Figure 18–7). The holes are spaced about 6 to 12 inches (15.2 to 30.5 centimeters) apart, depending on how the species spreads. Zoysia spreads more slowly than Bermuda grass and Saint Augustine grass and should be spaced much closer (6 inches). Plugging is a labor-intensive operation and takes time to cover the plot with grass; fortunately, it can be done mechanically. After the operation, the plot may be rolled or firmed to provide good soil contact with plant roots. This method of planting sod is sometimes called spot sodding. Timing is critical to the success of plugging. Warm-season turfgrasses must be planted about two or more months before the first frost of fall for good establishment. 554 Chapter 18 Turf Production and Use 18.4.3 SPRIGGING Pieces of short stems or runners (called sprigs) may also be used to establish a lawn. This method of lawn establishment, called sprigging, is accomplished by placing the sprigs in shallow (1 to 2 inches or 2.5 to 5.1 centimeters) furrows at about 4- to 6-inch (10.2- to 15.2-centimeter) spacing. The sprigs are covered such that at least one-fourth of the material is above ground. Again, it is important to allow about two months before the onset of adverse weather (e.g., frost) for establishment.