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,





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Summer Maintenance for Your California and Arizona Sod

For those of us in the desert areas we’re just about to monsoon season. For many this is a welcome relief from the heat and your lawn agrees. While warm season grasses love hot weather for growing, they thrive when there is humidity in the air. I realize the desert regions aren’t like the south with 90% humidity but 105 degrees and 25% humidity are pretty nice for a warm season lawn. With humidity comes a little maintenance. Similar to trimming your trees prior to heavy monsoon winds, grass does better when it is thinned out. Today I’m going to give you a couple different ways to manage your warm season lawn.

Every lawn has new growth coming from the crown down below looking to get to the surface. Often times its blocked by the older leaves that don’t allow it to grow through and flourish. What do you do to establish your new growth? For the residential market its easy to rent a power rake from your local equipment rental store or Home Depot. This machine opens up the turf canopy and thins out the plant and thatch layer. Be careful not to set this too low and dig out too much thatch. It is beneficial to have between ½” and ¾” of thatch. Anymore than that keeps water and air from reaching the soil and can be a breeding ground for insects and possible disease. This machine will help you remove layers of dead grass and roots allowing for better water infiltration.

One sign your lawn has too much thatch is needing to use more water than normal. Dig out a piece of your lawn with a shovel and measure the thatch layer. Thatch is the layer between the soil and crown of the plant. This will be very easy to see if you dig out a shovel sized sample.

Another common practice is aeration. The nice thing about doing this during the humid time of the year is the ground doesn’t lose moisture quite as quickly as it does in June when the weather is hot and dry. Knowing when to aerify your lawn can be a little bit tricky but a general rule of thumb is to do so every other year. This will prevent soil compaction and allow your roots to grow deeper into the soil.

When a soil is compacted the roots will often stay in the top few inches of the soil resulting in a plant that isn’t as heat or cold tolerant as one with a solid root system. Often times people realize their lawn is compacted when water is running off the soil surface. No one wants to waste water and its also not healthy for the plant not to be able to take up water from the soil.

Having a company come out and aerify your lawn is quick and easy. The plugs don’t need to be removed from the surface and the holes don’t need to be filled in. You can simply mow or mulch up the plugs next time you mow the lawn. Be a little careful as a newly aerified lawn will dry out faster than normal for the first few days but it will quickly fill in the gaps and return to normal. Aerifying is an essential practice to maintaining a great lawn and saving water. 

Summer Fertilizers: 

  • Quick top growth or grow in to cover voids – ammonium sulfate 21-0-0 at 5 pounds per 1000 SF.
  • Maintenance fertilizer – 21-7-14 or 15-15-15 every 4-5 weeks during the growing season
  • Pasaplum recovery – Kelplex or half rate of 15-15-15
  • Starter Fertilizer – Soil Burst 4-4-2

If you have any questions pleased let me know.


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Spring Transition for Your Arizona and California Sod

Spring Transition

As the temperatures begin to rise it’s a good time to look at your Arizona & California lawn program. Do you have an overseeded lawn? Or is your lawn starting to bounce out of dormancy (jump to the bottom of the page for a dormant lawn)? Either way there are some important items to remember so you have a healthy, lush lawn all year long. It’s still a little early to see the full effects of transition. If you plan right your transition will be seamless.

Transition typically occurs in April and May, but being proactive now can speed up the process. For anyone that’s gone through a spring transition you’ve probably learned the worst mistake is to start too late. 

Here is a step by step process that can be implemented into everyone’s program over time. Some people fear putting down an overseeded lawn at this time of the year but there is no need to worry. The roots of the ryegrass actually help the grass knit into the ground quicker and as the temperatures warm up the ryegrass easily transitions out. I will note that you don’t want to buy sod with 3” ryegrass. But we keep our turf at ½” to ¾” at this time of the year so it makes for an ideal transition without any fuss. 

1. Gradually lower you’re mowing heights to reduce the turf canopy.  Warm season grasses are not shade tolerant and excess ryegrass provides shade.  No need to scalp the lawn, just lower the height down and begin to thin out the grass.

2. Lightly verticut the lawn to open up the canopy and let sunlight into the grass below.

3. Be careful of fertilizer rates at this time of the year. Stick to slow release products such as Soil Burst 4-4-2, 11-52-0, 6-20-20, or 21-7-14. You want to put a pound of nitrogen per 1000 SF down when you make this fertilizer application. The first number on the bag is nitrogen and it is listed as a percentage. For example the 21-7-14 is 21% nitrogen. A typical fertilizer bag weighs 50 lbs so 21% of the 50 pounds is nitrogen. In other words you have 10.5 pounds of nitrogen in a 50 lb bag. Since the goal is apply one pound of nitrogen you would use the following formula:

1 pound of nitrogen / .21 (percentage of nitrogen on the bag) = 4.76 pounds of product per 1000 SF will yield 1 pound of nitrogen.

4. If you have standing water it is a great time to aerify so you can help air and water better infiltrate the soil.

5. Increase your mowing frequency to two times per week.

6. Gradually back off the water next month to stress out the ryegrass when soil temperatures reach 64 degrees (around mid-April). Turning off the water completely will stress out the warm season turf and ryegrass so this is not the optimal approach.  Use 60% of your normal water rate.

7. When soil temperatures reach 64 degrees apply Soil Burst 4-4-2 at 15 pounds per 1000 SF to give the grass a jump start on the year. A second option to this is to use ammonium sulfate 21-0-0 at 5 pounds of product per/1000 SF.

8. Fertilize with 1-2 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 SF monthly over the summer. You can use any combination of the products I listed above as well as several others to help you achieve your goal of a perfect lawn. For a more accurate analysis on other nutrients you can send soil samples into a lab for results.

Once you’ve followed all of these steps you can set your irrigation to run 3 to 4 times per week for 20-30 minutes at a time. If you can’t water for 30 minutes without getting runoff it is okay to break it up into a cycle/soak. 

Non-Overseeded Lawn

By now you’re probably tired of seeing the yellow/brown turf and want to give your Arizona & California lawn a jump start. While it’s still too cool outside to get your California or Arizona lawn growing, you can get it to green up. The enemy of a dormant lawn is the cool nighttime temperatures. A couple weeks ago we received some pretty good freezes which sent any green tissue in the lawn right back into dormancy. At this point we’re likely in the clear from a freeze.  You can gradually begin to ramp up your water and fertilizer program. 

Let’s start with how much water you need to put on your lawn. The soil temperature is still cool enough that watering 1-2x per week for 10-15 minutes is plenty. It’s good to keep the roots nice and moist and allow the plant to start to thrive.  Overwatering right now has potential to cause disease in your lawn. When the daytime temperatures get into the 90’s you can increase to 2-3x times a week and slowly ramp up to 3-4x a week by May. 

Bringing the grass out of dormancy can be accomplished several ways.  I like to do so with products such as 11-52-0, 15-15-15, or Soil Burst 4-4-2. Putting down excessive nitrogen right now will not benefit your bermudagrass since it’s not warm enough to actively start growing. These products will help green up your lawn and slowly bring it back without a jolt of nutrients. Adding too much fertilizer could put the lawn in shock if we were to experience one additional cold snap over the next month. You don’t want the grass to use all of its reserves in the plant too early only to get shocked by some cold weather. 

Be sure to check all of your sprinklers and spray patterns. There is a good chance some sprinklers broke and nozzles were damaged over the winter. These are very simple fixes and can be done for just a few dollars. Having the correct spray pattern and coverage can save you money all year long.

If you have any questions please let me know. 

Until next time, 


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Spring is on the Horizon – Arizona & California Turf Prep Tips

Spring has technically not “sprung” yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a jump on preparing your landscaping for the seasonal transition from winter ryegrass to summer bermudagrass. As experts in Arizona sod and all things grass, we are happy to list our best transition tips!
  • Keep an eye on the temperature. At the point that it gets warmer than 65º at night consistently, you know you are ready for your spring transition.
  • At this point, you can start reducing your water usage to about 70% (or even 80%) of your normal usage. This is a process that helps support the bermudagrass or paspalum (as it begins to kill the ryegrass). Note: do not try to do any drastic methods for this, such as halting watering altogether or scalping your lawn. This not only kills the winter rye grass, but also the hibernating warm season grass.
  • Now we want to allow more sunlight to reach your warm season grass. We can effectively do this by verticutting the grass, which will allow the grass to open up its canopy. That process then allows more sunlight to get to the warm season grass.
  • Aeration is the next step and this process breaks up hard pockets of soil and increases water penetration as well as nutrient intake, among many other things that help the warm season grass.
  • You will need to start lowering your mower settings while increasing your mowing intervals to twice weekly, making sure the height of the grass doesn’t exceed a half inch (or at the highest, ¾ inch). Bag your clippings when you’re done!
  • Fertilize your warm season grass and increase your watering schedule. It should take about two weeks before you see the bermudagrass overtaking the ryegrass. Gradually, you’ll increase your watering to a typical summer watering schedule.
These steps will keep your lawn looking beautiful, even in the Arizona or Southern California heat!
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Pre-Overseeding Tips for Your Lawn

I would like to start by congratulating everyone on making through another California and Arizona summer. I know we still have a couple months of triple digit temperatures, but the worst should be behind us at this point. As we move into September our morning temperatures will start to feel less painful, but remember your warm season grass is loving this weather–especially your California and Arizona sod. I have started to field questions regarding fall overseeding and I want to tell you to hit the brakes. Don’t just tap the brakes, slam on the brakes. You will see ryegrass hit the stores in the next week but walk away or buy it and sit on it until temperatures really drop. Today I want to discuss prep for the fall, and how to get your grass ready to overseed. This won’t be a tutorial on how to overseed, but instead some pointers of what to do before you overseed.


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Labor Day – Proof Your Lawn

Summer is the perfect time for a backyard barbeque and Labor Day Weekend is the pinnacle of the outdoor party fun. While everyone is enjoying themselves eating, grilling, standing around talking to friends, and playing cornhole, your beautiful sod lawn may be suffering under the foot traffic (and paw traffic from the four-legged party-goers). Follow our tips for keeping your sod lawn in tip top shape and keeping the damage minimal.

Tip #1: Musical Chairs is more than just a game

Large items, such as furniture, create damage to your sod when they are on it in one spot for too long. The sod becomes deprived of the oxygen and nutrients it needs to flourish and will often turn brown as the grass dies. To prevent this, move these heavy objects around every other day to different parts of your yard. For your outdoor parties, this goes for the grill, backyard games, furniture, and all other heavy objects.

Tip #2: Mulch ado about nothing

Mulch can be used in a number of ways in your yard, one of which is a space filler. If you have spots that need covering or want to keep them from forming, mulch is a great solution and looks nice in your yard.

Tip #3: Bed of roses

Make sure your flowers won’t be trampled on by party goers! Decorative fences or other landscaping to separate your flowers from the rest of your sod lawn will keep people from walking where they shouldn’t and ruining your beautiful florals!

Tip #4: Get in touch with West Coast Turf to repair any damaged sod or to install a new sod lawn that’s sure to impress at your Labor Day BBQ, or any other outdoor parties!

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Arizona Sod Summer Watering Tips

You don’t need to check the forecast every day to know that for the next few months…it’s hot. These high temperatures can be the death of your Arizona sod – literally. The high temperatures and extreme heat can dry out your sod and kill your grass if it isn’t watered properly. On the other end of that spectrum, overwatering kills even more lawns than any other cause! Don’t lose hope – you can keep your Arizona sod alive and thriving if you follow our summer watering tips.
-Water areas that are shaded about 30% less than areas in direct sunlight. This will keep you from overwatering – which can lead to fungus!
-Don’t water your sod lawn in the middle of the day! Waiting until nighttime or early morning, when the water won’t evaporate in the sunlight and the wind won’t affect the water’s ability to soak into the sod. This helps the water to get down further, nurturing the roots. Between the times of 4 am and 8 am are perfect to water!
-Think of rain as nature’s watering system and give the grass a day off! We know, it doesn’t rain much in the summer. But on the occasion that it does, you don’t need to water your sod lawn further.
-Water slowly and evenly. This makes sure all the grass is getting the water it needs and no more or less. One method of ensuring this is to divide the lawn into sections and do one at a time.
-Decrease watering frequency. Even on the hottest days of summer, most lawns don’t need to be watered daily.
Here are some signs to look for to tell if you are underwatering.
1. The grass doesn’t spring back up after you step on it.
2. The lawn still feels warm even after the sun has gone down
3. You aren’t able to easily push a screwdriver down into the soil
On the reverse side of that, some signs of overwatering:
1. Presence of mushrooms or algae
2. The grass emits a musty odor
3. Puddles of water are present in any areas
4. Soft soil when you walk on it
We are experts in Arizona sod lawns and can answer any questions you may have about maintaining yours!
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Warm Season Turfgrass Management

Warm Season Turfgrass Management

The information contained in this packet is designed as a general guideline for maintaining warm season turfgrass in Arizona and California. As with all living plants there will be unforeseen circumstances and environmental conditions that will require you to deviate from site to site. Maintaining turfgrass in the desert regions can present severe stress on turfgrass so daily observation is important. One plan is not going to fit every circumstance, but going into the season with guidelines will help ease the burden when situations arise.

Soil Preparation Prior to Sod Installation

  1. Apply gypsum at 25-50 pounds per 1000 square feet to the area you will be getting ready for turf.
  2. Rototill your soil to a 6-8 inch depth. This may not be possible in all areas but tilling up the soil as deep as possible will provide your lawn with more air, better water infiltration/percolation, and will allow for a stronger root structure.
  3. Level and grade the soil to reestablish uniformity in the soil.
  4. Install your irrigation system. It is important to make sure that all irrigation trenches are water packed and have fully settled before you put your lawn in. You don’t want to see where all the irrigation trenches were dug. Do you want to lower your water usage on turfgrass? Try a subsurface irrigation system. There have been so many advances in the drip irrigation market and we have had very good success.
  5. Finish grade your soil and use sand to do any leveling to the soil surface. Mulch is okay, but it will hold moisture in the top couple inches of the soil and can potentially bring in weed seed. Sand is the ideal growing medium for grass.
  6. Water your soil for a few days to make sure the soil is settled and you’re happy with the final grade. Remember sod is just like carpet and anything under the grass like large rocks will be visible.
  7. Order your BOBSod and set up a day to install the turf. Don’t forget to order your Soil Burst 4-4-2 organic starter fertilizer from us that can be applied right before the sod goes down or right on top of your new lawn. Don’t miss this critical step. Other starter fertilizers that can easily be applied are 11-52-0, 6-24-24, 21-7-14, or 6-20-20. There are several other kinds but these are the most readily available in town.

Installing West Coast Turf

  1. Lay sod around the perimeter using small cuts in the sod to help wrap around tight corners.
  2. Find the longest and straightest point in your lawn and lay the sod in a straight line.
  3. Now follow the straight line and sod in a brick pattern to stagger the seams. The easiest way to do this is to cut the first piece of sod in half and then lay full rolls. This will keep the seams from lining up next to each other.

Watering Your New Turf

  1. Water 3-4 times a day for the first two weeks making sure you keep the foliage of the grass moist. Since roots have not been established it is not important to water more than 10-15 minutes per cycle.
  2. Once the grass has rooted down (can’t be pulled up) cut your watering to one time per day for 15-20 minutes. If you have low flow sprinklers you need to water twice as long as a normal pop up sprinkler.
  3. Once the lawn has been in a month cut the watering back to every other to every third day for 25-35 minutes. This will be your summer watering schedule. Grass should be watered deep and infrequent to promote root growth.

Turfgrass Fertility

Fertility is one of the most important aspects of maintaining a healthy stand of turf. Fertilizers come in all different formulations and the only true way to determine requirements is to do annual soil testing. All bags of fertilizer list three numbers on the front of the bag. These are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These three nutrients are the key building blocks to every successful fertilizer program.

Nitrogen (N) – Nitrogen is one of the most essential nutrients to all grass plants. It is required in the highest quantities for all warm season grasses except paspalum. Bermudagrass will use 8-10 pounds of N per 1000 SF (350-450#/AC) during the growing season. The typical growing season is from mid-April through November. Nitrogen is the first number listed on a bag of fertilizer. (e.g. 21-0-0)

  1. Color
  2. Shoot growth
  3. Density
  4. Wear tolerance
  5. Recuperation of injured or new turf

Quick release Nitrogen sources:

  1. Ammonium sulfate
  2. Ammonium nitrate
  3. Potassium nitrate
  4. Urea

Slow release nitrogen sources:

  1. Sulfur coated urea
  2. Compost and manure (miloraganite)
  3. Poultry waste – (Soil Burst 4-4-2)
  4. Resin coated urea
  5. Urea formaldehyde

Phosphorus (P) – This is one of the key nutrients along with nitrogen and potassium that is essential for plant survival. Phosphorus is the second number listed on a bag of fertilizer.  (ex. 11-52-0) It has been proven to help with quick lawn establishment because it promotes strong root growth. Most bermudagrass lawns use between 4-6 pounds (175-250#/AC) of phosphorus per 1000 SF growing season.

  1. Turf establishment
  2. Root growth
  3. Seed production
  4. Increased turf vigor

Potassium (K) – The final nutrient in the big three listed on a bag of fertilizer (ex. 21-7-14). Potassium is required by all turfgrass plants for plant strength and root formation. A potassium deficiency can be identified by yellowing of the turfgrass leaves, weak root system, and it opens up the plant for disease potential if conditions are right. A typical bermudagrass lawn will use 4-6 pounds (175-250#/AC) of potassium per 1000 SF per growing season.

  1. Root growth
  2. Heat and cold tolerance
  3. Wear tolerance
  4. Disease susceptibility

Sulfur (S) – Sulfur is typically used in smaller quantities in warm season turfgrasses, but it is a valuable nutrient for turfgrass managers. Most bermudagrasses will use 2.5-5 (100-200 pounds/AC) pounds of sulfur per 1000 SF per year.

  1. Green color
  2. Shoot growth and density
  3. Root growth
  4. Food storage (carbohydrate storage)

Iron (Fe) – Iron is an essential micronutrient that helps maintain balance in the plant. While it is not part of chlorophyll it is essential for chlorophyll synthesis. Iron has long been known as the key to solving many chlorosis issues.

  1. Green color
  2. Shoot growth
  3. Root growth
  4. Wear tolerance
  5. Cold/heat tolerance

Calculating Fertilizer for Turfgrass

All fertilizer bags list N-P-K on the front of the bag. These numbers determine the percentage of these nutrients in the bag of fertilizer. Using your monthly nutrient requirement you can easily calculate how much N-P-K you will be putting out in an application.

Ex. A bag of 21-7-14 is made up of 21% nitrogen, 7% phosphorus, and 14% potassium. The remainder of the bag is micronutrients and inert matter. If you wanted to apply 1 pound of nitrogen per 1000 SF you would use the following formula.

1 pound of nitrogen /.21 (percent in the bag) = 4.76 pounds of product to yield 1 pound of nitrogen per 1000 SF or 207 pounds per acre (43,560 SF/AC)

After calculating the amount of total fertilizer needed you will want to calculate the setting on your spreader by weighing 4.76 pounds. Measure out 1000 SF and adjust your setting plus/minus depending on if you have extra or too little fertilizer.

Pre/Post-emergent Weed Control

There are so many herbicides on the market today that treat any number of weeds, but I have provided a list of the herbicides I’ve had the most success using. This doesn’t mean that a product I didn’t name won’t be effective, but unfortunately some of the others I have not done enough testing on.

Pre-emergent herbicides

  1. Barricade 65WG (Prodiamine)
  2. Dimension (dithiopyr)
  3. Ronstar (oxadiazon)
  4. Pendulum (pendimethalin)

Post-Emergent Weed Control

  1. Trimec Classic for bermudagrass overseeded with ryegrass.
  2. Trimec Southern for paspalum lawns overseeded or not overseeded with ryegrass.
  3. Vanquish (Dicamba) safe for bermudagrass and paspalum overseed/non
  4. 2,4-D Amine – Safe for bermudagrass lawns overseeded/non
  5. Xonerate (Amicarbazene) – This can safely be used on ryegrass to control Poa annua in a bermudagrass or paspalum overseed/non.  See label for rates. Best used in two half rate applications split up a month apart.

Before making an application of a pre-emergent herbicide make sure you take a look at the following:

  1. Irrigate afterwards, water activates pre-emergent herbicides.
  2. Measure your lawn surface area and calibrate your spreader properly prior to application. Applying more herbicide than is necessary could cause damage to your lawn.
  3. If you are starting to see a little emergence of crabgrass or poa annua after the product has been applied it is okay to make a second application of some products over the missed areas. Consult with the label prior to making a second application.
  4. If you have recently installed your turf (within the last 3 months) you should withhold all pre-emergent herbicide applications so you do not damage the root system.

It is extremely important to error on the side of caution when using any herbicide. Using more product than the label states is not only against the law it can also be very harmful to the turf. If you over apply herbicide you can expect to see residual damage for a few months after the application.

If you have a dormant lawn and are looking to get rid of poa annua before the bermudagrass or paspalum season apply Revolver, Kerb, or Certainty to remove.

There is a 2-3 week window between mid-December and mid-January after a hard freeze when you can apply round-up to treat weeds in dormant turf. The round-up rate should not exceed 16oz/ AC and needs to be applied before any spring green up.

Nutgrass herbicides

  1. Sedgehammer
  2. Certainty
  3. Monument
  4. Sandea


  1. Raise your mowing height up for a week so when you get ready to scalp the lawn you’re not mowing it down to the nubs. You want to raise the height 25-30%.
  2. When the nighttime temperatures consistently stay below 65 degrees (usually early to mid-October) you’re good to begin the overseed process.
  3. Rent a Ren-o-thin or dethatcher (usually $40-$50 for 4 hours) and drop the setting to just below half way. You don’t want to get aggressive and take out roots; you’re just looking to open up the grass canopy. Since warm season grasses tend to be thick at this time of the year a lot of grass will be taken when you verticut or dethatch.
  4. Verticut or dethatch in two-directions making sure your turf grass is open.
  5. Set the mower one notch below your last mow and pick up all of the grass lying on top of the ground.
  6. Now drop the mowing height one additional time and make sure you remove all of the remaining material that was lying on top of the turf.
  7. Apply your Soil Burst 4-4-2 starter fertilizer at 15 pounds per 1000 SF.
  8. Apply BOBSeed at 8-10 pounds per 1000 SF. I like to use a drop spreader to do two passes around the edges and keep the seed out of the rocks and dirt. Then come back with a rotary or drop spreader for the remainder of the yard.
  9. Since you verticut the lawn two directions you have opened up the grass plant and the seed will come up in a nice checkerboard pattern.
  10. Set your sprinklers to run 3-4 times per day for 5-7 minutes.
  11. Your lawn will germinate in 5 days and you will see grass starting to pop in 7-10 days.
  12. When your turf is 14 days old apply 21-7-14, 6-20-20, or 11-52-0 to your lawn.
  13. Make your first cut at 14-17 days when the grass is 1.5 inches. Do not cut a lot of material. Just trim it up. It is important to mow the grass when the turf is dry to get a clean cut.
  14. Change your watering to 1x per day for 10-15 minutes first thing in the morning for two weeks.
  15. At one month apply a final granular application such as Soil Burst 5-15-10, calcium nitrate or spray ferrous sulfate and potassium nitrate
  16. Decrease your watering schedule to every other to every third day for 20-25 minutes.
  17. Apply Soil Burst 4-4-2, 7-7-7, ferrous sulfate, or potassium nitrate every month throughout the winter.
  18. Granular fertilizers will not work well once we receive significant frost so make sure you use liquid products and keep the color bright green.

Spring Transition

  1. Gradually lower your mowing heights to reduce the turf canopy. Warm season grasses are not shade tolerant and excess ryegrass provides shade.  No need to scalp the lawn, just lower the height down and begin to thin out the grass.
  2. Lightly verticut the lawn to open up the canopy and let sunlight into the grass below.
  3. Be careful of fertilizer rates at this time of the year and stick to slow release products such as Soil Burst 4-4-2, 11-52-0, 6-20-20, or 21-7-14. You want to put a pound of nitrogen per 1000 SF down when you make this fertilizer application. The first number on the bag is nitrogen and it is listed as a percentage. For example the 21-7-14 is 21% nitrogen. A typical fertilizer bag weighs 50 lbs so 21% of the 50 pounds is nitrogen. In other words you have 10.5 pounds of nitrogen in a 50 lb bag. Since the goal is apply one pound of nitrogen you would use the following formula.
  4. 1 pound of nitrogen / .21 (percentage of nitrogen on the bag) = 4.76 pounds of product per 1000 SF will yield 1 pound of nitrogen.
  5. If you have standing water it is a great time to aerify so you can help air and water better infiltrate the soil.
  6. Increase your mowing frequency to two times per week.
  7. Gradually back off the water this month to stress out the ryegrass when soil temperatures reach 64 degrees (usually around mid-April). Turning off the water completely will stress out the warm season turf and ryegrass so this is not the optimal approach. Use 60% of your normal water rate.
  8. When soil temperatures reach 64 degree apply Soil Burst 5-15-10 at 20 pounds per 1000 SF to give the grass a jump start on the year. A second option to this is to use ammonium sulfate 21-0-0 at 5 pounds of product per/1000 SF.
  9. Fertilize with 1-2 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 SF monthly over the summer. You can use any combination of the products I listed above as well as several others to help you achieve your goal of a perfect lawn. For a more accurate analysis on other nutrients you can send soil samples into a lab for results.


99% of all issues related with turfgrass in our area are related to water. While many assume that too little water is always the problem, overwatering is just as detrimental to turfgrass. It is extremely important to check your turf daily to determine water use. Even when temperatures reach 115 degrees in the summer it is still possible to overwater your turf. Below are the key principles to a healthy lawn followed by new sod watering guidelines:

This pictures shows a dead area right in front of a pop up sprinkler. A dual fan nozzle will solve this common problem. A dual fan will throw water out and also hit the spot in front of the sprinkler.

  1. Water enough to moisten as much of the root zone as possible. Using a soil probe you can determine how deep your root zone is. Water to the depth of the roots.
  2. Water deep and infrequently. Do not water your turf every day.
  3. Sandy soils require more frequent irrigation and the root zone is often deeper than a clay material.
  4. Clay soils can be watered less frequently with larger quantities of water.
  5. A typical bermudagrass lawn will use 1” of water a week during the summer months. This should be applied over 3-4 days.
  6. In order to successfully water deep and infrequent utilize the cycle/soak method of irrigation. If you need to run 40 minutes then water 20 minutes at 6:00 am and 20 minutes at 9:00 am.
  7. Water early in the morning to reduce environmental factors such as wind, evaporation, etc.

New Sod Water Guidelines

Watering New Sod Summer Schedule
Temperature Above 90º F
Time Since Planting Watering Frequency Suggested Schedule Duration
First 14 days 4 times daily 8 & 11 a.m./2 & 5 p.m. 5 to 10 minutes
Roots usually established after 21 days 2 to 3 times per week Early Morning Hours Water should penetrate 8 to 10 inches deep
Watering New Sod (Dormant Bermuda Sod Overseeded with Winter Ryegrass)
Winter Schedule.  Temperatures Below 90º F
Time Since Planting Watering Frequency Suggested Schedule Duration
First 14 days 2 times daily 9 a.m. & 2 p.m. 10 to 15 minutes
15 to 21 days 1 time, every other day Early Morning Hours 15 to 20 minutes
Roots usually established after 21 days 3 to 10 days, depending on weather Early Morning Hours Water should penetrate 4 to 6 inches deep


Turfgrass cultural practices

Both aerating and verticutting will help reduce soil compaction. This is one of the biggest contributors to turfgrass desiccation. Soil compaction not only effects soil oxygen levels, it also plays a major role in the root system, deters the plant from accessing many of the key nutrients, and is a major contributor to weeds.

As with any maintenance program attention to detail is always important. In order to maintain a healthy turfgrass plant year round I would suggest incorporating the following into your yearly plan:

Verticutting or Dethatching (power raking): Light verticutting can promote new growth, reduce thatch, and help with early spring green up by letting air move in the root zone. I highly suggest verticutting prior to overseed to open up the grass plant. Opening up the plant allows the seed to get inside the grass reducing the amount of seed that fails to germinate.

Aeration: Helps relieve the root zone of compaction while controlling thatch. Opening up the pore space in the ground helps with water infiltration/percolation and also improves air flow.

Here is a link to a video on verticutting/power raking:


Varieties of warm season turf

  1. Paspalums (Platinum/Sea Spray)
  2. Darkest color of any of the warm season turfgrasses
  3. Can be mowed between 1/10th of an inch and 2 inches with a rotary or reel mower
  4. Highest salt tolerance of any warm season grass which means it can tolerate high sodium water sources such as effluent water
  5. Shortest dormancy period of any of the warm season grasses (often as little as 2-3 months)
  6. Full sun between 9am and 3 pm
  7. Uses 2/3rds the nitrogen as bermudagrass (stick with the Soil Burst products for low nitrogen, high calcium applications)2. BOBSod
  8. Most popular homeowner/landscape variety on the market
  9. Deep blue/green color
  10. Maintain between ¼” inch and 1.5 inches with a rotary or reel mower
  11. Uses very little nitrogen, has virtually no seed heads, and is a slow growing turf which means less mowing
  12. Soft, carpet like feel


  1. EZ-Turf (Arizona)
  2. Perfect grass for low maintenance lawn
  3. Open turf canopy which makes it ideal choice for rotary lawn mower
  4. Coarser leaf blade than BOBSod or Tifway
  5. Medium green color and fast growing turf
    4. Tifway II (California)
  1. Medium leaf texture
  2. Shortest dormancy period of any of the bermudagrasses
  3. Maintain between 3/8” and 1” with a sharp rotary or reel
  4. Very dense growth habit with dark green color


Tifway 419/Tifgreen 328

  1. Very dense turfgrasses with medium fine leaf texture. Tifgreen 328 has shorter internodes which allows it to be maintained lower.
  2. Aggressive growth habit and requires full sun
  3. Best maintained with a reel mower but Tifway 419 can be mowed with a sharp rotary
  4. Excellent sports turf with a soft surface

St Augustine

  1. Coarse bladed, plush growing turfgrass that does well in the shade or ideally full sun.
  2. Can be maintained with a rotary or a reel
  3. Dark green color in the summer months but should be left dormant for the winter months


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Arizona & California Sod – Managing Pet Urine

Pets are as much a part of our families as our kids and keeping them happy is important.

Do you know what makes for a happy dog? One of the best ways is by putting in a new lawn. Did you know that putting in grass has been shown to reduce ground temperatures by as much as 30 degrees? We continually see a trend for people to use rocks in their yards because they don’t like the perceived maintenance of a yard but in this day and age it is important to think about the environment.

Sod cleans the air and helps recharge our groundwater supplies. Turfgrass is one of nature’s finest and least expensive filters, and works to improve the environment. The front lawn of just 8 homes has the cooling effect of 70 tons of air conditioning. Just think how happy you and your pets would be to walk around during the summer months if everyone had grass in their yard.

Stewy the dog

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Arizona Sod Mower Maintenance

While technically the calendar says spring, it feels like summer here in the valley of the sun. As we go through the transition period in California and Arizona from ryegrass back to bermudagrass or paspalum I want to touch a little bit on getting your mower ready for the season. It’s always a good idea to start each season off with a clean, sharp, and ready to use mower. There is nothing worse than going out to cut your lawn and pulling on the lawn mower cord a dozen times only to find the mower won’t turn over. There are some simple things you can do to keep it running well and last for several years.

Before I go into maintenance of your mower I will touch on the two different types of mowers on the market. You can choose between a rotary mower and a reel mower. The reel mowers I will refer to will be self-propelled mowers instead of push reel mowers. The reason I’m skipping on the push reel mowers is because it’s tough to push through thick bermudagrass during the summer months. While it can definitely be done, its just not my favorite thing to do on a 115-degree Arizona day.

There are several brands of reel mowers on the market so deciding which one to buy is going through the various options and deciding what is most important to you. Some of these choices include desired height of cut, number of reels on the mower (the mower reels, the tighter you can mow), weight of the mower, cutting width, and deciding if you will be collecting clippings or letting them lay on the ground. Most of the new reel mowers have a front bucket attachment but there are still a few on the market that drop clippings out the back of the mower.

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