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Sod field quality ... how they do it ?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by jkilov, Aug 5, 2008.

  1. jkilov

    jkilov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MS
    Messages: 1,415

    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.



  2. PSUturf

    PSUturf LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 663

    That looks like my lawn. Here in WI we topdress with shredded cheddar and use a foliar spray of Miller High Life.
  3. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,448

    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.
  4. mx315

    mx315 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 394

    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?
  5. Bigred350

    Bigred350 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 803

    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.
  6. 02DURAMAX

    02DURAMAX LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,801

    Thats Just Beautiful!!
  7. jkilov

    jkilov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MS
    Messages: 1,415

    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.
  8. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    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.
  9. hosejockey2002

    hosejockey2002 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,195

    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.
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    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.

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