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Scott County sod farm battles drought to deliver goods - WQAD News Channel 8

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Wheels are in motion on Thursday at Seven Cities Sod in Davenport.

That’s where crews are cutting and rolling Kentucky Bluegrass. It takes nearly two years to grow. These are 1,000-pound rolls going to landscape a yard in North Liberty.

“The drought here has really hit us hard,” said Keaton Frye, part of the family team at Seven Cities Sod. “We’re able to keep our harvest fields green.”

But it takes a lot of water. Automated irrigators are running around the clock. They drop about three-quarters of an inch of water at a time.

The sixth generation family farm, which began back in 1856, keeps watering fields that will be harvested soon. It’s a time consuming and costly operation.

“The higher temperatures, the higher humidity just makes it almost unbearable,” said Lance Frye.

Fields that will be harvested later are allowed to go dormant. The grass will return in milder weather.

July is typically a slow time for sod dealers, but this year it’s even tougher. Extreme weather is hard on labor and the product.

“This summer especially we’ve seen a big drop off,” Keaton said. “It’s been a real odd summer. We haven’t seen conditions like this since 1988.”

Seven Cities Sod first introduced the big 85-foot long rolls of sod in 1993. These days, hot, dry conditions take a toll on selling them.

“Everybody’s putting off doing sod in this kind of weather,” Lance said. “Nobody wants to lay sod in 95 to 98-degree weather.”

The company handles residential and commercial projects. That includes work for Deere & Company, Field of Dreams and athletic fields at the University of Iowa.

“It’s a tough situation,” Keaton added. “Right now, we’ve cautioned against laying too much sod at this time because it’s tough to keep it watered.”

After more than a century-and-a-half of farming this Scott County land, they’re looking forward to better growing conditions.

“It’s tough,” Keaton concluded. “You just hope that you have a good fall and good spring, and you bounce back.”







Seven Cities Sod Contact Information

Seven Cities Sod Address:
12554 210th Street
Davenport. IA 52806

Phone: 563.391.1663

Fax: 563.391.5790




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