Everything You Need to Know to Transplant Grass Plugs


Your lawn looks bare and needs revival—and growing grass with plugs may just be the solution you are looking for to restore your yard to its most lush state.

Whether you are looking to fill in bare spots or restore an entire lawn, grass plugs are a cost-effective alternative to sod pallets and more manageable to establish than grass seed. In this article, we will be looking into what grass plugs are for, how to use them, and everything you need to know for successful transplanting.

What are Grass Plugs?

Grass plugs are becoming an increasingly popular solution to repair small damaged sections of a lawn. Think of it as individual plants arranged in trays—each plug is a 3x3-inch chunk of sod with mature grass and soil around a well-established root system. They are planted on the soil between 9-12 inches apart, and as they establish, they will spread and fill in your lawn over time, creating a lush green mat of your preferred grass.

This natural turf is also a great way to plant warm-season grasses that don’t produce viable seeds—Bermuda grass, zoysia, or St. Augustine grass.  Because they are less expensive than sod pallets, grass plugs are also a great way to experiment with different grass varieties and identify which will thrive in your environment.

Sod vs. Grass Plugs

While sod and grass plugs are both great landscaping solutions to rejuvenate a declining lawn, each method of installation works differently–and the choice between them depends mainly on your situation. One key consideration is how large a lawn area you need to cover.

If you plan on restoring your entire yard or require a significant amount of grass, laying sod is a more prominent option. It is an entire layer of green grass, usually measured in square feet, laid out to plant a fresh lawn. Although you will have to wait a little while for the new sod to re-establish roots, it is still significantly less time than waiting for plugs to fill your lawn. It offers immediate gratification by creating the look of a healthy and green landscape.

On the other hand, if you only have to patch bare spots or fill in a sparse area in your lawn—probably due to drought, shade, disease, or insects—then plugs may be a better alternative. A grass plug costs less than sod and is easier to establish than a new grass seed. They are also available in a wide variety of grass types, come with an established root system, and require less water than sod and seed.

What Grass Type is Best For Plugging? 

Any grass type that spreads are essentially available as plugs, and some of the most widely used grass types for plugging are Bermuda, St. Augustine, and Zoysia grass. 

Choosing the best type of grass for your lawn will depend on its shade and sun exposure and the condition of your existing turf. If you want to see how well a specific grass type will perform in your location, purchasing grass as a plug is a great way to test it. 

If the grass plug starts to thrive, then you know you have an option that works for your lawn. Otherwise, if the turfgrass doesn’t perform well, then you’ve saved money by not making the commitment to a full-scale sod. 


How to Plant Grass Plugs

Successful grass plugging takes some preparation. Below is a step-by-step guide when laying grass plugs on a new lawn.

1. Mow Your Lawn

At least the day before transplanting grass, clean your lawn by mowing the site and clearing it of weeds, stones, and other debris. Break apart lumps of soil and smoothen out the rough surface. 

2. Water the Area 

Water the area where you intend to plant your grass plugs to soften the soil. 

3. Dig Holes

Dig holes for the plugs, deep enough to accommodate the plug roots, in a checkerboard pattern. Keep a 9-18-inch distance between each plug for best coverage—the closer you plant the plugs, the sooner they will fill the lawn.

4. Fertilize

In each hole, drop a NutriPod™ Grass Plug fertilizer. It is our 45-day slow-release fertilizer that will provide the essential nutrients to give your grass a head start and grow into a lush, green lawn.

5. Transplant the Plugs 

Plant each plug in a hole and gently tap the surrounding soil to secure it. Water your lawn every day for 7-10 days, which is usually enough time for the plugs to fully take root. 

Water the plugs regularly and eliminate weeds as they sprout to keep them from competing for nutrients, water, and sunlight. Depending on the grass species, climate, and how they are spaced out, grass plugs usually cover your lawn within 2-4 months. Minimize foot traffic on your newly transplanted grass for 3-4 weeks while the plugs are established. Mow when the grass is 3 inches tall or at least until a month after transplanting to promote lateral growth.

A wooden wall with luscious green grass.

When to Plant Grass Plugs

The prime time to plant grass plugs is during late spring to early summer when the weather is warm and the air is moist. However, one of your challenges during this grow-in period will be weed pressure—it’s also a favorable season for weeds to grow. Manage any weeds that grow between plugs using a selective post-emergent herbicide. You can also apply a pre-emergent herbicide to keep weeds from germinating.

SodPods® at Bethel Farms

Our SodPods® grass plugs at Bethel Farms are farm-fresh and 100% natural. They are your mini lawn in a pod, perfect for repairing or filling in patches where your grass is sparse. Each plug has fresh, high-quality grass with an established root system and nutrient-rich soil to ensure planting success. 

We offer seven varieties of warm-season grass plugs, including Bermuda, St. Augustine, and Zoysia grass, and ship them nationwide from our family-owned and operated farm. 

Visit our website to learn more.


Jamie Tedder

Jamie surrently serve as Vice President on the board for Turfgrass Producers of Florida. He currently oversees the production of all grasses throughout all farms in Florida at Bethel Farms. He is actively working with top grass breeders, researchers, producers and end users from public and private institutions around the country to stay up to date on current industry developments. Being a University of Florida graduate, he has applied that knowledge to over 22 years of experience growing spectacular grass!

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