The effort to construct and put premium quality golf courses into play quickly has spurred the use of modified hydraulic planting equipment to apply live sprigs (stolons) and a nurturing wood fiber blanket, in one step.
Hydraulic planters (hydro-mulchers and hydro-seeders), familiar to most for their ability to quickly and evenly plant seeded grasses, wildflowers and a wide variety of erosion controlling plants, have found an important new use in the planting of warm season grasses from vegetative material (sprigs or stolons).
Mechanical sprig planters, though still in wide use, appear ineffective and are severely limited when compared to the capabilities of a hydraulic planter.
Some of the limitations and disadvantages of mechanical planters are:
- High degree of fill-in and hand planting required.
- Disturbance of finished grade, rocks lifted, ruts left.
- High potential for damage to irrigation and cart paths.
- Low survivability of sprigs, row crop planting pattern.
- Unable to service berms and rolling features adequately.
- Often limited by soil moisture and type.
Hydraulic planting, specifically “hydro-sprigging“, permits the greatest degree of flexibility and produces vastly superior results, due in large part to the inclusion of 100% Wood Fiber Mulch to hold sprigs in place, retain soil moisture and protect the sprigs from the elements until established.
Some of the key advantages of hydro-sprigging are:
- Unaffected by terrain, soil moisture or obstacles.
- Produces even planting with higher survivability.
- Extension hoses allow planting up to 1,000 feet away.
- No damage to irrigation, cart paths or finished grade.
- Touch-up and hand work not required; neat and clean.
- Lower costs of grow-in, faster time-to-play.
A slurry of sprigs, water, wood fiber mulch, fertilizer and any desired additives is evenly applied to the soil surface, usually by a hand-held hose. The operator has a high degree of control and is able to assure even coverage of the most unusual terrain or features, keep sprigs out of the traps, and follow precise markings where a variety of grasses are to be used.
Once in place, this blanket of sprigs and wood fiber mulch resists the erosion impact of irrigation and rainfall. The blanket serves to moderate soil temperatures and promote spreading growth better than hot soil alone. More sprigs survive to provide a quicker fill-in. Soil activity, fertilizer and constant watering gradually decompose the wood fibers as the turf knits together.
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