Sprigs can be short or long stemmed, with either an intact root system or two to four nodes (joints) from which roots can develop. Sprigging is simply the planting of individual sprigs at spaced intervals. Hybrid bermudagrass and centipedegrass are the ones most commonly planted by this method.
Sprigs are usually purchased by the bushel, or purchased sod can be carefully pulled or torn apart into separate sprigs. Sprigs bought by the bushel by mail order are shipped in bags or cartons. Shipping usually takes place within 24 hours after the sod has been mechanically shredded. Sprigs can sometimes also be purchased from nurseries in areas where warm-season grasses are commonly planted.
When to plant sprigs
The best time to plant sprigs is from late spring to midsummer. The onset of warmer weather provides optimum growing conditions for warm-season grasses.
The soil should be ready to plant when the sprigs arrive. Keep the sprigs cool and moist until planting time, which should be as soon as possible after delivery. It takes only five minutes of sunlight to damage sprigs enclosed in plastic bags. Even when stored properly, sprigs decay rapidly.
How to plant sprigs
There are several ways to plant sprigs. Whichever method you use, it is always best to work with slightly moist soil. In any case, do not let the stem dry out. Water sections as you plant them, and keep the soil constantly moist until the stems are established.
One planting method is to cut 2- to 3-inch-deep furrows in the sod bed and place the sprigs in the furrows. Dig the furrows with a hoe and space them from 4 to 12 inches apart, depending on the rate of coverage you would like. Close spacing results in more rapid coverage, but naturally involves more material and labor. Place the stems against one side of the furrow so that any tufts of foliage are above ground and the light-colored stem is below ground. Firm the soil around each stem and level the area as well as possible. Rolling over the planting area with a half-filled roller helps bring the sprigs into contact with the soil and aids in the leveling.
Another method of planting sprigs is to place the stems on the soil at desired intervals and lightly press them in with a notched stick.
The third and fastest method is called broadcast sprigging, stolonizing or shredding. Sprigs are shredded into short stems and spread by hand over the designated area like a mulch. They are then covered with soil and rolled lightly with a water roller. No matter which planting method you choose, keep the area moist until the sprigs start growing.
Depending on the soil, sunlight, water, spacing, grass type and other variables, a sprigged lawn takes two months to two years to fill in completely.