Local News

Sod Business Grows Plenty Of 'Green' For North Carolina

Posted May 13, 2003 12:07 p.m. EDT

— Grass is a serious subject for a lot of homeowers, but it is also a serious business, especially in the form of sod.

Planting a yard with sod actually takes a few days, but that is better than the weeks or months that seed would normally take.

"I didn't want to take the time seeding it and keeping it wet until it sprouted. I wanted it green," Johnston County resident Tom Armstrong said.

Farmers say the sod business is growing in the state.

"A lot of builders, landscape contractors and things are using more because of water regulations for runoff, silt being washed in the rivers and local streams," said sod farmer Steve Carroll.

Carroll's crews cut grass on his Johnston county farm, stack it on pallets and haul it off to become the next made-to-order lawn.

"People want instant everything today, including yards," he said.

With the growing popularity of sod, you can find it everywhere, even at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh, but it is not cheap. Carroll estimates a half-acre yard costs about $10,000. Maintenance costs are on top of that.

"For the whole thing, it was pretty significant -- for the sprinkler system, the top soil brought in and some grading done and drainage put in, but the sod itself wasn't that bad," Carroll said.

The instant yard generates some nice "green" for North Carolina's sod industry, estimated at $12 million a year.