In recent discussions with North Carolina sod growers it was apparent that there will be a significant shortage of bermudagrass sod this winter and spring. With good growing conditions the growers may be able to catch up in early to mid-summer.
Why shortages when just five years ago inventory levels were relatively high? There have been multiple factors involved. There was already reduced sod acreage following the downturn in the economy. The increase in construction over the last year and a rapid switch to a preference for bermudagrass by builders has contributed to the shortage. Add to that the poor summer growing conditions (prolonged springs and limited light) for warm-season grasses the last two years and the result is a depleted supply of bermudagrass.
The recent sod survey from GA indicates that they have a similar supply shortfall. (http://www.caes.uga.edu/applications/gafaces/?public=viewStory&pk_id=4996)
Sod growers in the southeast suggest this shortage is universal across the region.
What does this mean? All growers, regardless of size and location, will not have adequate bermudagrass sod to meet the demand. This will likely result in an increase in bermudagrass sod cost. In some cases, if sod must be installed during this period, the buyer may have to select an alternative grass.
NC State University is currently surveying the NC Sod industry to get a better estimate of sod supply in 2015 for all the grasses.
For a complete list of NC Sod Producer Association member growers and sod types visit: www.ncsod.org