JP Pritchard

The Scarcity Of Sod

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If working on your lawn is on your to-do list, you blade runners have a lot of company. Few lawns escaped unscathed from our record setting drought. Now that spring has sprung, a lot of people are staring at bare patches of dirt where the grass has given up the ghost. The grass grab is on because you can’t grow St. Augustine from seed. If you can’t hit the lawn lotto and score some sod, you may be left “green with envy”.

“Most weekends during the spring we sell two pallets of sod, this weekend we sold four and we probably could have sold two more.” describes Mary Cummings with RCW Nursery in Northwest Harris County. “If more than 60-70% is dead, it’ll take over a year to fill it back in.” Cummings says she has never seen a sod scenario like this one.

(Credit: Getty Images)

The demand is there but the supply is not. “Many sod farms relied on rain to water their product throughout the year and when they didn’t get any rain last year all that sod either had to be sold at a discounted price or they would lose it and a lot of people didn’t have any grass going into the winter and if you don’t have any grass going into the winter you can’t grow it coming out spring.” explains Scott Sipes with All Seasons Turf Grass. Calls, even from competitors, are raining down on his family’s sod farms across Texas. They’ve been in the sod business for more than 30 years and tend to 3,500 acres around our state. But Sipes predicts even they will be pushed to the limit: “Even we are going to run out of grass eventually. At the rate we’re going, we’re going to run out sometime mid summer,” Sipes added.

“We have some large projects going… golf courses and sports field.” says Sipes “Those people have committed to buying it and signed contracts so that grass will be going to those people so the amount to the homeowner is getting smaller by the day.”

It’s a different kind of turf war. One that will only get more heated as summer grows near.

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