Welcome to the Sod Blog

West Coast Turf was founded in 1990 with the aim of providing the best sod and service in the business. Along with sister company in Arizona, Western Sod, we offer more than 30 different varieties of turfgrass, sod and stolons in California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and around the world.

Mr. Wise Grass is our blog where our turfgrass pro Jay posts information on how to select and care for the sod that’s best for your environment and uses.  He answers common questions regarding issues surrounding grass and more technical issues that can be resolved with the right know-how.

If you’ve got a grass issue, Jay’s the answer-man!


Latest Blog Posts

 

    The Case for Replacing Artificial Turf on NFL Fields

    In September 2020, the NFL Players Association President, Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter called for all fifteen fields that are currently equipped with artificial turf to be replaced with natural turf to prevent further player injuries. In his letter titled “Only Natural Grass Can Level the NFL’s Playing Field”, he states “It’s not good for players, it’s not good for the GMs and the head coaches, it’s not good for the owners and it’s not good for the fans. Increased injuries are not good for anybody.” he continued as he detailed data to union members.

    One of those artificial fields in question is MetLife Stadium, which has seen a bevy of injuries this season. Steelers’ right tackle Zach Banner suffered a torn ACL in Week 1 against the Giants, and running back James Conner also exited the game with an ankle injury. The following week, 49ers Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas suffered injuries on the same field against the Jets. San Francisco defensive end Arik Armstead told the league to fix the “trash met life turf” after the game, and his coach Kyle Shanahan wasn’t thrilled either.

    West Coast Turf Marketing Director, Danielle Scardino, spoke up to NBC recently to provide her professional opinion. “Natural turf has more give” and “There is no reason to have artificial turf, the technology exists even in colder climates to maintain the turf’s longevity.”

    The first artificial turf-style field was introduced in the mid-1960s when ChemGrass was installed at the Houston Astrodome to replace the dying grass in the first domed stadium. The grass was later rebranded AstroTurf, and thus began the debate of natural grass versus turf playing surfaces.

    For years, artificial turf, while very expensive, seemed like a good alternative to keep the turf looking great on camera for the NFL games and preserve the longevity of the surface. But recently, ten players were injured on these surfaces and two of them being season-ending injuries. This was enough to make the Players Association take notice.

    On October 6, Casey Reynolds, PhD and Executive Director of Turfgrass Producers International responded in an open letter to the NFL Players Association, Team Owners, University and High School Athletic Directors, Sports Field Managers, Coaches, Athletes, and Parents "Do we want our athletes playing in a concert venue, or do we want to host concerts and other events in an athletic venue? If the answer is the latter, then there is little doubt that natural grass is the safest proven choice."

    According to Dr. Jennifer Nicole Falk from At Your Feet Concierge Podiatry, “Artificial turf not only increases the surface temperature, making it dangerous to play on at certain temperatures, it also puts players at increased risk for bacterial infections, as well as systemic effects and toxicity from the rubber... Because there is more friction between cleats and turf, this theoretically could lead to a greater potential for athletic injuries, including turf toe, knee injuries, foot lock, turf burn, and more powerful collisions & concussions.”

    “Natural grass would give the players a safe work environment.” Danielle Scardino continued while speaking with NBC. “and we could get it done by next season”. West Coast Turf is the largest grower and installer of natural turfgrass sod in the Western United States.

    West Coast Turf has supplied the NFL with eight Super Bowl fields from California to Florida, including Super Bowls XXVII, XXIX, XXX, XXXII, XXXVII, XXXVIII, XXXIX and 50 as well as baseball and soccer fields for professional sports teams.

    The Truth About Artificial vs. Natural Turf

    • Ground rubber tires are used in some artificial fields, yet because of their toxic content they are prohibited from being disposed of in landfills or ocean dumping. Where will this toxic material be disposed of when a replacement field becomes necessary?
    • Temperatures on artificial fields have been documented to be upwards of 86.5 degrees hotter than natural grass fields under identical conditions. How long can players of all ages be safely exposed to this level of heat?
    • Field sanitation that includes the removal of bodily fluids and/or animal droppings present a unique problem for artificial fields. Will antiseptic cleaners properly sanitize the field? If so, how often?
    • Abrasive surfaces such as artificial fields can result in difficult-to-heal injuries, particularly in the presence of bacterial or viral pathogens. Are you prepared to treat these wounds properly?
    • Field hardness on artificial surfaces can result in serious chronic or immediate athletic injury? If additional ground tire rubber is periodically added to soften the field, is toxicity of the material also renewed?
    • Natural turf is preferred by 88% of NFL players, and 96% believe that artificial turf contributes to injuries.
    • Natural turfgrass saves energy. The front lawns of eight houses have the cooling effect of about 70 tons of air conditioning. That's amazing when the average home has an air conditioner with just a three or four ton capacity.
    • Green turfgrass significantly lowers fire hazard risk. How would an artificial turf field fire be fought quickly while minimizing the danger to firefighters, and reducing the release of toxic fumes?
    • The initial price of artificial turf is many times greater than a natural turf area. Maintenance costs are equal or higher.

    Think Green-Keep it Real!  Check out more #KeepItReal updates on Twitter.

     

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    Frequently Asked Questions About Overseeding Your Warm Season Lawn

    Now that we’re into October it’s time to get the overseeding of your warm season grass process started.  I wanted to pass along some of the most frequently asked questions during this time of the year.

    When is the best time to start overseeding?
    Ideally overseeding should be done when nighttime temperatures are consistently in the 60’s. Usually this will be in October. There will be some higher and lower than normal temperatures, but anytime during October is good.

    How low do I need to scalp the grass prior to seeding?
    Height of cut isn’t as important as opening the turf canopy. The shorter you mow the grass, the tighter the turf canopy will be which will result in the need to verticut more aggressively. I recommend not going lower than ½”. There is no need to take the lawn to the dirt or you will cause long term problems to the grass plant.

    Overseeded sod

    This overseeded bermuda sod field in Scottsdale, Arizona, is READY!

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    Causes of patchy discolored grass on your lawn and how you can fix it.

    The summer months of July through September can wreak havoc on your grass in high heat and humidity. If you see silver dollar size brown patches that occur in otherwise healthy lawns, the main cause is keeping the leaf surface continuously wet with daily waterings. Patches can run together forming larger patches that lose their circular shape. Grass dies back from the tip and fine white threads of fungus can be found on the patches in the early morning hours when the leaf surface is wet.

    To minimize chances of disease, here are 5 things you can do:

    • Add Fertilizer: Low levels of fertility promote Dollar Spot; however, avoid applying high rates of Nitrogen, particularly in late spring and summer

    • Watering: Water during early AM hours to allow grass leaves all day to dry off

    • Don’t over-water: Avoid frequent irrigation that keeps the leaf blades wet and that results in water-logged/compacted soils

    • Let it grow: Mow at the upper end of recommended mowing heights (but not above recommended mowing heights)

    • Don’t compact: Avoid wet compacted soils

    If you suspect your lawn has a deeper issue, you can spray on a fungicide labeled for Dollar Spot. Repeat every 10 days until symptoms are gone… ALWAYS READ & FOLLOW LABELED DIRECTIONS.

    You’re in luck if you have West Coast Turf’s exclusive West Coaster sod, as patchy discolored grass is less common and it makes for the ultimate lawn for coastal and cooler climates. West Coast Turf's special blends of fescue are the best performing in the industry.

    Cool season grasses thrive in climates with more annual rainfall and cooler year round temperatures.  This includes coastal areas of California and high elevation mountainous areas with cooler temperatures.  Cool season grasses are not suitable for hot desert climates. West Coast Turf grows the highest quality cool season grasses such as our unique West Coaster Tall Fescue which is our professional blend of fescue and other seed to avoid disease and keep a happy, healthy, and resilient lawn for your home.

    West Coaster Tall Fescue is uniquely selected to avoid disease and performs well with light traffic, making it the perfect lawn for your home. However, if you do experience any spots, you can patch it with our West Coaster Seed.

    Now you, too, can use the same seed we use to grow our popular West Coaster tall fescue sod for your own home use!  Use our new 10 lb bag of seed to “sweeten up” or patch repair your West Coaster established sod lawn, or seed a new lawn with our exclusive seed.

    • The new generation of Tall Fescue

    • Light to heavy traffic lawns

    • Year-Round Green

    • Performs well in coastal California, as well as cool inland valley and high desert environments

    • Deep root system ensures drought and heat tolerance

    • Emerald green color.  Natural dark green color means less nitrogen is required

    • Uses less water

    • Superior resistance to drought, insects, and disease

    • Tolerant of saline soils and saline irrigation water

    • Heat tolerant up to 100 degrees F

    • Moderately shade tolerant—requires full sun most of the day (4-10 hours)

    • 7-10 day germination time with proper planting and care

    • Mowing 1”-3”

    Keeping your lawn healthy doesn’t have to be a chore, but it does require patience and care. Stay cool! Please visit us online: https://www.westcoastturf.com/

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    Late Summer Sod Tips for California and Arizona Lawns

    Summer Sod Tips for California and Arizona Lawns

    Summer is wrapping up, the kids are heading back to school, and I’m sure you’re ready to come out of hibernation. While the summer heat is far from over in Arizona and California, it’s going to become tolerable outside. With the slightly cooler mornings it’s time to get back outside and get your lawn ready for fall. Most people start thinking about overseeding their California and Arizona sod in September, but ideally you wouldn’t start the process until October when nighttime temperatures get into the 60’s. Between now and then there are some important steps you need to do to get your lawn ready and to save some headaches down the road.

    Between May and September you'll probably notice your lawn has grown at twice the rate it does during the winter months. Warm season grasses love the warm, wet weather. Most people thought the hot weather would keep the grass from growing well, but remember warm season grasses optimal growing temperatures are between 90-105 degrees. During this season any of your weaker areas should have filled in with the warm season grasses runners. These spots can be slow to fill in during the dry, hot days but as soon as the humidity kicks in the grass really takes off. If you still have large open spots I would suggest picking up a few rolls of sod and patching them prior to overseed. You don’t want to seed directly into the soil.

    summer lawn

    During the summer months you’re getting lots of new growth on the grass plant and you need to help it thrive. The best way to do this is to thin out the top growth by using a verticut or power rake. Most people only use one during the overseed season but it’s a vital part of promoting new growth during the summer months. When you get too much top growth the grass will get clumpy and keep your new plants from growing. A verticut or power rake will open the turf canopy and thin out the grass plant. Doing so will promote new plant growth. This will also allow you to mow your lawn shorter without scalping. Set the power rake or verticut about halfway down and run over the entire lawn. You can easily mow or rake up the material. Keep in mind that by thinning it now you will save yourself hours of labor during overseed. If you wait until overseed to thin your lawn you may need to repeat this process several times.

    For the next month you don’t want to promote top growth unless you don’t plan on overseeding this fall. The more material you have, the more material you will need to remove during overseed. I like to stick to slow release nitrogen products or products that will promote root growth during late summer. There are lots blends that will work but phosphorus and potassium will help your roots at this time of the year.

    It’s still too hot to really cut back your water but during the wet periods you can let the lawn stress before you turn the irrigation system back on. Let the lawn go until you see some bluish grey spots appearing in the lawn. These areas aren’t dying but they are stressed. When you see these spots you know it’s time to water again. You can start to back your water down in mid-September when the nights cool off a little more.

    If you’ve had persistent weed issues during the winter months you can apply Prodiamine. One product that a lot of people use is Barricade. This must be used 7 weeks prior to overseed. Keep in mind you must wait 7 weeks after you spray this product before you overseed. For the first two weeks of overseed you will need to keep the seed a little more wet than usual so the roots of the new plant can break through the Barricade layer. If you sprayed this week it would have you overseeding in the middle of October which is perfect. The best overseeding period is typically from October 7th-October 31st. Any time you seed during this time frame you will have very little competition from the underlying warm season grass. If you go earlier be prepared for the warm season grass to come back and be actively growing while you’re watering the ryegrass seed.

    One way to keep the warm season grass in check is through applications of plant growth regulators such as Trinexapacethyl. One such product that many use is Primo. This can be applied 5-7 days prior to overseeding at .5 oz/1000 SF and right after the first mowing at .35 oz/1000 SF. If you seed during the normal window in October you can skip this step unless you have a very lush, over fertilized lawn going into fall. This is not an endorsement of these products but a generic list of products you can try.

    The final thing you can do is mow a little lower for the next few weeks and reduce the turf density. Right before overseed I will tell you to let the grass grow up about 30-40% prior to scalping but you have over a month until you need to worry about it.

    Remember when you start to see seed in the stores you want to find a perennial ryegrass that is weed free, and has a high germination rate. Many of the products you will see will be cheap in cost and won’t provide you with a dark green lawn during overseed. I will put out overseed instructions in September as we get closer to the season.

    If you have any questions, please hit the "Ask Jay" button at the top right of this page.

    Till next time,

    Jay

     

     

     

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    Attention Landscape Architects! We Are Now Offering ZOOM Educational Opportunities!

    These are trying times, but that doesn't mean we have to stop learning.  West Coast Turf is now offering virtual Zoom educational opportunities for landscape architects!

    Include your whole office! Find out about the newest varieties including the exciting Kurapia sod natural turfgrass alternative ground cover.  It's drought tolerant, unique, versatile, and beautiful.  There are some great new native grasses that look spectacular. We also can update you on our old standbys such as West Coaster Fescue, Santa Ana, Bandera Bermuda, and Tifgreen that are tried and true.

    Call or e-mail us today to schedule your presentation--760/340-7301 or danielle@westcoastturf.com.  The presentation takes about an hour, and we are able to answer any questions you might have on natural turfgrass varieties or Kurapia sod ground cover for your next project.

    We miss you and are excited to "see" you again virtually! Contact us today!

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