Category Archives: Turf Care

  • 0

Keep Your Soil Moist with Stockosorb®

What is Stockosorb®?

Stockosorb® is a man-made water-absorbing polymer that is designed to improve the capability of soils and other growing media to retain water and plant nutrients. It can be used for the same reasons you would use peat moss mixed in the soil…to retain water near the roots.  Once in contact with water, it will absorb 10 times it weight in water.

How to Apply to Your Soil

We recommend that you add Stockosorb® crystals to your tilled soil using a spreader, AFTER you have added your other soil amendments, and rake it in at about 2″ depth (closest to root level). Do not add water to it until you have laid your sod.

How Stockosorb® Works

Once the Stockosorb® crystals come in contact with water, they will capture water that would have otherwise been lost into the aquifer. They will expand to hold up to 10 times their weight in water and keep the captured water at the root level of the sod. This means that the next time your grass is thirsty, it will “drink” from the water absorbed by the Stockosorb® first, allowing you to save on water usage.

Stockosorb® crystals remain in the soil for 7-10 years (dependent upon soil conditions, etc).

You can also use Stockosorb® when planting trees, plants, in potted plants and gardens, and even in your indoor plants.  Just be careful, as a little bit goes a long way!

Please call us for any more information.

505-832-4247


  • -

No Netting…Ever!

Category : Knowledge , Products , Turf Care

Through-out our sod growing industry, some farmers are turning to using plastic netting to hold their sod rolls together, rather than waiting until the root system grows to a total mature age.

Using a netting benefits only the farmer…not their customer!

Recently, a customer drove to our Moriarty farm to purchase our premium sod.  Last year, he bought sod from one of the large outlet chain stores; but sod died during the winter.  He shared, when rototilling the dirt, all of the netting, which was still in the dead roots, twined up the rotortiller and caused much trouble clearing the rototiller.  Obviously he was happy that we, at StoneGate TurfGrass Ranch, never take the short path, and wait the long growing period until our sod is totally mature and healthy.

NO NETTING AT OUR FARM…EVER!

We appreciate your business, but rather more…your friendship!


  • 0

Water-Saving Advice

Watering your yard really doesn’t have to cost “an arm and a leg.” With a properly planned and operating irrigation system you can cut your water usage as much as 50%. You can start by knowing how much water you are applying at each watering…it’s effortless!

  • Place several empty coffee cans or similar containers around your yard and water until 1″ of water accumulates in the containers.  Time this event – then you will know how long you should water.
  • Plan your watering cycle for every 2nd or 3rd day. If you observe any water runoff, cut the watering time to half and water 2 times during each planned watering day.
  • Shut off the irrigation system if you observe rain and let the rainy day take place of one of your watering cycle days.
  • July and August are months that normally require additional water, possibly as much as 50% more. Water when it’s cooler, such as 3:00am and 8:00pm.
  • Throughout winter months, your lawn will still need water. Water only one time every 10-12 days, during warmer daytime hours, and when there is no snow on the ground.

Simple, right? Now you can enjoy your yard while saving thousands of gallons of water each year, and don’t forget those dollars you will also save!


  • -

Buy New Mexico!

Category : Knowledge , Products , Turf Care

Did You Know?

Some sod is imported, into New Mexico, from as many as 5 states. This sod travels many miles (two, maybe three days); drying out during their long trip! Out of state deliveries are limited to one or two maximum per week; causing micro-organisms to grow and build inside old pallets of sod.

This heat and micro-organisms cause sod rotting and spoiling.

Our farm, StoneGate TurfGrass Ranch, is located just 35 miles east of Albuquerque, and we will deliver our fresh cut sod, usually within one-two hours. We promise you will receive the freshest, healthiest, and greenest sod available…and grown closest to Albuquerque.

As usual, we will meet you with a friendly greet and a broad smile – that’s just who we are.


  • 0

Caring for Your Turf Grass

WATERING

Water the sod immediately after installation until it’s completely soaked, but not puddled ABOVE the sod. Initially, apply at least 1″ of water so the soil underneath is very wet. Pull back a corner of sod to verify your watering is penetrating the underlying soil. Make sure the water is getting to all the areas of your lawn and no corners or edges are missed by your sprinklers. Weather conditions will dictate the frequency and amount of water to apply. It is critical to keep the underlying soil moist for two weeks or until your turf is well rooted.

As the turf becomes more established, begin deeper, less frequent water applications to promote deeper rooting and hardier turf.

Be sure your new turf grass has enough moisture to survive hot, cold, dry and windy conditions. Generally speaking, as the root system grows deeper, irrigation frequency should be reduced.

GENERAL RULES FOR ESTABLISHING NEW TURF

WEEK 1 – 7AM + 11AM + 2 PM

If the soil remains moist and absolutely no turf wilt is observed, eliminate the 11:00 watering

WEEK 2 – 7AM + 2PM

If the soil remains moist and absolutely no turf wilt is observed, eliminate the 2:00PM watering

WEEKS 3 & 4 – 7AM

If the soil remains moist and absolutely no turf wilt is observed, water every other day.

Eventually taper back to once every two or three days. Adjust according to weather and season – water more frequently during warm or dry weather. Turn off water if it’s windy, as the water evaporates at a much higher rate. Do not water sod between 6 PM and 4 AM, as this can promote turf disease.

FOOT TRAFFIC

During the first couple of weeks after installation, keep traffic off your newly planted turf grass as much as possible. Your new turf grass needs time to firmly knit the roots with the soil. If you have properly watered your newly-laid turf grass, it will be moist and soft. Traffic will create indentures and destroy your smooth grade.

TROUBLESHOOTING

If DRY SPOTS appear in the lawn during the afternoon, the irrigation time should be increased. If dry spots persist, an irrigation uniformity problem is likely, and an additional sprinkler head may be required.

BROWN LAWN areas are most commonly caused by one of three types of problems: Improper watering, burn, or disease. Check for watering and burn problems first before treating for disease.

BROWN SPOTS caused by a burn will result from pet urine, over-fertilization, gasoline spills, etc. Burn spots are distinguished from other types of damage by their “total kill” straw-yellow color. If a burned area is thoroughly flushed with water in the early stage of damage some recovery may occur. Otherwise reseeding or sodding may be necessary. However, with bluegrass, if you are patient, the area will fill itself in. It will just take some time. With fescue, overseeding or re-sodding will be necessary, as it will NOT fill itself in.

To check for LACK OF WATER use a screwdriver or knife to probe the brown areas of your lawn as well as the healthy green areas. If the brown area is more difficult to penetrate then a lack of water is likely. This is usually the result of poor sprinkler spacing or sprinkler malfunction. Saturate the area with a hose as soon as possible and continue to provide supplemental water until the sprinklers are repaired.

EXCESS WATER can cause turf to die by suffocating the plants roots or rotting its crown. This generally occurs in low spots or shady areas. Check for muddy soil, algae crusts, or slimy rotting grass. To correct problems in the shade, reduce irrigation time to that area or replace the sprinklers with lower volume heads. Low spots must either be raised or set up to drain. A French drain might need to be installed, which can be done by local landscape contractor.

DISEASES are almost always related to heat and moisture. However, poor irrigation practices can also promote disease development. The longer moisture stays in the turf foliage the greater the disease risk. Therefore, do not water at night, (between 6 pm and 4 am) since the lawn will stay wet until morning. It is best to irrigate between 6 am and 8 am. Early morning watering reduces evaporation.


  • 0

Step-by-Step Sod Installation Instructions

1. Rake and remove all rocks, sticks and debris from surface area of the soil.

2. Add peat moss to soil. This will retain water to feed back to the sod, as well as loosen the current soil structure. For heavy sand or clay soil, a soil amendment such as a new nutrient-rich  compost or top soil, is recommended. (Note: Some top soils contain certain amounts of peat moss already. Too much peat moss will make your new lawn very “spongy”.  For maximum water savings, add our Stockosorb polymers to your soil. They absorb many times their weight in water and redistribute the water in a slower time-release process (1 teaspoon absorbs approximately 8 oz. of water. 1 lb. covers approximately 200 sq.ft.)

Installing Sod

3. Roto-till the soil to a depth of 6-8 inches. Rake again to remove additional rocks, sticks and debris that have been brought to the surface. A wide-tooth rake is excellent for this process.

4. Rake to form a smooth surface. An iron rake works great for this. Soil compaction should be firm enough that that it will not sink or compact after the sod is laid and watered. However, it should not be too firm so that roots will not be able to work their way into the soil. The best way to test this is to walk across the soil. It should feel spongy underfoot, but not leave a very deep footprint behind. Sod should be laid on a lightly damp soil surface, so water the roto-tilled soil slightly, but make sure it’s not soggy.

5. Level to fill low spots. Leave soil 2 inches below any cement, flagstone, walks and driveways.  This will allow for the thickness of the sod roll, so that you will not have sod higher than their neighboring surfaces. Level ground 1-2 inches below sprinkler heads also.  Slant the sod bed slightly away from the house/building to allow for proper drainage.

6. Begin the sod laying process along a straight edge such as a walk, patio or driveway. Lay sod horizontally with the house or street. For irregular or oval patterns, use 2 stakes with a string tied between to develop a straight edge. Using a straight edge for a guide will save you from wasting sod, not to mention less time cutting the sod.

7. Butt edges of sod together tightly to promote rapid knitting of edges and lay the sod in a staggered brick pattern. This will make the seams less noticeable. Use a sod knife (recommended) or a serrated knife to cut around trees, irregular borders and other areas.

8. Lightly fertilize the day of sod installation. We recommend our fertilizer mixture, as it has been specifically designed for us and our New Mexico sod. A 50 lb. bag will cover approximately 7000-7500 square feet, which should last approximately 4-6 applications. Fertilizer should always be watered into the lawn immediately after application to avoid burning the sod.

9. Water sod heavily and thoroughly after installation for the first two days. Thorough watering during the first 48 hours is crucial to the success of your sod. Water heavily enough to see water on the ground surface, but not standing water. This should be done 3 times per day for the first 2 days.

10. Water thoroughly every day for this first 10-14 days, but do not flood after the first 48 hours. After the 14th day, gradually reduce watering to every other day for a week. After 21 days, you should be able to determine if your sod will need more or less watering based on it’s response to your watering cycle. Check our Water Saving Advice to learn how to measure the amount of water your specific irrigation system distributes, as all irrigation systems differ.

11. Fertilize lawn 4-6 weeks after installation. Fertilizer should always be watered into the lawn immediately after application to avoid burning the sod.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

  • Foot and pet traffic should be kept to a minimum the first two weeks.
  • Two weeks after sod installation a majority of the roots will be bonded to the soil below.
  • Three weeks after installation, the seams should start to disappear.
  • Bluegrass or our other blends should be fertilized 4 times per year: early March, late May, early September and late October.
  • Consultations before, during or after installation of sod are available at $75/hr. (1 hr. minimum)

  • 0

Winter Sod Care

Your lawn will need some minimal care throughout Winter, to ensure a healthy and happy Spring lawn, so don’t forget about it until then!

Here are some of our best Fall and Winter lawn care tips:

  • Aerate. Late Fall and early Winter are good times to aerate your lawn.  This allows air, water and nutrients directly to the root level (all roots need nutrients, water AND air), and opens areas of the soil, helping ward off compaction, which can be tough on roots.
  • Fertilize. Lawns become somewhat, but not fully dormant in the winter.  You should fertilize BEFORE this semi-dormancy stage.   This will allow the lawn to still receive much needed nutrients it can lack over winter, leading to a much healthier, happier lawn come Spring. You will also want to start fertilizing in early March. Make sure to read the full instructions, and application rates for Fall and Winter. We sell fertilizer specifically made for our climate…it’s the same kind we use at the farm!
  • Clean off debris and snow. grass-in-snowWe don’t get much snow in the Southwest, however, there can be patches of snow in the shade that if left for some time, with wet debris, can smother and kill the grass underneath. Sod still needs oxygen in Winter! If snow is left to pile on grass (not common in South and Central NM, but a possibility in Northern NM) keeping it wet through an extended time, it can turn lawns pink or gray with snow mold.  Spread out any large piles of snow to encourage melting.
  • Keep foot traffic to a minimum. There are a few times throughout Winter, that the ground may be frozen or close to it.  When we play and run on grass in these conditions, it can damage it. Keep rough foot traffic to a minimum in the cold Winter months.
  • Work out soil compaction. Too much foot traffic on wet Winter grass can compact the soil, which is not a good for turf roots that work hard in Winter.  Compaction can be helped by aerating.  So again, keep foot traffic to a minimum in Winter.
  • Reseed before the Winter sets in. Reseeding is a great thing to do in the Fall before the cold Winter temperatures. Attaining good seed germination is difficult for the common homeowner, and seed grades sold at big box stores, is not of the highest quality (ie. lower germination rates).  So if you really want to do some serious seeding work, local landscape contractors can “powerseed”, which distributes seed into machine-made knife-like slits to achieve optimum seed germination.  You can reseed in late Winter as well (February/March) but remember, when seeding it can take up to 18 months to have a full yard, and you may need to reseed a couple more times to get a full, lush lawn. We sell Grade 1 (the best germination rate) Scotts Premium Seed in all the same sod varieties we have.
  • Get rid of pests and weeds. Fall is the perfect time to treat for weeds, dandelions, bugs, and grubs. Herbicides, pesticides (organic is better) and weed killer are good options to apply before the Winter cold arrives.

If you really want to have a superb lawn in Spring, you must care for it throughout Winter too.  Please feel free to contact us if you have any other questions.


  • 0

Shop and Compare Your Sod

Category : Knowledge , Turf Care

It seems we all shop and compare prices.  Milk, butter, oranges, gasoline, motor oil, etc. all share the same thing; there is little difference from one producer to another.

But, when it comes to sod, there are vast differences in quality; however, many folks don’t shop and compare. Even if the sod looks like it has been sitting around for a week, or longer, many will buy it because it’s just cheap and convenient to purchase! Will it even survive once you lay it down?

Much of the sod purchased from the big outlet stores is brought in from out of state, which many do not know. It takes about an hour to deliver our sod from our farm to our retail lot, in Albuquerque; not a full day or two that it might take from an out of state farm!  Our sod never sits around for more than a few hours; simply because we never harvest unless it is ordered and pre-sold. The big stores can’t, or won’t do that, because it takes too much labor to spend time selling low profit items such as sod.  But…we promise to take as much time as needed to explain and educate you, our very valued customers, on the value of a green, healthy lawn.

Thank you for choosing us, when selecting our sod for your next project!


  • 0

In This Summer Heat, What Is The Best Time to Water?

Category : Knowledge , Turf Care

During these hot summer days, we often get questions regarding the best time to water.  It’s best to irrigate between 6am and 8am, as this allows for minimal evaporation and maximum absorption.

We do not recommend watering during the middle of the night, as the longer water stays on the turf and does not absorb, the greater the risk for disease.  Nor do we recommend watering during the heat of the day, late afternoon or early evening, since the heat will cause the water to evaporate quickly rather than absorbing into the soil.

As always, feel free to call us with any questions!


  • 0

Troubleshooting Sod Issues

Below you will find some of the more common issues with turf grass care. Please feel free to contact us, if you have further questions.

If DRY SPOTS appear in the lawn during the afternoon, the irrigation time should be increased. If dry spots persist, an irrigation uniformity problem is likely, and an additional sprinkler head may be required.

BROWN LAWN areas are most commonly caused by one of three types of problems: Improper watering, burn, or disease. Check for watering and burn problems first before treating for disease.

BROWN SPOTS caused by a burn will result from pet urine, over-fertilization, gasoline spills, etc. Burn spots are distinguished from other types of damage by their “total kill” straw-yellow color. If a burned area is thoroughly flushed with water in the early stage of damage some recovery may occur. Otherwise reseeding or sodding may be necessary. However, with bluegrass, if you are patient, the area will fill itself in. It will just take some time. With fescue, overseeding or re-sodding will be necessary, as it will NOT fill itself in.

To check for LACK OF WATER use a screwdriver or knife to probe the brown areas of your lawn as well as the healthy green areas. If the brown area is more difficult to penetrate then a lack of water is likely. This is usually the result of poor sprinkler spacing or sprinkler malfunction. Saturate the area with a hose as soon as possible and continue to provide supplemental water until the sprinklers are repaired.

EXCESS WATER can cause turf to die by suffocating the plants roots or rotting its crown. This generally occurs in low spots or shady areas. Check for muddy soil, algae crusts, or slimy rotting grass. To correct problems in the shade, reduce irrigation time to that area or replace the sprinklers with lower volume heads. Low spots must either be raised or set up to drain. A French drain might need to be installed, which can be done by local landscape contractor.

DISEASES are almost always related to heat and moisture. However, poor irrigation practices can also promote disease development. The longer moisture stays in the turf foliage the greater the disease risk. Therefore, do not water at night, (between 6 pm and 4 am) since the lawn will stay wet until morning. It is best to irrigate between 6 am and 8 am. Early morning watering reduces evaporation.


Site Categories