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How to Install Grass Plugs

By Bridget Kelly ; Updated September 21, 2017

Planting grass plugs has several advantages over other methods of starting a lawn. It’s less expensive than laying sod and grass plugs establish themselves quicker than grass sprigs. Plan on using 18 plugs for a 50-square-foot planting area, according to growers at All About Lawns. Generally, plugging is done with warm season grasses such as Zoysia and St. Augustine, and is performed in spring or early summer, or when the temperature is above 70 degrees F.

Til the soil in the planting area, removing any roots, rocks or other debris.

Grade the area away from any structures to redirect water runoff. Make sure that the planting area is at least one inch below sidewalks.

Add a 2-inch layer of compost to the soil and mix it to a depth of 4 to 5 inches. Rake the area to remove any hills or depressions.

Water the planting area to a depth of 4 inches. Allow the soil to drain.

Dig a hole one inch wider than the rootball for each plug. The holes should be dug in a checkerboard pattern, 12 to 18 inches apart.

Place the fertilizer in the holes. Some gardening supply stores sell plug fertilizer, specially formulated to be used with plugs. You can also use any lawn starter fertilizer or an all-purpose 10-10-10 fertilizer. Read the package directions to determine how much fertilizer to add for the size of your planting holes.

Drop the plugs into the holes and pack the soil around the roots. Make sure to tamp down well to remove any air pockets.

Water the area again, just enough to moisten the plugs, and then soak the area with water everyday until the lawn is established. This should occur within 4 to 6 weeks.


Things You Will Need

  • Tiller
  • Compost
  • Rake
  • Fertilizer

About the Author


Based in the American Southwest, Bridget Kelly has been writing about gardening and real estate since 2005. Her articles have appeared at Trulia.com, SFGate.com, GardenGuides.com, RE/MAX.com, MarketLeader.com, RealEstate.com, USAToday.com and in "Chicago Agent" magazine, to name a few. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in creative writing.