Temperatures are still warm in Southern California and Arizona, but fall is fast approaching. It’s time to start planning for how to prepare your lawn for the new season. Once temperatures do cool down, it’s the perfect time for grass to recover and prepare itself for winter. Here are our tips for overseeding your grass for fall:

First things first, when to start overseeding. According to our experts, the ideal time for overseeding is when nighttime temperatures get down lower, like in the 60s. Typically, this happens in October. 

Next, knowing how low you should scalp your grass prior to overseeding. The height of your grass isn’t the important issue as much as opening the turf canopy. If you mow the grass shorter, the turf canopy will be tighter, which will result in the need to verticut more aggressively. The standard recommendation is to not cut the grass lower than half an inch. If you scalp the sod too low, you will cause long-term problems to the grass.

Many people ask if it’s ok to use annual ryegrass, rather than perennial ryegrass. Annual ryegrass has a much lower cost than perennial ryegrass but it’s not ideal for a winter overseed. If you use annual ryegrass, you will get a thinner grass blade and a slightly chlorotic look compared to perennial ryegrass. It also grows much taller (and faster) than perennial ryegrass which results in more frequent mowing. This isn’t where to cut costs! Stick to perennial ryegrass for optimal winter overseeding.

Choosing the right seed is important. It’s tempting to go with the cheapest option, but it’s a bad idea. Seed can contain a variety of weed seeds, off types, and poor germination rates, so you need to be careful. We recommend a perennial ryegrass with zero percent weed seed, 90% or more germination, and very little inert matter.  

Sprinkler systems vary, so some generic advice is that the important thing is to keep the seed wet. This usually consists of 3-4 cycles for around 5-10 minutes per cycle. The water doesn’t need to puddle or saturate the ground, simply keep the seed wet. Watch your sprinklers and run the first couple cycles to check coverage and to keep it from puddling.

In Arizona, you can buy the same seed we use on the farm. We sell the same seed we overseed our fields with at our farm in Scottsdale and you can call our office at (888) 893-8873 to order.Currently in Arizona, overseeded sod will be available on October 12th and California overseeded sod will be ready October 26th.

If you have any questions about anything sod related, click the “Ask Jay” button at the top right.

Happy overseeding!


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