Most of us cross the path in our life when we learn the “4 C’s” of buying a diamond.  But how about the 4 C’s of buying sod? 

1)      The first “C” to consider when buying sod is Category.  There are paspalums, bermudas, St. Augustines, and cool season grasses.

There are environmental factors to consider when you are deciding what variety is best for your house, park, landscape, golf course or sports field such as:

  •  Shade – Is it partial day shade or in full shade?  If you get at least 3 hours of direct sunlight between 10 am and 3 pm in the summer you can use BOBSod.  If you are in full shade for all of the day, you need to consider going with St. Augustine. There are NO other  warm season grasses for this situation on the market.  If the area is in full sunlight you can use any paspalums, bermudas, or St. Augustine varieties.
  • Temperature – It’s no secret that the new and improved seashore paspalum varieties such as Sea Spray and Platinum handle the heat as well–if not better–than all of the bermudagrasses on the market. The optimal growing weather for both is between 80-105 degrees with humidity.  They eat up the humidity and that is why you see the most growth during our monsoon season. When the weather is cooler you want to buy sod that is overseeded with perennial ryegrass, or plant a paspalum before the end of November.  They’ll will hold  color 6 weeks on average longer than bermudagrass, and will green up 6 weeks faster.

2)      The second “C” to consider when buying sod is  CUT.

What are your maintenance practices going to be?  What is discussed most often is height of cut.  There are several grasses on the market that are higher maintenance than others, and will give you a perfectly manicured look.  If you are using a reel type mower, rest easy because you can use any of the grasses we sell, and know you are going to get a pristine cut.  Some of the best home lawn choices in this category are BOBSod, sea shore paspalum, and the “Tiff’s.”  A reel mower is not the most economical option, and most of us use a rotary lawn mower.  We mow one to two times per week, and maintain our lawn between ¾” and 2 inches.  For everyone that uses a rotary lawn mower I suggest using BOBSod, Sea Spray or Platinum Paspalum, or EZ-Turf. You can get the Tifway 419 to fit into this category but it does take a couple mows per week to maintain to correct mowing height.

3)  The third “C” to consider when buying sod is Customer Service.

I have this listed so high in the buying equation because you don’t want to buy sod from a company that hasn’t been around  very long, and doesn’t have people on staff that can help you answer all your lawn needs. It’s no secret that West Coast Turf/Western Sod has been around for almost 40 years selling sod all over the southwest. We have farms all over California and two Arizona locations which allow us to always provide a high end product to all of our customers.

When I buy a product I always want to buy from a company that backs it up  and has no problem putting it on display.  For example, when you are purchasing overseeded grass in the winter it is almost impossible to determine what percentage of bermudagrass is going to transition for you in the spring, or if the grass was seeded before the bermudagrass was ready. I have visited several sites where people bought beautiful overseeded winter lawn, and they quickly realize that the product they purchased for less money was very immature in its growing cycle. The result from this is a lot of bare areas.

4)  The final “C” to consider when buying sod is Cost Savings.

I know everyone is looking for me to say cost, but as we all know–you get what you pay for. Often times what looks like a great deal is nothing more than smoke and mirrors.  Grass is the same way, and the cost of sod can only vary with a few factors.  These are type of grass, sod quality, and growing costs (fertilizers, harvest, etc.).  There are a lot of people out there just trying to move a product these days without considering the impact of the consumer.  I can tell you that we are not doing that, and we are looking to save you money by putting the right grass in for you for your particular situation. The  new varieties like seashore paspalum might cost more initially, but have a huge economic savings “built in.”  They use 2/3 less nitrogen than bermudagrass in a year, broadleaf weeds can be maintained with rock salt, and they use less water once established and grown in properly.

Similar cost savings holds true with bermudagrass. We take on the growing costs, and put them into our product to provide you with a turf that is in “golf course condition” when it shows up on your property. If you see a cheaper sod out there it is usually associated with lower growing costs, less fertilizer, and it also means you often getting an immature product.  While it is understood that you can bring the product up to par by spending money out of your pocket, wouldn’t you rather see it come from the company you are buying from to begin with?  I know when I bought my air conditioner I had no desire to put more money into making it a working product.

I hope everyone has learned a little bit about the sod buying experience, and why to consider these 4 C’s before buying.

I have to thank everyone for reading because what started off as a bi-monthly blog has turned into a bi-weekly blog because of the interest of my readers. Thanks for reading, and keep sending me your questions and any topic ideas you’d like me to cover!