You Have Overseeded Your California or Arizona Sod Lawn–Now What? And….Even if You Haven’t.

By now, most of you who are going to overseed your California or Arizona sod have either begun the process or have had your seed down for a few weeks. Today, I want to discuss what to do now that you have the ryegrass growing and cooler temperatures are on the horizon.

Getting your ryegrass up and growing is obviously the first step to a successful winter lawn, but what about maintenance? How can you make sure your ryegrass is strong going into the winter and you will have a full stand of ryegrass once the temperatures begin to drop into the 40’s at night? There are several key items associated with a strong winter lawn but early preparation should be high on your list.

I know you put down a starter fertilizer with your seed but let’s remember that fertilizer will move freely in a saturated soil. The new plant took up most of the nutrients from the starter fertilizer application but the residual affect is limited because you’ve been keeping the seed wet for the past few weeks. So what exactly does this mean? Basically, what I’m trying to say is that once you’ve had your ryegrass lawn in for 2-3 weeks I would advise getting a second fertilizer application on the grass.

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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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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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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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Home Improvements During Shelter At Home Order

COVID-19 has flipped the world on its head and there’s no getting around how much our way of life has changed in the past few months. Even for those who are still working full time, most are finding they have a lot of free time on their hands. One productive way to channel this energy is through home improvement projects, specifically ones that allow you to be outside enjoying the sun and the beautiful late spring weather. One fantastic hobby to hone in on is gardening and landscaping. Nothing sets off your garden and your home like a lush, green lawn. In achieving this, natural turf is always the way to go. A beautiful Arizona or California sod lawn is the perfect background for entertaining and outdoor sports as well. A natural turf lawn gives off oxygen, draws in carbon dioxide, and helps keep air temperatures cooler in the summer. Artificial turf seems appealing, as it stays green and requires little care, but this can be deceiving, as there are many drawbacks. Artificial turf gets unbearably hot in the summer months and is known to contain antimicrobials, which are often toxic. In desert climates, you and your pets can enjoy your natural sod lawn without fear of burning your feet (and your pet’s paw pads), since natural turf stays 20-50 degrees cooler than artificial turf (which is also hard to completely sanitize). To get started with a California or Arizona sod lawn, contact us at West Coast Turf, where our knowledgeable team will direct you to what natural turf works best for your landscaping. Please note that due to California and Arizona’s statewide shelter at home orders, West Coast Turf is carefully and responsibly continuing to operate using heightened hygiene and social/physical distancing rules 

All orders must be prepaid on the phone or website and will be delivered without any contact. As always, we appreciate and value our loyal customers.

Please visit us online: https://www.westcoastturf.com/

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Getting Your Lawn in Top Shape During Spring Transition

**Due to California and Arizona’s statewide shelter at home orders because of the coronavirus, West Coast Turf is carefully and responsibly continuing to operate using heightened hygiene and social/physical distancing rules to maintain the health and safety of our employees and customers. 

We are monitoring available information and are able to continue to supply sod since it’s an agricultural product, and supply hardware stores, nurseries, and construction, which are listed as exempt from the order.  

All orders must be prepaid on the phone or website. Orders will be delivered without any contact, and know that we appreciate and value our loyal customers.

Please be aware that this could change at any time if further clarification is given by either State.  We are open and here to help you with your turfgrass needs.**


A lot of us have some extra time at home right now, and are spending more time out on our California and Arizona lawns.

There’s a renewed appreciation for nature and the outdoors. And, the sight of green grass and the smell of fresh cut grass has proven to be beneficial to our mental health and help curb anxiety–that’s ALWAYS welcome–especially now.

Taking care of your lawn can be productive, therapeutic, and something you can do alone, or with someone else safely and socially distant.

Let’s talk about some things you can do right now to make sure your lawn transitions properly this spring……

Spring Transition

As the temperatures begin to rise it’s a good time to look at your lawn program.  Did you overseed your warm season lawn or allow it to bounce into 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. 

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Artificial Turf and Pets: Why it May Not Be the Right Choice

Many people with pets who are pondering whether to use natural or artificial turf in their yard weigh the options based on what’s better for their pet, as well as for them. While it might seem like a sensible choice, there are several reasons why it may not be the best one.

1. Artificial turf can be up to 86  hotter than natural turf. In states with warmer climates, Southern California and Arizona chief among them, summer temperatures are already hot and with even higher temps on artificial turf, dogs and cats can burn the pads of their paws when walking on it. Plants and natural sod transpires – or gives off water vapor. This process helps to passively cool the environment around it. This is one reason why even in the hottest direct sunlight, natural grass is much more bearable to the touch than cement, asphalt, or artificial turf. The pores plants have on their leaves, or blades of grass as is the case, take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen and water molecules. Those water molecules immediately evaporate and cool the environment around them. This cooling effect is great for people, pets, and other plants. Artificial grass doesn’t have the ability to create a cooling effect.

2. One of the benefits touted by artificial turf enthusiasts is its easy cleanup. In reality, like any other synthetic material, fluids, pet waste, and other debris will collect on it and some aren’t easily washed away. Natural grass can be cut and regrow and is easier to clean.

3. Artificial turf isn’t soft like a natural sod lawn. The blades of “grass” are hard and can hurt if a person or pet falls on it. This can be especially unsafe for kids who are playing. Sliding on the artificial turf can create a sort of “rug burn” and cause minor injuries.

4. It’s expensive! Artificial turf can have a life expectancy of anywhere from 8-20 years, depending on the manufacturer. After that, it will need to be replaced. At anywhere from $5-$20+  per square foot, this is a big investment to make, particularly when you will need to replace it in fewer than 10 years. 

5. Natural sod is environmentally-friendly, artificial turf is not. Part of the draw to artificial turf is that it’s supposedly water-wise, which helps in times of drought and conserving water. However, artificial turf is made of plastic, rubber, and other materials that are not biodegradable, and cleaning or cooling it requires water. Eventually, it will end up in a landfill. As its components break down, it’s possible for the chemicals in its materials to leak into the environment. Many states are researching and making claims about its toxicity and more research still needs to be done. 

For more information on why our natural turf grass sod is the right choice for you, visit our website: https://www.westcoastturf.com/

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Invierno, siembre su césped de Arizona

A medida que nos acercamos al final del verano, los equipos de cuidado del césped se están preparando para una siembra excesiva y para mantener la hierba verde durante el invierno.

Primero, analicemos la preparación inicial del césped. Deje que su césped crezca un 25-30% de altura para proporcionar más densidad de hojas. Otra ventaja de mantener su césped a una altura más alta es que usará menos agua, y cuando le corte el cuero cabelludo le dejará muchas hojas nuevas y saludables para la primavera. Si tiene un césped saludable, es bueno pasarle el rastrillo ligeramente o cortarlo verticalmente en ese momento. Esto abre el dosel del césped y permite que las semillas lleguen al suelo. Si normalmente mantiene su césped a 1 “, podrá elevar la altura de su césped durante las próximas dos semanas a alrededor de 1.25″. Cuando el clima coopere, puede cortar el césped ligeramente por debajo de su altura de corte normal. La mayoría de los cortacéspedes rotativos se pueden bajar a ¾ ”.(Tres cuartos).

Recuerde que no todas las semillas son iguales. Aquí hay algunos consejos a tener en cuenta al mirar una bolsa de semillas.

1. El mejor material para la siembra de invierno es el ryegrass perenne (Hierba de centeno perenne). Si bien parece que la “Anual de hierba de centeno tiene sentido”(Anual ryegrass), este no tiene el vigor, el color o la densidad que tiene la hierba de centeno perenne.
2. Tasa de germinación: la tasa de germinación le indicará qué cantidad de semilla es viable. Si recoge una bolsa con una tasa de germinación del 60%, entonces necesita un 40% más de semillas para dejar la tasa correcta. Tiene que encontrar una bolsa con más del 85% de germinación.

3. Semilla de malezas: este número debe ser cero. Cualquier semilla de
marihuana o materia inerte causará estragos en su césped sobre el sembrado.

4. Muchas veces las semillas de ryegrass (hierba de centeno) mezcladas son más baratas porque ponen diferentes grados de semillas en la bolsa. Algunas mezclas son semillas muy buenas y proporcionan diferentes protecciones para las plantas, pero algunas se mezclan con semillas de menor grado. Recuerde que la semilla de ryegrass (hierba de centeno) tiene un precio por germinación, semilla de malezas y calidad de la semilla. Por lo tanto, si ha encontrado un acuerdo sobre semillas, no siempre será su mejor apuesta.

Materiales para Siembra excesiva.

Semilla de ryegrass perenne (Hierba de centeno perenne) de alta calidad.
Fertilizante inicial: cuando recoja su semilla, también recoja un fertilizante inicial. Algunos buenos son Soil Burst 4-4-2, 11-52-0 o 6-20-20.
Segunda aplicación de fertilizante: se puede aplicar después de cortar el césped por primera vez. Los fertilizantes a considerar son 21-7-14, 11-52-0 o 6-20-20.
Todos sus rociadores deben estar funcionando y ajustados adecuadamente. Revise todas las boquillas después del cuero cabelludo en busca de astillas o abolladuras que el cortacésped pueda haber causado al cortar más.
Rastrillo eléctrico o verticutter.

Instrucciones para Siembra excesiva.

1. Reduzca el agua un 25% dos semanas antes de la siembra excesiva. Detenga todas las aplicaciones de fertilizantes cuatro semanas antes de la siembra.
2. Eleve la altura de su césped 25-30%. Usted hace esto para que corte el césped desde el cuero cabelludo y no lo esté cortando desde la tierra, sino que esté cortando el césped a una altura manejable, lo que no causará ninguna lesión al césped en la primavera.

3. Rastrillo eléctrico o verticut el césped. No configure la máquina para desenterrar nuevos rizomas del suelo. Su objetivo es abrir el dosel de césped.

4. Después de encender el rastrillo, corte los recortes. El cortacésped funciona muy bien para recoger el césped. A continuación, configure el rastrillo eléctrico en una configuración más baja y realice el mismo proceso en una dirección diferente. Esto abrirá el dosel de césped denso y permitirá que la semilla ingrese a la planta de la hierba.

5. Corte los recortes nuevamente. Después de que se hayan limpiado los recortes, ajuste su podadora a ¾ ” (tres cuartos) o ½” (un medio) si tiene una cortadora de carrete y corte el césped. La única razón por la que está descalcificando es para evitar que el césped de la temporada cálida compita con la semilla de ryegrass (hierba de Centeno).

6. Tan pronto como limpie el césped, aplique su fertilizante de arranque. Estás buscando una aplicación de fósforo para ayudar a la semilla. Algunos excelentes fertilizantes son 4-4-2, 6-20-20 o 11-52-0 para comenzar con su césped.

7. Me gusta mantener mis rocas y bordes limpios, así que uso un separador de gotas. Primero aplique ryegrass perenne (hierba de Centeno perenne) a 10 libras por 1000 SF alrededor del perímetro del césped. Haga dos pases para asegurarse de que el esparcidor giratorio no arroje semillas a las rocas. Esto no es necesario, pero evitará que el ryegrass (la hierba de Centeno) invada áreas indeseables durante todo el invierno.

8. Luego aplique su hierba de centeno perenne con un esparcidor giratorio a 10-12 libras por 1000 SF al resto del césped. Si desea la mejor cobertura, debe aplicar 5-6 libras de semilla por 1000 SF en dos direcciones. Este es siempre el mejor enfoque, pero nuevamente no es necesario.

9. Tendrá algo de semilla encima de la superficie del césped, pero la mayoría debería estar dentro de la planta de césped si preparó su césped correctamente y abrió el dosel. Puede usar una escoba para ayudar a que cualquier semilla adicional ingrese a la planta.

10. Siga las instrucciones de riego a continuación.

Algunas personas cubren sus semillas con mantillo, pero puede ahorrar su tiempo, dinero y el olor en su jardín porque esto no es necesario. El mantillo permite que la semilla mantenga la humedad y mantiene el calor en la planta, pero si siembras en septiembre / octubre, hace mucho calor. No necesita preocuparse por la humedad tampoco. El mantillo no evita que las aves coman su semilla e incluso si ellas comen algo de semillas, usted ya ha aplicado muchas semillas con la tasa de 10-12 libras / 1000 SF.

Regar tu césped cubierto.

Semana 1-2: Riegue 3 veces al día durante 5-7 minutos por ciclo. Asegúrate de no tener estanques. Si lo hace, baje la cantidad de agua. Sugiero regar alrededor de las 8 a.m., mediodía y 4 p.m.

Semana 3: Riegue 2 veces al día durante 12-15 minutos. Dado que la planta es muy nueva en este momento, lo mejor es una aplicación por la mañana y por la tarde. Por lo general, puede cortar el césped por primera vez después de 14 días. Es mejor dejar que la hierba se seque durante varias horas antes de hacer el primer corte. Mantenga el cortacésped a una altura superior a la normal.

Semana 4: agua 1 vez por día durante 10-15 minutos. Durante este período de tiempo, puede cortarlo cada 5-7 días.

Semana 5: Riegue cada dos días 10-15 minutos. Corte el césped cada 5-7 días según sea necesario y aplique una vez más Soil Burst 4-4-2, 21-7-14 o 15-15-15.

Semana 6 y más allá: Riegue cada 2-3 días según sea necesario hasta que las temperaturas se enfríen durante el invierno. Durante el invierno, puede estirar su ryegrass (Hierba de Centeno) aún más entre riegos. Sugeriría aplicaciones de fertilizantes cada 28 días durante el otoño. Cuando las temperaturas caen alrededor del punto de congelación, es mejor usar fertilizantes líquidos para mantener el vigor del césped.

Jay Danek
Mr. Wise Grass
11803 E. McDonald Drive
Scottsdale, AZ 85256

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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 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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