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Sprigging is a method used to propagate some plants. It involves planting the runners or rhizomes of certain plants, instead of seeds. Afterward, care must be taken to ensure that the sprigging is successful.
The underground runners, or stolons, and rhizomes are often simply called sprigs. After they are planted into the soil, they will then sprout new runners and new vegetation. The preferred time for sprigging is usually in the early spring.
Sprigging is a popular method of propagation for many types of lawn grasses. Bermuda, centipede, and St. Augustine varieties are some of the grasses that can be planted by this method. Five to ten bushels of sprigs, depending on the type of grass, are usually needed to cover roughly 1,000 square feet (305 square meters).
Sprigs are usually obtained one of two ways. Patient individuals can obtain them by manually picking out the individual roots and runners from pieces of sod. Most people, however, deem this to be too time consuming, and opt to purchase the sprigs instead. These can be purchased from gardening catalogs or some nurseries.
Before sprigging, the soil must first be prepared. Furrows that are about 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) deep and about 2 inches (5 centimeters) apart should first be dug, either by hand or with a machine. Then, many experts agree that a phosphorous-rich fertilizer, which will help develop a healthy root system, should then be spread.
The sprigs are then placed into these furrows, and spaced a few inches (7.6 centimeters) apart. Sprigs that are placed closer together will usually result in a fuller lawn faster. After they are put into the furrows, topsoil should then be placed over it. Afterward, a lawn roller can then be used to press the soil down, which can help ensure that the sprigs are not washed or blown away.
The area must then be watered regularly and protected after sprigging. Watering with a light spray a couple of times a day should be sufficient. Over watering should be avoided, but the soil should also not be allowed to dry out. A fence or string around the area can also help protect the sprigs from being trod on, or dug up by curious animals or children. New growth should be seen within two months.
Like other methods of propagation, sprigging has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, it is usually more economical than other methods, and offers a better chance for healthy roots to develop. On the other hand, it is a little more difficult to take care of and protect the area, and it may take a few weeks to see results.