Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Plan Carefully to Avoid Mistakes with Expensive Sod

Beautiful lawns in Georgia often begin with high quality sod.  The turfgrass type, whether it is fescue, Bermudagrass, Zoysiagrass, or other, is selected to match the needs and characteristics of the site. High quality sod, however,  can be pricey, and this year the per-square-foot price of sod is forecast to be higher than it was last year.

The Georgia FACES article Georgia Sod Inventories Low, Prices High , by UGA's Sharon Dowdy, tells about the forecast higher prices for sod this year, as discovered in a recent UGA survey of sod producers.  She writes:
"The delivered price is expected to increase for all grasses in the survey. A truckload of bermudagrass delivered to the Atlanta area, or within 100 miles of the farm, is expected to rise 14 percent.
The delivered price of zoysiagrass is expected to rise 1.4 percent to 35.8 cents per square foot...
The price of delivered centipedegrass is also expected to rise to an average of 23.5 cents...
Tall fescue’s delivered price is expected to rise 1.7 percent to an average of 24 cents per square foot. The average price should fall between 20 and 30 cents.

Clint Waltz, turfgrass specialist with UGA Extension, interviewed for the article, explained that the price hikes resulted from unfavorable growing conditions -- particularly the lack of direct sunlight -- during the 2013 growing season. Producers just could not grow enough good sod in the cloudy weather.

For homeowners and professionals who are planning to invest in some new sod this coming year, higher prices are not good news, but there are steps they can take to avoid wasting the investment in high quality sod.

The first is careful selection of an appropriate turfgrass for the site, and second is proper site preparation, so that the newly laid sod has the best chance for success. UGA's publication "Lawns in Georgia" provides information regarding both of these steps, and also includes sections on weed control, pests, diseases, and lawn care.