Lawn & Turf

How to plant Centipede grass plugs (with video)

There are 2 methods for planting Centipede plugs

1st method:  Planting Centipede plugs from sod

  • Plant a small section of Centipede Sod
  • Wait 3 weeks for it to root in
  • Transplant plugs from that sod to other parts of your lawn 
  • This is the main method for plugging Centipede, and I will go through it in detail below

2nd method:  Planting Centipede plugs that come in trays

  • This method works well for planting plugs in a small area
  • You can buy trays online and have them shipped to you, which is convenient
  • But, if you have large areas to plug, it will be much more expensive than harvesting plugs from sod
  • Watch this video to see how to plant Centipede plugs from trays (the video shows planting Zoysia plugs, but the process is the same)

Planting Centipede plugs from sod

Step 1: Plant a small section of Centipede sod

laying centipede sod prior to plugging

  • Water your sod according to the sod supplier’s recommendations
  • Wait 3 weeks for the sod to root in before plugging

Step 2: Kill the grass or weeds in the area you will be planting the plugs

Chemicals

spraying glyphosphate to prepare for plugging

  • Glyphosphate
    • The old brand name is Round-Up, but there are many formulations 
    • Follow the directions on the label for mixing and spraying
      • Spray it, wait a week, spray it again, wait a week, and it’s ready for plugging
Tilling
  • This will get rid of your existing grass without the need for chemicals 
Solarizing
  • Solarizing involves tilling, watering, and then covering an area with clear plastic during the summer for at least 4 weeks.  This is a more involved process but comes with the benefit of killing seeds in the ground, which the other methods don’t do

Step 3: Water the Centipede sod and planting area the night before plugging

  • Moist soil is much easier to plug than dry soil, particularly if your soil has a heavy clay content   
    • Don’t over water  
    • If soil gets too muddy the plugger may clog up, or plugs may have difficulty coming out of the ground     
  • Here is a link on how to deal with clogs while using the ProPlugger

Step 4:  Take plugs out of the planting area 6″ apart

preparing holes to plant centipede grass plugs 

  • Use the 2” depth ring 
    • You can use the 4″ depth ring if you are transplanting from established grass and want to keep all 4″ of roots  
  • Dump your plugs into a wheelbarrow
  • Dispose of this soil
    • You can keep this soil for Step 8 if it doesn’t have weed seeds in it
  • If your soil is really hard to plug, try watering it again before plugging it
    • Wait a little while after watering it to plug.  It takes a while for the water to go all the way through the soil
  • If your having trouble with your plugger clogging follow these instructions to unclog the ProPlugger and prevent future clogs

Step 5:  Take plugs out of the Centipede sod 3″ apart

Plugging centipede sod

  • Taking plugs out of sod can be easier if you mow it pretty short before plugging

Step 6: Take the plugs over to the planting area

  • You must be gentle with the plugs when transporting them
    • Some soils can crumble if you aren’t careful
  • If you transport your plugs with a wheel barrow and your soil is crumbly take the following precautions
    • Don’t stack plugs too high.  The ones on top can crush the ones on the bottom
    • Carefully dump the plugs on the ground, or take them out of the wheel barrow by hand

Step 7:  Plant the Centipede plugs

Planting centipede grass plugs

  • Sometimes when you are taking plugs you run into rocks or roots
    • Sod plugs or holes you plugged can end up being too short
  • You can still plant these plugs
    • Remove some soil from the bottom of the plug if it sits too high
    • Add some loose soil into the hole if the plug sits too low

Step 8:  Fill up the holes you plugged in the sod

Filling holes in Centipede sod

  • Use a commercial soil mix that doesn’t have weed seeds in it
  • Rake it back and forth until it fills the holes
  • Mowing the sod short before plugging also helps the soil rake into the holes easily

Step 9:  Water the new Centipede grass plugs

Watering new Centipede grass plugs

  • Water the new grass plugs just as you would new sod
  • Your watering schedule will probably look something like this
    • Weeks 1 – 2:  3 times a day for 20 minutes
    • Week 3: 2 times a day for 20 minutes
    • Week 4:  Once daily
    • Thereafter:  Follow the normal watering recommendations for the grass you are plugging
  • This is the schedule I use, but you need to adjust it for how hot your climate is and your soil type
  • Use a watering timer 

timer for centipede grass

Sprinkler for Centipede grass

    • This makes watering more accurate 

Step 10:  Water the sod you plugged from

  • Usually twice a week for 3 weeks
  • After that just follow the normal watering directions for your grass you are plugging

Step 11:  Wait 6 weeks for the sod to regrow, then plant another section of plugs

  • You can plug an area 3 to 4 larger than the sod you are plugging from
    • For example: If you have 1 pallet of sod (~450 sq ft) you can plug about 1,200 – 1,600 sq ft.  
    • That is if you take plugs out of your sod every 3” apart and plant every 6” apart  
    • The first time you plug new sod, you’ll probably get 3 times the area of sod, because you have to be careful plugging around edges of sod pieces that fully haven’t grown in together  
    • The second time around, and thereafter you should be able to get 4 times the area of plugs from your sod    
  • Plugs usually fill in within 1 year.  Though it may take 2 years depending on conditions

grass plug growth progression

Follow this link for additional information on planting plugs from Sod

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