Lawn & Turf

Planting Grass Plugs from Sod

Planting grass plugs from sod
Introduction:  Step by step instructions for planting grass plugs from sod with the ProPlugger (usually zoysia, bermuda, or centipede grasses)

Watch the video or follow the directions below


Step 1: Lay the sod of your choice

  • Zoysia, Bermuda, and Centipede are common sod grasses that can be plugged because of their ability to spread.
    • We don’t recommend plugging St. Augustine, because it tends to fall apart too easily during the process.
  • Plant the sod according to the instructions given to you by your sod supplier.
  • Wait 3 weeks for the sod to root in before plugging.

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


  • Glyphosphate
    • This kills all the existing vegetation, but not the weed seeds that are in the ground.
    • The original brand name is Round-Up, but there are many formulations. 
    • Follow the directions on the label for mixing and spraying.
      • Spray the area, wait a week, spray the area again, wait a week and it should be ready for plugging.
  • Ronstar
    • Ronstar will prevent weed seeds from sprouting.
    • It is a little expensive, but significantly reduces weed growth.
    • Spread it out a week before plugging.


  • This will get rid of your existing grass without the need for chemicals.
  • It does not kill weed seeds.


  • 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 has the added benefit of killing weed seeds in the soil.

Step 3: Water the 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 saturated, 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 area to be planted every 6″ apart


  • Use the 2” depth ring.
    • The 4″ depth ring can also be used if you are transplanting from established grass and want to capture more of the root system.  
  • Dump the soil collected in the tool into a wheelbarrow.
    • If you suspect the soil contains weed seeds, you probably won’t want to reuse the soil to fill the transplant holes. 
    • If the soil doesn’t contain weed seeds in it, you can keep this soil for Step 8.

Step 5:  Harvest plugs out of the sod every 3″ apart

  • Taking plugs out of sod can be easier if you mow it relatively short before pulling your transplant plugs.

Step 6: Take the harvested plugs over to the transplant (planting) area

  • To keep your grass plugs from crumbling when you transport in a wheelbarrow, take the following precautions:
    • Don’t stack plugs too high as the weight of plugs can crush the ones underneath.
    • Carefully dump the plugs on the ground, or take them out of the wheelbarrow by hand.

Step 7:  Plant the grass plugs

  • Occasionally, you can run into rocks or roots when plugging your planting holes, which can leave you with a planting hole that is too shallow for the new transplant plug. If this happens:
    • Remove some soil from the bottom of the plug to better match the transplant hole.

Step 8:  Refill the holes where you harvested your plugs from the sod

  • Use a commercial soil mix, or the soil from the transplant are as long as it doesn’t have weed seeds in it.
  • Rake it back and forth until it fills the holes.

Step 9:  Water the newly transplanted grass plugs and the sod area

  • Water newly transplanted plugs as you would new sod.
    • 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 variety of grass you are plugging.
  • This is the schedule I use, but you might need to adjust for your climate and your soil type.
  • Use a watering timer. 

    • This model makes the spray pattern more adjustable and thus more accurate.

Step 10:  Water the donor area (sod where you harvested your plugs for transplant)

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

Step 11:  Allow 6 weeks for the donor area sod to regrow. It should be ready for more plugging

  • You can plant an area 3 to 4 larger than the donor area from which you pulled your transplant plugs:
    • For example: If you have 1 pallet of sod (~450 sq ft) you can plug about 1,200 – 1,600 sq ft.  
    • Harvest your transplant plugs every 3” apart and plant them every 6” apart.  
  • Transplanted plugs usually fill in within 1 year,  though it may take 2 years depending on your growing conditions.

grass plug growth progression

Additional Information 

Follow this link for additional, more detailed information



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