Archive for the ‘Residential Arizona Sod’ Category

Out of the Weeds – Sod in Arizona

Thursday, July 11th, 2019

Bermuda grasses come in different varieties, the most popular of which is Midiron. Other varieties include Tifway, Tifgreen and TifGrand. All of these varieties are hybrid Bermuda grass. Because they are hybrid grasses, they do not use seeds to plant. They use what are called stolons. Stolons are the above ground runners made by the grass as it grows.

Hybrid Bermuda grasses are designed to be drought and heat tolerant. Some varieties, such as TifGrand, are also more shade tolerant. Hybrid grasses are also hypoallergenic, making them great for people with allergies. They produce no pollen or seeds.

Sod is thicker than regular grass and can prevent more weeds.

To give you an idea of how popular each variety of hybrid Bermuda grass is, Evergreen Turf’s recent sod sales for residential use consisted of:

  • 79.8% Midiron
  • 14.8% Tifway
  • 3.4% TiffGrand
  • 2% Tifgreen

We’ve created an infographic with this information as well, for those visually-inclined folks. Check it out on our Facebook page.

Here’s a breakdown of each sod variety to help you choose which one is right for you:
green blades of grass, up close

Midiron

  • Most popular in Arizona
  • Drought tolerant
  • Low maintenance

Tifway 419

  • Most durable variety
  • Drought tolerant
  • Extra maintenance

Tifgreen 328

  • Very fine texture
  • Bright green color
  • Highly manicured appearance

TifGrand Bermuda

  • True sun and shade grass
  • Dark green color
  • Fine Texture

Palmetto St. Augustine

  • Best for shade, but excellent in sun as well
  • Bright green color
  • Low maintenance

Still not sure which one to choose? Take our quiz to find the right sod for your lawn.

FAQ: How Often Should I Fertilize Bermuda Grass?

Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

A question we get asked frequently around here is…

“How often should I fertilize Bermuda grass?”

how often to fertilize your Bermuda sod lawn

It’s a great question and knowing the answer will help ensure that you have the healthiest lawn possible; one that thrives through the warm months of the year.

So here is your answer:

You should fertilize your Bermuda grass about once a month in the spring using a quick-release, complete fertilizer Once your lawn is fully green and dense, you can switch to a slow-release fertilizer. This will slow the growth of your lawn, so it doesn’t become overgrown.

It’s important to switch to a slow-release fertilizer once your lawn is dense, so that you won’t get a lot of growth. This ensures you’re caring for your lawn in the most efficient manner.

We have several other articles related to the topic of Bermuda grass, including midiron, and fertilizer on our site. Here’s a round-up of those articles, in case you’re still curious or have some other questions.

Other Helpful Articles

How To Get Rid of Weeds – This article describes the most common weeds in Arizona and how to eliminate them from your lawn.

Effects of Over-fertilizing – This article explains how you can accidentally over-fertilize your lawn. It also tells you how to repair an over fertilized lawn.

Can I Fertilize My Lawn in the Summer – This article answers that question and gives additional fertilization tips.

Best Fertilizer for Bermuda Grass – This article goes into detail on which fertilizer is best to use on your Bermuda sod, depending on the time of year and the maturity stage of your lawn.

Common Lawncare Mistakes and How to Avoid Them – This article helps you avoid the most common lawn care mistakes that homeowners make.

Best Time of Year to Aerate Your Bermuda Grass Lawn – This article explains the process of aerating your lawn, why it is important, and when is the best time of year to do so.

About Evergreen Turf

Here at Evergreen Turf, we pride ourselves on being your go-to source for sod in Arizona. Whether you just need tips on how to keep your lawn healthy year-round or you need to purchase sod from us, we have you covered. We even offer installation of our sod products, so you don’t have to worry about installing it yourself.

Not sure which type of sod is right for your lawn? Take our quiz to help you select which variety of sod is suited for your unique conditions. For all things related to lawn care, be sure to check out our lawn care section on our website, which covers everything from irrigation and mowing to nutrition, insect control and fall over-seeding.

If you have any other questions about Arizona sod, whether it has to do with fertilizing your Bermuda sod or anything else, contact our team today and let us know how we can help you. You can also ask us questions or just say hi on our Facebook page!

Top 10 Tips for Arizona Sod

Thursday, June 6th, 2019

Here at Evergreen Turf, we talk about sod a lot! In fact, we’ve been writing blog posts and articles on how best to care for your sod lawn in Arizona for over a decade. People from Phoenix to Tucson and the cities in between turn to us, not just for sod installations, but for lawn care tips. Why? Because they know they can trust us to provide accurate information on creating healthy lawns in Arizona. Here is a collection of our top 10 tips for Arizona sod, from our article archive. Enjoy!

Rye grass is a great choice for Arizona lawns in the winter

Best Fertilizer for St Augustine Grass

The best fertilizer for St Augustine grass will vary, but the rule of thumb is one pound of nitrogen for every 1,000 square feet. Fertilizing every two months is ideal unless you apply slow-release nitrogen that can be spread every 10 weeks. There are numerous fertilizers marketed for St. Augustine specifically such as Lesco St. Augustine Lawn Fertilizer, Dr. Earth Organic Super Natural Lawn Fertilizer and Pennington’s Weed and Feed product.

Learn more here: https://www.evergreenturf.com/best-fertilizer-for-st-augustine-grass.php

How Long Does It Take For Sod To Take Root

The process takes about two weeks for shallow roots and up to six weeks to establish deep root growth.

Be sure to read the full article for tips on how to encourage deep root growth, as well as how to best prepare your soil for sod. Learn more here: https://www.evergreenturf.com/How-Long-Does-It-Take-for-Sod-to-Take-Root.php

The Best Grass For Arizona Lawns

For the warm seasons, the best types of grass for Arizona lawns are Bermuda grasses, such as Tifway, Midiron and others. Palmetto St. Augustine is also a great choice for warm seasons, as it is the most heat-tolerant of all St. Augustine cultivars. For winter grass, the best option is perennial ryegrass. You want to over-seed your summer lawn with perennial ryegrass in the fall when the temperatures outside start to drop to ensure a lush, green winter lawn.

Learn more here: https://www.evergreenturf.com/best-grass-arizona-lawns.php

How To Make St. Augustine Grass Thicker

In a nutshell, you want to follow these five steps to make St. Augustine grass thicker:

  1. Properly prepare the soil.
  2. Water sufficiently – the watering schedule varies based on whether you’re working with a freshly installed lawn or a mature lawn, as well as time of year.
  3. Mow the lawn to the proper height, make sure your mower has sharp blades, and don’t bag the trimmings.
  4. Fertilize with one pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn space. Fertilize during periods of active growth only.
  5. Hand pull weeds whenever possible, and be very careful if you choose to use chemical herbicides.

Learn more here: https://www.evergreenturf.com/how-to-make-st-augustine-grass-thicker.php

How To Keep Grass Green in Five Steps

  1. Choose a type of sod that will work best in your yard.
  2. Test your soil.
  3. Water thoroughly but do not over-water.
  4. Don’t mow too short.
  5. Aerate your lawn once in spring and once in fall.

Learn more here: https://www.evergreenturf.com/How-to-Keep-Grass-Green-in-5-Easy-Steps.php

How To Have Year-Round Grass in Arizona

Bermuda grass is used most often for Arizona lawns during the warm months. It will stay green and continue to grow as long as it has enough water. It is a perennial grass, meaning it comes back year after year. Its active season is usually from May to September.

In September or October, when the temperatures start to get cooler, Bermuda grasses will begin to turn yellow. While your lawn may look dead, it actually is not, this just means the grass has gone dormant.

If you want to ensure that your lawn is green from October through May until the Bermuda grass becomes active again, you will want to overseed your lawn with Rye grass. This grass is suited to cooler temperatures and will begin to die off in May once the afternoons start to become hotter.

Learn more here: https://www.evergreenturf.com/how-to-have-year-round-grass-arizona.php

Why and When To Fertilize Your Lawn

Why should you fertilize your lawn? Because fertilizers help to build a better root system, which in turn helps protect your lawn from extreme heat, cold, drought, foot traffic, and other stress factors.

When should you fertilize your lawn? You should fertilize several times throughout the year:

  • February – April – Strengthens the roots and helps to set it up for success during the heavy growing season.
  • April – June – Gives your lawn the energy it needs to stay healthy during the summer and fall.
  • June – August – Encourage continued growth so that you still have a lawn in the fall.
  • September – November – Your lawn is ready for another growth period, and will need nutrients in order to thrive. Apply your fertilizer just before the winter chill hits in order to increase nitrogen storage.

Learn more here: https://www.evergreenturf.com/Why-and-When-to-Fertilize-Your-Lawn.php

The Best Time To Install Your Arizona Sod Lawn

Sod can be installed year round as long as the soil is properly prepared beforehand.

Learn more here: https://www.evergreenturf.com/Best-Time-Install-Arizona-Sod-Lawn.php

A Guide To 15-15-15 Fertilizer

5-15-15 fertilizer is a fertilizer that contains equal parts of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. It is the best option when you’re installing new sod in Arizona because the soil in Arizona naturally has little to no phosphorous content.

Learn more here: https://www.evergreenturf.com/15-15-15-fertilizer-guide-arizona.php

Best Watering Practices for Arizona Sod

  • When to water freshly installed sod: For the first two weeks after you install your new sod, you should water it four to eight times per day in short intervals of five to ten minutes to keep the sod evenly moist.
  • Water an established lawn two to three times per week for ten to 25 minutes. Try to water early in the morning or in the evening.
  • Rainwater and recycled household water can supplement your traditional water supply. Check your local laws to ensure it is legal to do so.
  • Sprinklers and timers can help make watering sod in Arizona more efficient.

Learn more here: https://www.evergreenturf.com/best-watering-practices-arizona-sod.php

How to Maintain Grass in Extreme Heat

Monday, July 2nd, 2018

Newsflash! It gets pretty toasty in Arizona in the summer!

Phoenix is always making national headlines around this time of year due to its extreme summer heat. This can be problematic for your sod lawn if you don’t know how to maintain your grass when temperatures soar.

Lucky for you, Evergreen Turf is here to help! Here are our top tips for maintaining grass through the hot Arizona summer heat:

Signs of Lawn Iron Deficiency - When it comes to leaves, you can detect iron deficiencies in a yellowish exterior with a green center.

1. Don’t Mow too Low

Mowing your grass too short reduces the plant’s ability to produce energy for growth. Remember, different varieties of grass have different growth habits that directly relate to mowing heights. Optimal mower heights vary, depending on whether you’re mowing cool-season or warm-season grass, but generally speaking, you never want to remove more than one-third of the grass blade at a time.

2. Water Deeply, Not Daily

Water is a scarce resource when things heat up in the desert, but you don’t want to drown your grass and waste the resource on a lawn that won’t be able to soak it all in. The goal is to water deeply so the water reaches the entire root zone. Then, don’t water again until it starts to dry out. Normally, you’ll be able to simply look at your lawn to see if it’s dry. If you’re not sure, use a soil probe or long screwdriver to test the moisture level beneath the surface. If you can’t push your tool down about ten inches, it’s time for a watering session.

3. Keep Mower Blades Sharp

Your grass will heal faster when you use a sharp blade. Dull blades tend to inhibit growth and may negate the beautiful look you’re going for. When the mower blade is dull, it rips the grass, rather than cutting it. This can lead to a brown appearance, as the tearing tends to deaden the tips of the leaves.

It’s important to keep your lawn healthy all year round to prevent headaches and costly mistakes that can be detrimental to the look of your yard.

Evergreen Turf is Arizona’s go-to place for beautiful lawns. If you follow these tips to maintain your healthy lawn during extreme summer heat in Phoenix and Tucson, you’ll enjoy a stunning lawn all summer long. Do you need a little help getting started? Touch base with our Evergreen Turf team today!

How To Transition Your Lawn Back To Warm Season Turfgrass

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

Naturally, now that the chilly season is on its way out, you’re ready to get your green summer lawn going. If you overseeded properly in the fall, you enjoyed a lush green lawn all winter long. Soon, however, temperatures will begin to rise, putting those cool-weather blades into dormancy, allowing your warm-season grass to usher in an entirely new look. Spring is the time when you transition your lawn from winter to summer.

Here’s what you need to know about the springtime transition:

Spring Transition

arizona sod- how to fix soil

Wilting or Brown Spots Don’t Necessarily Signify a Need for Water

If you’re currently looking at a winter lawn, the brown spots and wilting aren’t likely the result of a lack of water. Instead, you probably planted winter grass that isn’t meant to survive Arizona’s harsh summer conditions. If this is the case, you don’t want to nurture your ryegrass. Instead, you want to make sure your Bermuda grass is healthy and well cared for, so it can carry out the summer months.

When to Transition to Summer Grass

There is no hard-and-fast date because temperatures can vary from year to year. You’re looking for a time-frame in which night time temperatures are consistently above 65 degrees at least five days in a row.

1. Don’t Over-Mow

Lower your mower height so you gradually remove about 1/2 the blade. The open canopy you create will give the roots more access to the sun, allowing heat to reach the soil surface uninterrupted. This allows the root system to start making its moves through the soil.

2. Aerate

Since nutrients are essential to your new lawn’s roots, it’s best to eliminate as many obstacles as possible. Aeration removes excess thatch and other obstacles that can prevent water and heat from reaching your lawn’s roots. Aeration is your way of telling your Bermuda grass it’s time to wake up and get going! As a note, you shouldn’t aerate until May.

RelatedHow to Prevent Disease and Insects in Your Lawn

3. Don’t Over-Water

You don’t need to cut back on watering completely, but you do want to give your summer grass room to surface. Cut back on water for about five days to discourage ryegrass from continuing growth. The Bermuda will take over when the ryegrass starts to show signs of distress.

4. Find the Right Fertilizer

Fertilizer is key, but many people don’t understand the differences between the available options. When you’re transitioning from winter to summer grass in Arizona, you want to use a fertilizer that’s high in ammonium sulfate. This helps weaken the ryegrass, while simultaneously supplying your Bermuda grass with the nutrients it needs to begin growing.

5. Keep Your Yard Raked

As your ryegrass dies out, it’s important to keep your lawn cleared of all dead plant material. Make best friends with your rake; this will provide a clean slate that will allow your Bermuda grass to grow without interruptions.

Are you ready to make your lawn everything you’ve ever dreamed it can be? Check out our Evergreen Turf Guide to Transitioning Your Arizona Sod Lawn – Spring Edition to find out everything you need to know to keep those leaves green and happy!

 

Winter Weeds to Know + Weed Control Tips

Tuesday, October 24th, 2017

During winter in Arizona, your lawn undergoes a number of changes. If you do not overseed your lawn, it turns brown as it goes dormant, and those pesky weeds pop up throughout your backyard. If you have an overseeded lawn, the weeds still come through, turning your luscious green winter lawn into an eyesore.

How did the weeds get there? Most of them started germinating during fall, turn brown in winter, and continue to blossom. The presence of the pesky and ugly winter weeds also means the health of your lawn is wanting as the weak turf allows the weeds to flourish.

Winter weeds are an eyesore and ruin the aesthetic appeal of your yard.

Winter Weed Control Tips

The best time to control the weeds is in the end of summer or beginning of fall. Follow the winter weed control tips below, depending on whether your lawn is overseeded or not.

Non-overseeded Lawns

If you have a non-overseeded lawn, the recommended approach is using pre-emergent herbicides. For best results spray the herbicides mid-September and it stops all weeds from even germinating.

Overseeded Lawns

First, about three weeks before overseeding your lawn, you want to kill any existing weeds. You can spray herbicides or pull them out. Once you have overseeded your lawn, DO NOT spray any herbicides for at least six weeks. The herbicide will damage the new rye grass that is growing in for the winter.

The use of pre-emergent sprays is recommended while the weeds are small. It’s important to identify the kinds of weeds plaguing your lawn, as different weeds require different approaches.

  • Grass weeds- They resemble grass, and they branch out than grow up through the soil.
  • Broadleaf weeds-they have broad leaves, flowers, are small and have tap roots.
  • Sedges-They come from tubers, roots, and seeds that branch out. They grower higher than the normal grass

After identifying the weeds, you can decide on the right approach which includes:

  • Using post and pre-emergent herbicides
  • Hand-pulling the weed

When dealing with herbicides, consider the following:

  • Recommended air temperature is between 66-85 degrees F. Using it a higher temperature damages the turf too.
  • Ensure the soil is moist so that the herbicide seeps into the root system
  • Do not mow before or after the treatment
  • Do not spray during the rainy or windy days, and on newly planted lawns

Common Winter Weeds

Poa annua is one of the common winter weeds in Arizona that appears in January and February. Poa annua germinates together with the ryegrass and only becomes visible in January when its seed heads start showing.

It ruins the aesthetic appeal of your lawn and you cannot spray it since it damages the ryegrass too.

Strategies to control the weed include:

  • Controlling it during germination by using pre-emergence herbicides or wait for it emerge and use post-emergence herbicides
  • Control its growth in non-overseeded sods using pre or post-emergence herbicides

We all want a lush, beautiful and a healthy lawn. Winter weeds are an eyesore and ruin the aesthetic appeal of your yard. It is important to understand the different kinds of weeds, when they emerge and, how to control them.

If you need sod in Arizona, contact Evergreen Turf today. We are Arizona’s premier sod supplier. We serve the following areas: Phoenix, Tucson, Chandler, Mesa, Yuma, Queen Creek, Casa Grande, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, Tempe, Buckeye, Gilbert, Surprise, Sierra Vista, Apache Junction, Glendale, and Peoria.

How to Refresh Your Yard For Spring

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

Here are some tips and ideas on how to refresh your yard for spring.

  1. Update your welcome mats with bright colors
  2. Create sod-covered coasters
  3. Paint your planters bright colors
  4. Repair bare spots in your lawn
  5. Garnish Your Outdoor Space with DIY Garland

arizona sod spring refresh tips

Update Your Welcome Mats with Bright Colors

Out with the old, drab, gray mats that have greeted one too many pairs of dirty shoes. It’s time to freshen up your pad, starting with the space that greets guests just before they enter your doors. Need some inspiration? Shoot for fruit-inspired floor features that will liven up your entryways. A watermelon welcome mat at the front door, and a lemon one at the back, will instantly bring a bright and vibrant vibe to your home.

Create Sod-Covered Coasters

What’s a springtime cocktail without a great coaster? We’d be lying if we said we didn’t have a special affinity to these sod-covered coasters. After all, our Evergreen Turf team works hard to procure beautiful sod lawns everyday, so when we find an item that allows us to enjoy the fruits of our labor by way of an after-work cocktail, there’s no getting around the happiness!

Fill a glass with fruit-infused water – or go for something a little stronger – as you sit on your patio and enjoy the welcoming post-winter Arizona weather.

Paint Your Planters Bright Colors

Ring in spring by saying, “Out with the drab, and in with the fab!”

Nobody said planters have to keep their boring, original colors. Pep up your plants, both inside and out, with neon paint. Appeal to the complementary colors on your flowers’ petals, or simply choose vibrant hues that work well for you. In any case, a brightened up planter will instantly set the springtime mood.

Repair Bare Spots in Your Lawn

Now that winter has begun to fade away, this is the perfect time to fix any trouble spots in your lawn and repair bare spots with new sod. Brown spots can easily become green again if you put the proper measures in place. First, try to understand what’s causing the barren spaces on your landscape. If pet urine or pests are the problem, seek measures to help eliminate ongoing brown patches. Otherwise, new sod won’t do much but mask the problem as a momentary fix.

If you’ve remedied the sources of your spotting, it’s time to lay down some new sod. Be sure to check out our Guide to Transitioning Your Arizona Sod Lawn in the Spring for helpful tips about fertilizing, watering, and maintaining your new sod.

Garnish Your Outdoor Space with DIY Garland

You can spruce up any space in your place with an easy-to-do DIY garland project. Simply gather the essential items, and set some time aside to work on your craft. If you have a garden, consider plucking some of your lovely flowers to incorporate into this piece. Alternatively, local florists – and even grocery stores – will be able to provide you with plenty of floral pickings.

Alas, not all spring cleaning is this much fun. To ensure a beautiful Arizona lawn all summer long, be sure to check out these 5 Lawn Care Tips for Spring brought to you by our Evergreen Turf team!

How To Prevent Ticks In Your Yard

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

When it comes to keeping ticks off your dog, prevention is key. Since ticks often live in the pet’s own yard, it’s important to keep up with a regular lawn maintenance routine. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide general information on ticks as well as tips for keeping these nasty nuisances away.

how to prevent ticks in your yard

Understanding Ticks

Ticks belong to the arachnid family and are classified as ectoparasites that feed on the blood of mammals. Aside from latching on to their “host” and causing the animal discomfort, they can also carry diseases like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Anaplasmosis. Contrary to popular belief, ticks don’t jump or fly; rather, they attach themselves to other animals when they’re alerted to the host’s presence through smells, vibrations, etc. One of the ways they do this is by waiting on long blades of grass with their legs outstretched, waiting to latch on to an unsuspecting pup.

Life Cycle of a Tick

While ticks often die after their inability to find a host, they can survive for years as they cycle through each of the four stages of life: egg, larva, nymph, and adult. Once a tick hatches from its egg, it requires blood for survival—be it from mammals, birds, or reptiles.

Lawn Care Tips for Avoiding Ticks

Not only will regular yard maintenance keep your lawn in pristine shape, upkeep will keep ticks away in every stage of their life cycle. Here’s how to protect your pet like a pro.

  • Mow regularly. The higher the blade, the easier it will be for ticks to reach your animal and latch on to start feeding.
  • Apply tick pesticides (called acaricides) to reduce the amount of ticks in your home’s vicinity. Double check to make the Environmental Protection Agency allows for pesticide application in your area.
  • Keep your yard free of debris and household items including things you’re waiting to donate or trash.
  • Remove fallen leaves immediately. Rake often since ticks will use leaves like blades of grass—perched and waiting to clasp on to the dog or cat.
  • If you don’t have a fenced backyard or there is a significant amount of brush along your property line, create a barrier to prevent ticks from crawling onto your lawn. Ensure the barrier is at least three feet wide and constructed from wood chips, rocks, or gravel.
  • Collect firewood? Make sure it stays neatly stacked in a cool, dry area to keep rodents away. Fewer rodents mean fewer hosts for ticks.
  • Plant Mother Nature’s tick repellent to keep ticks away from your home. Lavender and Peppermint are unappealing to ticks and, as an added bonus, are 100% non-toxic and safe for the family dog.
  • All exterior equipment including furniture, playground structures, even patios and decks should have ample distance from trees and bushes. Direct sunlight is best.

Keeping your lawn free of ticks is the best course of action for keeping them off your dog. By being proactive and looking after your yard, you’ll be saving your animal from blood-sucking ticks and yourself from the headache of treating them after a bite.

6 Easy Ways To Make Your Backyard Fun For Kids

Friday, January 13th, 2017

Entertaining your children needn’t cost an arm and a leg. Create a fun and safe backyard space for kids with the following DIY tips.

6 Easy Ways To Make Your Backyard Fun For Kids

Build a ground-level trampoline

As a safer, prettier alternative to a standard above-ground trampoline, consider one that lays flush with the ground. All Things Thrifty offers a helpful tutorial for building one yourself for less than $300 and a handful of supplies outside of your normal tool and garden kit. If you have a pool, build your ground level trampoline along the perimeter to serve as a second diving board.

Make a mud kitchen

Kids are happiest when they’re dirty! Let their creativity take center stage by providing tools for digging, molding, and shaping. Think of your backyard as an urban beach with mini shovels, buckets, tools, and more. Encourage your child to create “foods” such as mud pies as they experiment with Mother Nature’s materials including water to alternate the consistency of the messy medium.

Teach them how to grow

No, not emotionally—although that’s important too. Rather, learn how to grow food alongside your little one with a simple DIY garden bed. Whether you’re using individual potted plants for simple herbs or a fully converted sandbox, it’s easy to get kids excited about the idea of looking after a living thing. Tending to a home garden is also a great opportunity to teach your children about balanced nutrition and frugality.

Make a sand pit

Like the mud kitchen, a DIY sand pit will provide hours of entertainment for young ones who simply want to navigate the world around them on the ground floor. Build an easy teepee above a sand pit out of 2x4s for supervised climbing or add outdoor cushions around the edges to make the pit adult-friendly. Buckets, rope, toy cars, oversized rocks and sticks—the more “tools” the better.

Turn an outdoor fence into a chalkboard

Hey There, Home has an easy-to-follow tutorial for creating an outdoor chalkboard that will last for years to come. With a few supplies from your local hardware store you can have a canvas for the kids and their wildest creations.

Make a music wall

Get your children interested in music at an early age with household materials like old pots, bikes wheels or tire coverings—anything you can think of! There are no rules to a music wall other than ensuring your instruments are securely fastened with a nail or hook. Let your children make unique sounds with a worn out spatula or wooden spoon. The best part is sitting back and watching them explore with little to no instruction.

Any great backyard transformation doesn’t happen in a day. Start with one or two projects that seem most manageable and get the kids involved. Ask them to practice their writing skills by making a supply list or assign roles like “Best Assistant” and “Lead Painter.” Low cost backyard fun is right around the corner.

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!