Archive for the ‘Landscaping News’ Category

History of Sod – Sod Houses

Friday, December 16th, 2016

When people think back on the olden days, everybody pictures the log cabins that appear as part of America’s history in some of the oldest photos available. While it’s true that trees did serve as the home retreat for many settlers during our country’s infancy, another of Mother Nature’s materials was also widely used among pioneer families to make homes: Sod.

The History of Sod - Sod Houses | Evergreen Turf: Arizona's Premier Sod Supplier

Bark and branches were fantastic when they were available, but not every part of our country had access to ample amounts of trees. In fact, there were areas where people could go for miles upon miles without spotting a single tree. As settlers traveled across the plains and prairies of the central and western United States, they were forced to get a bit more creative with their natural resources. In these barren lands where the idea of forests was purely fictional, homesteaders turned to the ground beneath their feet to build roofs over their heads.

How Sod Homes Were Made

It all started with the strong, intricate root systems of plains grass. Holding the earth beneath them in their tight, compact grip, the roots served as a starting point for what would later become sod bricks. When the earth was soft and moist, particularly after a good rain in the summer or a spring thaw of melting snow, settlers would use ox-drawn sod cutters to plow the land and break up the earth. These sod cutters were particularly designed to cut the clumps of dirt into long and narrow pieces. From this point, the settlers used axes to chop the strips into brick-sized pieces. Just as you would expect, these sod bricks were then stacked vertically, one by one, side by side, forming the walls of settlers’ sod homes.

Once the walls were constructed, the structures were usually topped with roofs made from interlaced twigs, hay, thin branches, or other readily-available natural resources. The final touch often included another layer of sod atop the twigs and branches as a finishing touch. It wasn’t uncommon to see sod homes built into the sides of hills or banks. This saves the settlers time and energy, as they could dig away the earth at the side of the incline, using the dug-outs to serve as portions of the homes’ walls and roofs.

Why Sod Homes Worked

For starters, any shelter is better than no shelter at all. Prairie grass and the surrounding sod was readily available in certain parts of the country, and it served its purpose in providing walls and a roof to those who needed them. Because sod was available in ample supply, these houses were cheap to make. Their earthen construction also worked well in accordance with seasonal temperature changes; they were often warm in the winter, and they usually stayed cool in the summer months.

Why Sod Homes Didn’t Work

Alas, you’re not likely to look around and see tons of sod homes as you’re driving to and from work these days. As it turns out, sod homes had some significant deficits, despite doing their best to keep settlers warm, safe, and dry. Of course, being that these homes were made completely of grass and dirt, snakes, mice, and other critters saw no problem calling these houses their homes. Rattlesnakes were known to move in and become unwelcome roommates, and there wasn’t much the settlers could do about it.

These earthen structures were also susceptible to the elements. Leaky roofs were quite common, if not completely expected. Once water found its way into the homes, the dirt floors became muddy messes. Naturally, the sod that comprised the roofs, when wet, became quite heavy as well. Collapses and cave-ins were common in the days after big rains, as the layers of earth took days to dry out, and the structures weren’t often sturdy enough to withstand the heavy sod tops.

All in all, sod homes did their duties until something better was able to be built. Although they certainly weren’t meant to last for lifetimes, America’s early settlers learned to love sod in their own rights and rely on this great material that our Arizona Turf team prides itself on today.

Did our story about sod houses and settlers teach you something new about our country’s history? We’d love to hear your thoughts at our Evergreen Turf Facebook page!

Best Grasses for Arizona Lawns

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

There are many Arizona sod varieties to choose from when it comes to picking out the best grass for your Arizona lawn. As one of Arizona’s premier sod farm producers, we went ahead and compiled a list of top features of residential Arizona sod varieties to help you choose which sod is best for your lawn. Keep in mind all of these are great choices for the Arizona climate, which one is best for your lifestyle.

TifGrand is the newest Arizona sod variety to hit the market and is an excellent choice for those Arizona grassy lawns that have a lot of shade coverage. TifGrand is specifically designed to grow in shaded areas (4+ hours of sun).

Midiron is the best grass for Arizona lawns when it comes to transitioning in the winter. It is known to recover quickly from over-seeding which is great if you love having a lush lawn in the winter. If you enjoy entertaining outside during Arizona’s mild winter or refreshing spring than Midiron just might be the Arizona sod variety for you. It handles high traffic areas well, is easy to maintain and is both heat and drought tolerant.

Palmetto St. Augustine is the second best shade tolerant grass for Arizona lawns. This Arizona sod variety is one of our top choices for lawns with shade coverage. People are attracted to this variety not only for it’s shade tolerance, but also for it’s unique texture. The Palmetto St. Augustine is a lighter colored Arizona sod variety with a wider blade. This is a great choice of sod for your Phoenix area residence if you have shade coverage on your lawn, and kids that like to play in the grass.

Any of these are great grasses for Arizona lawns. When selecting your sod variety, consider your lawn surroundings, your lifestyle (kids or pets) and how often you want to mow it and how many hours you want to spend maintaining it. Remember that these are just a few of the Arizona sod varieties that Evergreen Turf offers, if you need help selecting a sod variety for your life and home use our easy “Lawn Selector Tool.”

Find out more about our other residential sod varieties.
Order one of our Arizona sod varieties (10% off online orders).

TifGrand: A New Sod Variety That Grows In The Shade

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

TifGrand – Available Summer 2011

Evergreen Turf, Arizona’s premier sod producer, is the exclusive licensed seller of TifGrand bermudagrass in the Southwest. TifGrand bermudagrass is brand new to the sod market. One of the most distinctive and beneficial characteristics of the TifGrand variety is it can grow in the shade! Evergreen Turf is currently one of 18 licensed turf providers to sell this amazing new sod variety.

For Arizona residents TifGrand Bermudagrass is an excellent sod choice. Arizona residents who want shade in the heat of the summer no longer have to compromise their beautiful green lawn. If your yard contains shade tree coverage or if your home creates shade coverage over your lawn during the day, TifGrand might be the answer for you.

  • Can flourish in growth in 60-70% shade coverage; is known to continue growth well in up to 90% shade levels.
  • Can grow at the same capacity in full sun.
  • Requires considerably less water and fertilizer.
  • Has a naturally denser and darker green blade.
  • Mole cricket non-preference, which means the pests will eat it, but will eat other grass varieties nearby first.
  • TifGrand was developed by scientists Dr. Wayne Hanna and Dr. Kris Braman and the University of Georgia’s turfgrass breeding program.

Arizona was a testing location throughout the development process of TifGrand bermudagrass and Evergreen Turf is confident this new sod variety will be a great choice for Arizona residents. Not only is TifGrand great for Arizona homeowners, but it is also a great sod variety for golf courses, athletics fields, and stadiums.

Anywhere where turf grows and shade is present, make the change to TifGrand bermudagrass.

*Please note that all TifGrand cannot tolerate 100% shade. It will still require 4 hours or more of sunlight per day in order to thrive.

Evergreen Turf lays out ‘green carpet’ for Cardinals

Monday, August 16th, 2010

The University of Phoenix Stadium — home of the Arizona Cardinals and twice named the top football stadium in the NFL by Street & Smith’s Sportsbusiness Journal and Sports Business Daily — kicked off pre-season last weekend when the Cardinals took on the Houston Texans. The Cardinals came back from 16-0 to defeat the Texans 19-16.

The stadium, which was recently damaged in a monsoon storm, was ready for competition as was the playing field installed by Evergreen Turf. As Arizona’s premier sod supplier, Evergreen Turf is proud to be the exclusive provider of sod to the Arizona Cardinals.

Prior to the game there was some concern about whether the stadium would be ready for competition due to the storm damage. University of Phoenix Stadium suffered damage during a reported micro burst that occurred on July 29, 2010. A hole was torn in the retractable roof and a piece of metal was ripped from the side of the building. The turf field itself was undamaged.

If you’d like to install a new lawn on your property with the same turf that’s used for the Cardinals, call Evergreen Turf today. Also visit our site for Arizona landscaping ideas.

Evergreen Turf: Exclusive Arizona sod supplier of MiniVerde bermudagrass

Friday, July 16th, 2010

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Evergreen Turf, your Arizona sod producer, is proud to be the premier supplier of MiniVerde Ultradwarf Bermudagrass in Arizona and California. MiniVerde Bermudagrass was designed specifically for high-stress golf course greens and has received praise from golf course superintendents and golfers alike.

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Evergreen Turf installs new carpet of Arizona sod at UofA soccer stadium

Friday, July 9th, 2010

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The 2010 FIFA World Cup culminates this weekend in South Africa. And as the World’s premier soccer stars lace up their boots for their final 90 minute battle, Evergreen Turf has set the stage for some great soccer matches to take place right here in Arizona.

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Overwatering Can Lead to Insect Infestations

Monday, June 7th, 2010

According to University of Arizona (UA) researchers, mosquitoes can breed in a pool of water as small as a paper cup. In order to avoid an infestation of mosquitoes or other insects on and around your property this summer, make sure not to over-water your lawn.

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“The mosquito operates at the paper cup level,” said Paul Robbins, who is heading up the UA study, which is focused on West Nile virus and Dengue fever.

“How can we predict where the paper cups are going to be? Where is that micro-habitat that the bug favors or doesn’t favor distributed in a complex place like a city that has culverts, drains, parks, and people who are watering their lawns, like in Phoenix,” asked Robbins?

We may not be able to eliminate every breeding ground for mosquitoes, but we can take action to limit the amount of standing water on our own property.

Although it’s hotter and drier during the summer – with the exception of monsoon season – than any other time of the year in Arizona, you don’t actually need to water your lawn more than usual. In fact, it promotes better root growth and drought tolerance to water well-established lawns only two to three times a week.

Now that it’s consistently above 80 degrees during the day and night, over-watering can leave those small, paper cup sized pools of water around long enough to allow mosquitoes to successfully breed.

“In southern Arizona, what you’re seeing under some scenarios of warming is an increased length of the mosquito season,” said Robbins. “Generally you worry about them in the rainy season, but we’re seeing that expand out to fall and spring, and that makes a big difference because it provides a much longer breeding season and a longer presence for bugs to transfer disease.”

In addition to limiting the number of breeding spots for mosquitoes, setting an appropriate watering schedule for your lawn will conserve water.

For more tips on lawn maintenance during the summer months, visit our Summer Health, Lawn Care maintenance page.

 

Spring Lawn and Sod Care

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Spring has officially arrived, which means it’s time to start preparing for new landscaping projects and seasonal lawn maintenance. Every year, lawns, no matter how big or small, go through similar seeding and fertilization cycles and spring is the time when grass starts growing again. If you want to ensure a healthy lawn, take note of these tips.

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Spring brings baseball and sod back to life in Arizona

Friday, March 26th, 2010

The arrival of spring in Arizona has brought with it the activity and excitement of Major League Baseball’s spring training, as well as the re-emergence of lush, green lawns.

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How to Select the Right Trees for your Yard

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Choosing new trees for your front or back yard can be a challenge if you are not prepared with the information needed to make an educated purchase. First, do some research on the best local nurseries in town. A good nursery will have plenty of different trees for you to choose from and the staff should be helpful in answering any questions you may ask. (more…)