Landscaping and Yard Pros

South Carolina's Weekly Gardening Talk Show

The Yard Pros is a weekly syndicated call-in radio talk show airing Saturday mornings at 9:00 am. With more than 45 combined years of experience, The Yard Pros can answer your questions about weekend, seasonal or long-term gardening and landscaping projects.

Expert Gardening and Landscaping Information and Advice

Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson tune into WORD 106.3FM or click here to listen via streaming radio.

Columbia, Lexington, Aiken tune into WVOC 560AM or click here to listen via streaming radio.

We have a playback later in the day on WSCC-FM in the Charleston/Summerville area from 2–3pm along with streaming.

Click here to download and listen to The Yard Pros’ recent broadcasts via podcasts.

Call or text your questions Saturday mornings between 9 am and 10 am (EST).

Call toll-free at (800) 675-7954 or text #71307.

Meet The Yard Pros

Mills Grant, Host

“With the right knowledge and product, it’s easy and affordable to maintain a healthy yard year-round.” – Mills

Yard Pros host Mills Grant is a 1997 graduate of Clemson University where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in ornamental horticulture. An expert in the science of cultivating plants – fruits, vegetables, flowers, grass, ornamental trees and plants – Mills is staff horticulturist for Carolina Fresh Farms.

Mills has been lecturing about gardening and landscaping statewide for more than 15 years. His articles have appeared in several Southern Home & Garden Show supplemental publications.

Mills serves as Board Member for the Upstate Turf Grass Association and is an active member of several organizations including the Carolina Golf Course Superintendents Association, South Carolina Sod Producers Association, and the Home Builders Association.

On a more personal note, Mills’ decision to pursue a career in horticulture was the result of years of hard work and enterprising fortitude. Having grown up in the small town of Clinton, South Carolina, Mills saw an opportunity to earn spending money by mowing his neighbors’ lawns.

Over the course of a few short summers, his lawn mowing job became a true business. In high school, it was no surprise that he found himself working on weekends for the Musgrove Mills Golf Club.

“Working at Musgrove Mills was the perfect job. Not only was I doing something I enjoyed, I got to play golf.” – Mills

A native of upstate South Carolina, Mills currently resides in Greenville with his wife, Heidi, and three children, Emily, Gram and Julia.

Scott Beard and Ryan Hough, Co-Hosts

Co-hosts Scott Beard and Ryan Hough join Mills each Saturday morning. Together Scott and Ryan have more than 30 years’ experience in the turf industry.

Scott resides in Anderson, South Carolina, and is store manager for the Carolina Fresh Farms Anderson/Greenville outlet. To learn more about Scott, click here.

Ryan resides in Duncan, South Carolina, and is store manager for the Carolina Fresh Farms Greer/Spartanburg outlet. To learn more about Ryan, click here.

Q&A With the Yard Pros

How big is a roll of sod?

Sod rolls can come in various sizes depending on the harvest equipment or job application. Professional installers may often order what we call ‘big’ rolls for large-scale projects such as an athletic field or golf course.

These big rolls require specialized equipment for installation and are available either 30” or 42” wide and 100’ long. Most residential customers do not have access to this specialized equipment for installation; therefore, they choose palletized sod. Most of our palletized rolls of sod are 24” wide by 4 ½’ long (9 square feet or 1 square yard).

Is sod in stock all the time?

Sod is highly perishable, especially during early spring through early fall when temperatures are at their peak. Most outlets will have in-stock a limited supply on certain days for homeowners needing to make small repairs. To ensure survivability of the sod, it is best to order and have it delivered freshly cut.

How do I know how much sod I will need?

Measuring your yard for sod may seem like a daunting task especially with all of those curved planting bed areas. When I measure a lawn, I stand back and look at the landscape for a few minutes and decide how to keep the measuring easy by splitting the area into several rectangular areas. Once I have done this, it is the simple geometry equation of length X width. You may find our measurement tool helpful as well. (link here) 

If you choose to use the web for your measurements, I would suggest you measure the old-fashioned way also to confirm all measurements prior to ordering your sod. Once you measure your lawn, I would strongly urge you to add 10 percent to the sod order for waste and any last minute changes to the bed lines during installation.

How soon should the sod be installed once it’s delivered?

Please remember that sod is a living product. It should be installed immediately upon arrival at the job site.

What do I need to do to prepare for my new sod?

To ensure the health of your lawn, you need to PREPARE THE SOIL. You wouldn’t build a house with without a solid foundation. Your lawn is the same. The soil is the foundation of your new lawn.

  1. Have your soil We offer this service FREE at any of our outlet locations.
  2. Eradicate any perennial plants before tilling the soil. A good example would be killing any common Bermuda before converting your lawn to a Zoysia grass. This may take up to three applications of RoundUp on a two-week spray interval.
  3. Till the soil to a depth of 4 to 6 inches several days to a week before the sod arrives. This would be a great time to amend your soil based on your FREE soil test results.
  4. Remove any large foreign items such as rocks and tree roots and rake smooth.
  5. Irrigate the newly prepared soil several days prior to sod arrival. The weight of the water droplets dropping on the soil will not only hydrate the soil but also firm the soil without compacting it. Never install sod on dry soil.
  6. Lightly rake the soil as you install the sod to remove any imperfections.
How soon can I walk on my new lawn?

Installing sod is different from installing new flooring in your house. The new sod must have time to establish and grow before any activity should take place on the lawn. Here are a few tips for evaluating the establishment of your newly sodded lawn. Visually inspect your lawn for healthy growth over a period of a few days. Pay particular attention to the seams of the sod. Are they slow disappearing? I would also suggest you kneel down and try lifting the corner of the sod in several places throughout the lawn. This will give you a better idea of the rooting of the lawn. In an established lawn, you will not be able to pull the sod away from the soil.

How often do I need to water my new lawn?

This is a very in-depth question which I could spend literally hours answering. Knowing that you do not have hours to read a dissertation on irrigation of a home lawn, I will try to brief and highlight the important facts.

First and foremost, you must hand water new sod immediately upon installation. Do not install more than two pallets before taking your lemonade break and using the garden hose and your thumb to thoroughly soak the new sod. Lift a few pieces of sod and inspect the soil underneath to be certain that it is fully saturated. Most irrigation systems will not provide enough water quick enough to keep the new sod from wilting, especially on hot days. Once you have initially hand-watered the new sod, you may use your irrigation system or sprinklers to continue to water the sod to the point of fully saturated soils for the first two weeks. After two weeks, you should start trimming the amount of water back to a normal schedule. Speaking of normal schedule, most grass varieties will require between 1 and 1 ½ inches per week. Avoid short intervals every day and water for long periods 3 to 4 times per week.

I have weeds in my new lawn. What can I do to get rid of them?

Weeds are certainly a nuisance in any lawn, but to see them in your new lawn can really be a disappointment. We can certainly sympathize with you, but most weeds in a newly sodded lawn should not be your first priority. Establishing the lawn should be the focus. Once the lawn is established we can advise you on how to eradicate the weed issue. Most weeds in a newly sodded lawn are annuals and a result of preparing the soil and then providing a perfect growing environment. In essence, you are in a Catch 22 during certain times of the year when sod a lawn. Never use pre-emergent herbicides on a newly sodded lawn, as most of these will inhibit rooting of the new sod. There are certainly some weeds, which should be addressed immediately regardless of how established your new lawn is. A good example of this would be Bermuda grass in your new Zoysia grass sod. In this instance, I would recommend you eradicate the Bermuda grass immediately before it spreads.

Which is better, seeding or sodding?

There are many reasons for sodding your lawn rather than seeding. The primary reason is quick establishment. If you really think about it, sod may be more expensive on the front end, but when you weigh all the inputs for establishing a lawn from seed, sod quickly becomes a reasonable bargain. Another reason for the increased popularity of sod in recent years should be contributed to the newer varieties of grasses. Many, if not all of the newer varieties produce a non-viable seed. Therefore, there is no seed available for the improved Zoysia grasses or even for the ever-popular 419 Tifway Bermuda grass which you may want for your lawn.

When is the best time to water my lawn?

There has been a long-standing debate as to when is the best time to water your lawn. Some think that water during the early evening will increase the humidity throughout the night and cause more fungus activity in the lawn. Others have the belief that if you irrigate during the warmest part of the day the water will magnify the sun’s rays and cause the lawn to instantaneously combust. I feel that that the lawn needs water when it needs water. It’s as simple as that. I personally irrigate my lawn in the early morning hours the majority of the time. Normally the calmest part of a 24-hour period will be during this 3 am to 6 am window which ensures that 100 percent of the water I am paying for is absorbed by the soil and not evaporated by sunlight or blown away by winds. I will, however, irrigate my lawn briefly during the middle of the day on occasions. These short irrigation cycles help me eliminate wilting during the hottest periods of the year. I will normally program the irrigation to cycle two to three times during the midafternoon period and run the zones for two to three minutes per zone. This light application of water serves two purposes. First, the water will naturally hydrate the plant and the second, as the water evaporates it will lower the temperature of the grass blade. In essence, I am helping my lawn sweat!

What does it mean to “test your soil?” Is it necessary?

Soil tests will give you a report of several nutrient levels as well as the pH of your soil. Even if the nutrient levels are sufficient for your lawn, their uptake by the plant may be limited if the pH is not balanced. I have long believed that healthy lawns will overcome many adverse conditions such as drought and severe winter temperatures and healthy lawns begin with healthy soils. So yes, a soil test is a necessity. I would suggest that the soils be tested annually to ensure a healthy lawn. After all, you can stop by any Carolina Fresh Farms outlet and the staff will be happy send your soil test to the lab for FREE!

Resources to Help You Manage Your Lawn

Your landscape is a reflection of Carolina Fresh Farms. Naturally, we want your lawn to look it's very best. With a little know-how, maintaining a beautiful and healthy lawn is easy.

We believe in sharing with our customers our endless knowledge and access to various resources so that we can all keep growing. Below you will find many helpful links and articles to keep you informed. If you don’t see the answer to your question or you need more information, feel free to contact us.

Soil Testing

Soil testing is the best way to advise you about your lawn. We do not charge for soil samples.

Click here to learn more.

Spreader Settings

Application of granular fertilizers and pesticides requires your spreader to be properly calibrated. If calibration is done incorrectly, the product may be misapplied and either too much or too little will reach the turf.

For spreader settings, click here.

Landscape Calculator

Yard Area Measurement Tool

Area Calculator

What Is Soil Sampling?

A Lawn Will Not Thrive Without Good Soil

The soil is a reservoir of nutrients important to the health and productivity of lawn and garden plants. Soil testing is the first step in planning a good fertilizer and lime application program for your lawn. The results will show you the status of the nutrients in your soil and your soil’s pH levels – acidity or alkalinity. (For optimal plant growth, your soil’s pH level should fall between 6.2 and 7.2 on a scale of 1 to 14. Below normal is acidic; above normal is alkaline.

Understanding your soil’s nutrient and pH levels will help you to know which plants are best suited for your garden. The results will also show how to remedy your soil problems. For example, acidic soil may require the application of lime while alkaline soil may require sulfur. You also will be able to monitor nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium that are needed for plant growth, color and blooming.

In short, fertilizer applications are dependent not only on the time of year but also a soil sample. And, most major problems such as disease, weed encroachment and drought damage can be avoided by routinely checking your lawn for preliminary signs of trouble and educating yourself on your specific type of grass.

To learn more about our Free Soil Sampling Program, feel free to call any of our retail outlet locations.

Soil Sampling Q & A

How much does it cost to have my soil tested?

Carolina Fresh Farms offers FEE soil sampling. We believe in providing our customers with endless knowledge of their lawns. Soil testing allows us the opportunity to provide our customers with the best advice for their lawn.

How much soil do I need to collect?

Your sample should reflect the properties, or micro-environments like full sun or shade, of your entire lawn. To do this, our horticulturist team recommends that you collect several samples from different locations around your lot.

Combined your sample should equal approximately two cups.

Do I need to sample all areas of my yard?

Yes, if your microenvironments are different. For example, if your front yard gets more sun and your backyard has more shade, then your soil nutrient levels will show a difference and each area would require its own unique treatment.

How often do I need to have my soil tested?

We recommend that you have your soil tested every year.

Is there a certain time of the year when I need to have my soil tested?

Soil samples can be taken any time of the year although we recommend that if you have recently fertilized your soil that you wait. Pesticide or fertilizer residues will create misleading results. Also, the soil should not be wet.

Can I have my soil tested at any Carolina Fresh Farms outlet?

Yes. Any of our six locations throughout the state of South Carolina – Aiken, Anderson-Greenville, Columbia, Charleston-Summerville, Greer-Spartanburg and Rock Hill-Charlotte – can test your soil. This service is FREE to our customers.

Who processes the soil and reviews the results?

We process your soil at the same labs we use to test our farms. Once we receive the results, our staff horticulturist will review and make any necessary recommendations.

Landscaping, Gardening, Household Pests and More

Clemson Cooperative Extension

For the latest research on landscaping, gardening, plant health, household pests and more, Carolina Fresh Farms encourages you to visit the Home & Garden Information Center. The Home & Garden Information Center (HGIC) is offered through Clemson’s Extension Cooperative. South Carolina residents are able to access free information for the home and garden. To get your questions answered, call 1-888-656-9988.

Click here to find the location nearest you.

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