Tropical lawn installation

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by dislocated, Feb 26, 2001.

  1. dislocated

    dislocated LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    I am a dislocated Virginian in Puerto Rico and have recently purchased a home here that is in need of landscaping and a lawn. My problem is I have not found a source of information here that suites my level of need. My biggest problem comes from being told I cannot grow grass from seed and must use sod. All the sod installations that I have observed here have one common problem, ankle twisting holes; look great just don't walk on them. I am told that the area is to dry and hot for a seeded lawn to work. I plan to install an automated sprinkler system, so to me the dryness issue is not a problem. I am not an expert in the area of lawns and grasses, but did spend a lot of years growing agriculture products in Va., as in alfalfa, corn, and orchard grass for cattle. I see no reason why the same principles will not work here. I could be totally wrong and the advice I am getting is correct, I am just looking for some different prospectives here. Does any one have experience in this area? At this point I feel as though I will do my own work, including the design of the sprinkler system since no one has quoted based on sound engineering practices, just haphazard systems. Any information will be a help, even if you tell me all I can do is sod; at least my comfort level will increase. My lawn is in the second treatment of Roundup and will be graded once more, then treated again with Roundup several times.
  2. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1,276

    Well, I am by no means an expert in grasses in your area. However, I do know this. The sod they're trying to sell you probably started somewhere as seed.

    Good luck. I'm jealous.
  3. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    Have you tried the cooperative extension service?

    Cooperative Extension Service
    University of Puerto Rico
    College of Agricultural Sciences
    PO Box 21120
    Rio Piedras, PR 00928
    Telephone: (809) 765-8000

    Don't know about accuracy of this contact, just found it web; no web address given. The CES is a joint effort by USDA & state land grant universities. Do not know if it is a well developed in territories as in the states.

    Certain warm weather grasses like zoysia and St Augustine are just spread by sodding, plugging, or sprigging. I'm sure there must be consideration of environmental circumstances we are not aware of here.
  4. dislocated

    dislocated LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    Thanks for the information, I finally found a local extension office today and will visit with them tomorrow. Most of the people here look at me as if I am crazy when I ask all the questions; but I am an ex-farmer turned engineer, so I have a little knowledge to work with.
    I agree with the statement about the sod farms, that has been my argument from the beginning. I hope to find a location of a sod farm and give them a visit. Just FYI, today I visited a local irrigation supply store and from all the questions I asked they mistook me for an installer and quoted me installer rates. I may be on my way to start a side business! Living here is great, but finding answers is difficult. Would also be interested in learning about retaining walls, which are basically used for fences here. You may also repy to my email if wanted.
  5. Eric ELM

    Eric ELM Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
    Messages: 4,830

  6. dislocated

    dislocated LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    Okay people, I am out of options here. Have called every goverment agency here, even had a co-worker who is a local so no problem with language; all to no avail. Everyone thinks I am crazy for wanting a soil test, to seed, and information concerning sprinkler installation. I did find out no one has heard of chemical injection in a residential situation, and no law governing back flow prevention. All this being said, someone out there has to have some ideas. Maybe in the far southern states, the principles will be close. After this I give up and will do what I think is correct, then we will see if the "Gringo es loco".
  7. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    Could you tell us what varieties of grass are used in existing lawns there?
  8. dislocated

    dislocated LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    I have finally found a few answers, the difficulty was finding the grass names in English. The Spanish name is different, and means nothing to me.
    There are three types of grasses used here, Bermuda, Zoysia, and Centipede. All three are normally installed here using sod. I have looked at over 100 different installations and they all are what I consider bad. I think most of these grasses are grown from plugs or sprigs, but cannot find a source here for these. No one wants to give up the idea that one must use sod so will not give out where they get the plugs; which is understandable, they have to make money some how. I either need a source of these plugs, or information on how to do the sod and get the results I want. Thanks for the help, gotto go, break is over and back to the yard.
  9. accuratelawn

    accuratelawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 922

    There are companies here in the State that sell Zoysia mail order. That might be an option.They advertise in the Sunday Newspaper (inserts)
  10. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 8,933

    We have hot dry conditions here in South Carolina with a red clay(like cement in the summer) surface. Those grasses you mentioned arewhat grow best here. I dont see why you cant just order centipeed seeds from the mainland and plant it the way you want to. Soding may be what they are use to but the other way may work too. Just waite a few days after a good soaking rain and areate and throw the seed out. Zoysia and bermuda are always planted by plugs and sod here. never tried to plant bermuda sense people mostly want to kill it. But you can get centipeed seeds now and for the past few years. Centiceed is what i think they call it. Under very dry conditions centipeed will turn brown unlike zoysia and bermuda. But sense you have a sprinkler system that shouldnt be a problem.
    Good Luck

    [Edited by Charles on 03-04-2001 at 07:17 PM]

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