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View Full Version : Sod field quality ... how they do it ?


jkilov
08-05-2008, 06:50 PM
Well I was just at my uncle's the other Saturday and drove to inspect some fields for him. On the way I noticed that someone is growing sod nearby and just had to check it out.

Some of my top-end clients would envy this. How do they get such quality (3rd pic)?? I mean what do they spray/fert and how often. They seem to using the clippings as compost. And how come the grass does'nt dry out when cut so low.

I'm definitively getting in touch with this guy and ask for some tips.

PSUturf
08-05-2008, 11:31 PM
That looks like my lawn. Here in WI we topdress with shredded cheddar and use a foliar spray of Miller High Life.

Whitey4
08-05-2008, 11:36 PM
Actually, I don't know of a sod farmer that posts here.... maybe they want to keep their secrets "secret"? I'd love to spend a week or two on a sod farm, strictly to learn how they do it. Certainly, they spare no expense in soil amendments and ground prep. But, exactly WHAT they do to grow such beautiful turf.... I dunno.

mx315
08-06-2008, 06:41 PM
Nice... not a weed in sight. I asked the foreman at one of our sod farms what fertilizer they use and he told me they use triple 13 on all their grass. But I didn't get into the full program with him. What part of MS are you in?

Bigred350
08-06-2008, 08:37 PM
From first hand experiance the key to good looking grass is good soil, and not compacted.

The way we do it is every other year we will disk the fields heavily. Then smooth it back out and replant it. Then about every 3 or 4 years we sub-sub soil it. Which is a huge plow that can turn over ground about 18" deep.

If you compare that to a residential yard where its getting compacted with a mower once a week. And may only get areated maybe 1 time a year, which only goes down about 2" deep. Around here know one hardly aerates there yard.

So if you think about it alot has to do with the compaction of the soil. And a good fertilize/weed/water program.

02DURAMAX
08-07-2008, 02:44 AM
Thats Just Beautiful!!

jkilov
08-11-2008, 07:08 PM
Thats Just Beautiful!!
Exactly my point. The first 2 pics just don't show the color right, there's only so much you can expect from a phone cam.

As for the soil compacting, I know it's a problem with a 1300lbs ZTR rolling around. Perhaps next time I'll consider an 800lbs walk behind, but other than that I don't see what could be done. Most of my clients get their lawn aerated once per season, some never. If I remember right good soil needs to be 1/8 air and 1/8 water but I don't know how to measure let alone achieve this.

I'm just outside Grenada, it's kind of half way if you drive from Jackson to Memphis, but the pic was taken near Greenwood. The soil there is low quality so it makes it even more wierd for someone to farm sod. And whatever fert I use gets washed away if it rains a lot. It's much better to fert less than specified but more often.

Whatever weedkiller the guy uses it must be hot cause there's not a weed in sight but the neighboring fields are full of it.

White Gardens
08-12-2008, 10:59 AM
Exactly my point. The first 2 pics just don't show the color right, there's only so much you can expect from a phone cam.

As for the soil compacting, I know it's a problem with a 1300lbs ZTR rolling around. Perhaps next time I'll consider an 800lbs walk behind, but other than that I don't see what could be done. Most of my clients get their lawn aerated once per season, some never. If I remember right good soil needs to be 1/8 air and 1/8 water but I don't know how to measure let alone achieve this.

I'm just outside Grenada, it's kind of half way if you drive from Jackson to Memphis, but the pic was taken near Greenwood. The soil there is low quality so it makes it even more wierd for someone to farm sod. And whatever fert I use gets washed away if it rains a lot. It's much better to fert less than specified but more often.

Whatever weedkiller the guy uses it must be hot cause there's not a weed in sight but the neighboring fields are full of it.


That's the biggest issue with mowing, how do you keep production up without using too heavy of a machine. It's hard to find balance.

hosejockey2002
08-12-2008, 12:54 PM
If you tilled your lawn under, amended and replanted it once a year, and fertilized it every couple of weeks and gave it the right amount of water it would look like that too. Sod is just a crop, like growing vegetables or anything else. Of course the methods and tools are different, but its just a matter of preparing the soil, planting the seed, using correct fertilizer and water and harvesting when mature. Now, if a sod farm could keep sod looking like that for five or ten years, then I'd be REALLY impressed.

Smallaxe
08-13-2008, 09:02 AM
Around here sod farms are typically in mucky low lying soils with a higher water table. Even if you mow when wet - compaction is not so much an issue because as it dries the soil 'springs' back.

Mike's LawnCare Landscape
08-13-2008, 01:47 PM
Yea there tons and tons of field all around me that whent to growing sod !!
when I was little I use to dove hunt in corn fields now there all sod fields .Nope we don't need to eat aslong as we have a nice fast yard LOL before they move in there new houses .LOL I think the carpet guys and the sod guys allways so up at the same time LOL .

SLC, LLC
08-13-2008, 02:46 PM
That's the biggest issue with mowing, how do you keep production up without using too heavy of a machine. It's hard to find balance.

I have been asking this same question to myself for a couple of years now. Any insight on how to go about doing this? And we do not even use ZTR's in residential settings.

cgaengineer
08-14-2008, 10:57 AM
I will tell you how, water, light soil (sandy). All of the sod farms around here are in flood plain and are irrigated by a nearby river. At the sod farm near me they hire out the chemical application (fert/herb).

lot0210
08-14-2008, 06:01 PM
The farmer has probably got some turf science classes under his belt if not a whole degree in that area just like golf course superintendents do so his fields are his lab and he can spot trouble before it happens.

That is why I am going to school for the turf science degree if I can provide golf course quality lawns for my customers my business will boom. and maybe in the end have my own turf farm