Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
28
Apr

Changes in Water Restrictions in California

We have all read an article or two lately about the need to cut back on water used outdoors for lawns, trees, and shrubs. We are in a time when water supply is low, and we are caught between trying to keep our homes cooler by having a lawn and using too much water to keep it green. There will always be two sides to this issue as some see lawns and plants as a waste of water and others understand the benefit to the environment. As is the case in politics a blog post or article is not going to change one’s mind one way or the other but being opened to change and learning from each other will help us find a middle ground. Today I am going to talk about ways to reduce water for your turfgrass while keeping the grass healthy, and still providing the benefits to the environment. 

Grass selection is becoming more and more important. Let us start by examining the difference between warm and cool season grasses. Here in the southwest you can expect to use 30% more water by using a cool season grass when compared to a warm season grass. Cool season grasses grow best between 60-75 degrees whereas warm season grasses grow best between 90-105 degrees. Picking a warm season turfgrass for your area can save a significant amount of water and allow you to curtail water use longer during hot, dry periods. Swapping out a tall fescue lawn for a drought tolerant bermudagrass is much cheaper than you think and it will save water and put money back in your pocket. 

The next part of grass selection is determining the right warm season grass for you. Breeders have been working overtime for years to come up with more drought tolerant grasses and they have been very successful. Some of the grasses on the market right now for reducing water are Kurapia (best drought tolerance), Tahoma 31 (second best), Tiftuf (3rd) Santa Ana, Paspalum, and Zoysia (coming soon to WCT). Kurapia is a ground cover that can be maintained on 50-60% replacement of evapotranspiration and even less if you want to slow the growth and put the grass into a state of dormancy during the hot summer. Studies have shown Tahoma 31 to use slightly less water than Tiftuf its closet competitor in the drought market and 20% less water than older bermudagrass varieties. Selecting the right turfgrass will enable your lawn to use less water and maintain drought tolerance through the hot summer.

How much water does grass need to survive? This is a loaded question, and you will get several different answers but on average 1.25” of water per week during the hottest part of the summer will keep your lawn healthy, thriving, and growing. Can you water less than 1.25” and have a good lawn? Absolutely! You could maintain your lawn with a once-a-week deep irrigation cycle during the summer months to keep the plant healthy and alive. The drought tolerant varieties will put your lawn into a state of pseudo dormancy, but the turf will still provide the same environmental benefits. I know for many having a green lawn is important but sometimes its not possible based on available water. In this situation I advise using a product like Endurant Turf Paint to give the lawn the desired color during periods of water reduction. Since the lawn will not be growing much the paint should last 45-60 days. 

Raise your mowing height during the summer. The shorter you maintain your lawn, the shallower the root system will be for the plant. Most warm season grasses can be maintained between half and inch and one and a half inches. These are the optimal ranges but do not be afraid to raise the height to two inches and save even more water.

 Water infiltration is extremely important. If your soil is a hard pan and water sheets off the ground every time you water, there is some work to do. Grass loves a deep watering which can happen all at once or broken up in the cycle/soak method. This means running 10-15 minutes and then letting it soak for an hour or more before running the second half of the cycle. If you cannot run more than a few minutes of water without runoff its time to aerate and open the soil. This will relieve compaction and allow water to freely get into the soil. 

Irrigation systems save time, water, and money. Putting in a smart timer that calculates evapotranspiration and tests soil moisture will help keep water use down and drastically lower your budget. These smart devices calculate real time weather, plant needs, and soil data. You can set them to use 70-80% of ET to keep your lawn growing. Many cities offer free irrigation clocks and soil moisture monitor tools so check with your city and see what is available. 

There are so many great options on the market right now to save water and allow you to have a healthy lawn. Remember that a lawn does not have to be bright green to be healthy. No one wants to give up their lawn and no one will have to if we all use some conservation methods. If you have any questions on any varieties send me an email and I will be happy to help you out. For more information about us, visit: westcoastturf.com

Click here for:

-Jay, Mr. Wise Grass

Share
Comments Off on Changes in Water Restrictions in California
18
Apr

Spring Cleaning Your Outdoor Space

The sun’s out, but it’s not too hot yet – now is the perfect time to get your home, garden, and outdoor spaces ready for spring. Here are some simple steps to getting the spring cleaning done.

  1. Clean, clean, clean. Wash windows and floorboards, dust off any cobwebs, sweep surfaces, and clear away any debris from fallen leaves and trees. Power wash your patio or deck. Wipe down patio furniture. Clean or replace any outdoor furniture as needed. 
  1. Update your green spaces. Mow your grass, trim your shrubs, redefine garden beds, make sure your natural grass is healthy and in a good routine for watering and mowing. Have fun with it – add pops of color in planters and herbs to your garden for cooking.
  1. Aerate your lawn, if necessary. If your lawn gets heavy traffic, such as lots of running and playing in the same spot, this can cause soil compaction. A lawn aerator creates openings in lawn turf that allows water and air to penetrate the soil and reach the grassroots. You can rent a lawn aerator at a big box hardware store, or, if you have a small lawn, use a hand aerator to do it. If you must aerate in the spring, consider doing it around Memorial Day, after weeds have started growing but before they go to seed.
  1. Weed your lawn. If you prefer weed-free lawns, spring lawn care is as much about weed prevention as it is about fostering healthy lawn growth. Depending upon whether a weed is annual or perennial, you will use either a pre-emergent herbicide or a post-emergent herbicide. 
  1. Service your lawn mower. Spring means it’s time to get out the lawn mower and make sure it’s in working order. Start it up – stubborn start-ups are a sign that it might be due for a tune-up (mowers should be given tune-ups once a year). If your lawnmower needs more than a tune-up, then consider getting a new one. Among the key tune-up tasks is sharpening the mower blade. A regular sharpening will ensure the blade severs, rather than tears, the grass, leading to a nice green lawn rather than one with ragged brown tips.

Once your outdoor space is ready, get outside and enjoy this beautiful spring weather! For more information visit https://www.westcoastturf.com

Share
Comments Off on Spring Cleaning Your Outdoor Space
17
Mar

When Should I Start to Spring Transition My Lawn to Bermudagrass?

I’d like to go over some common questions I have received through the blog in the last few weeks and see if it can help others with some of the same concerns. I always encourage everyone to send over your lawn questions and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

When should I start to transition my lawn back to bermudagrass?

I always recommend starting the process slowly in March and ramping up in April so your lawn has transitioned by May. I know that was a mouth full, but the truth is it’s not a short process unless you chemically transition your lawn. In March its ideal to start to gradually lower your mowing height and remove some of the turf canopy. This is not a scalp, this is lowering the height so the bermudagrass can breathe and get some sunlight. By mid-March you should be mowing two times per week and starting to see some thinning in the ryegrass. By thinning I mean bermudagrass leaves are starting to show between the ryegrass blades. Currently there is no need to fertilize the ryegrass, its time to back off on nutrition until bermudagrass season. In early April you can lightly verticut or even lightly power rake the lawn to remove some of the ryegrass giving way to bermudagrass. The more sunlight you can get in the grass, the faster you will transition. If the ryegrass remains extremely thick and lush you can expect it to provide excessive spring shade slowing down the bermudagrass. When soil temperatures reach 64 degrees (around April 15th) go ahead and apply ammonium sulfate 21-0-0 at 5 pounds per 1000 SF to jump start your bermudagrass. Continue mowing two times per week and gradually lowering your heights until you see the bermudagrass take over.

Spring Transition, keep lowering the height…..

Can I still put down pre-emergent for broadleaves?

Most of the grassy weeds and broadleaves are now germinating so putting down the preemergent will not yield the results you’re looking for. At this juncture its best to spot spray weeds depending on the type. Make sure the product is labeled for the weed you’re trying to control and can safely be used on bermudagrass. Grassy weeds use different chemicals than broadleaves and not all chemicals are safe and effective so check with specialty stores for better products.

What can I do to repair the urine damage from my dogs? Read the rest of this entry »

Share
Comments Off on When Should I Start to Spring Transition My Lawn to Bermudagrass?
14
Jan

Winter Lawn Care for your California and Arizona Sod

The weather stays relatively pleasant and sunny in desert landscapes in Southern California and Arizona, even in the winter. But once the suns dips down, temperatures drop down drastically. What can you do to keep your natural lawn looking beautiful in the colder months? Here are some tips.

Keep mowing!

Mowing your grass can sometimes fall by the wayside during the winter months. It’s recommended that you follow a semi-regular schedule and continue to mow the grass until you see the growth slow. A good rule of thumb is to keep your grass around 2 to 2.5 inches tall throughout the autumn months, since the grass could start to mat above 3 inches. It’s important to keep it the right length, since overgrowth can cause mold or diseases, and cutting it too short hinders the grass’s ability to to store food for growth. 

Sustain Growth by Watering

Even though the temperatures are cooler and there is more precipitation this time of year, it’s still important to continue to water your natural grass. Following a consistent watering schedule encourages growth. Do make sure to adjust your automatic sprinklers so they don’t over-irrigate and cause fungal growth.

Don’t forget to weed in the winter!

Weeding may seem like more of a warm weather chore, but it’s just as important to keep up with it in the winter. 

West Coast Turf is the expert on all things grass. Let us know what questions you have about keeping your natural turf looking amazing! Visit our website at www.westcoastturf.com.

Share
Comments Off on Winter Lawn Care for your California and Arizona Sod
05
Nov

Mosquitoes and your California and Arizona Outdoors.

When you think of the deadliest animal in the world, what pops into your mind? Crocodiles, hippos, one of the big cats…great guesses, but all of them are wrong. It’s actually…the mosquito. This fingernail-sized pest can carry Zika virus, Yellow fever, West Nile virus, and worst of all, Malaria. Much of the reported incidents of that is in very hot, humid regions on other continents. But we do get mosquitoes in the hot, dry desert climates of Arizona and California. So how can you enjoy your beautiful natural sod lawn without getting bitten? Here are a few ways.

  1. Citronella candles

These citrus/floral smelling candles are not only great for decoration, they can help keep mosquitoes away. These are most effective in an environment where the air is still – a covered patio is the perfect location. Always remember to extinguish them!

  1. Get rid of any standing water

Mosquitoes love standing water. In fact, it’s where they reproduce. Make sure to empty out anything that catches water – wheelbarrows, outdoor water toys, as well as gutters and drain lines. 

  1. Keep your yard under control

This is an important one! Especially in warmer areas, mosquitoes prefer cooler areas in the shade. Use a lawnmower or a string trimmer to cut back brush, tree limbs, and high grass. Making sure any tall grass is trimmed and not creating shadows will make your grass lawn much less appealing to mosquitoes. This is not only good for keeping unwanted pests away, but is also good for your natural sod lawn in general. 

West Coast Turf is the leader for California and Arizona products. Please contact us to learn more about what we can do for you and your property. 

Visit us online at: https://www.westcoastturf.com

Share
Comments Off on Mosquitoes and your California and Arizona Outdoors.
03
Nov

You’ve Overseeded Your Warm Season Lawn. Now What?

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.

Arizona Lawn Care

Read the rest of this entry »

Share
Comments Off on You’ve Overseeded Your Warm Season Lawn. Now What?
16
Aug

Hot Weather Lawn Care for your California & Arizona Sod

There’s nothing quite like the cool, lush feel of green grass under your feet. As summer wears on, sometimes that green grass turns to a crunchy brown when not maintained properly. You can keep your beautiful green natural grass thriving even in hot climates if you follow these simple tips.

Mowing is an important part of maintaining your natural turf in desert climates of Southern California and Arizona. It’s best to mow either in the early morning or in the evening to avoid the peak of daytime heat. Set your mower at 3 inches or on the highest setting. When blades are taller, grass is much better able to handle the daytime heat. To this end, mow only a third of the lawn’s total height. Make sure your mower blades are sharp!

In addition to this, if you’re watering your sod correctly, you shouldn’t see any signs of heat stress in your lawn. Although it seems intuitive to water at night, this actually creates an unhealthy situation for your grass with water staying on the blades all night. Instead, water right before sunrise to reduce evaporation. 

How can you tell if your natural sod is becoming dry? Look for curled leaf blades. Another sign is change in color. Anyone can tell by their brown grass that it is dry, but even if it becomes a lighter shade of green, it’s time to make sure it’s being properly watered. Most lawns need 1” of water in cooler temps, so for hot weather, it’s suggested that the grass may need 2” of water a week, making sure you water deeply twice a week so the moisture can penetrate into the roots.

West Coast Turf is the leading expert on Arizona sod and California sod and can help you with any questions you may have about installing and maintaining your natural turf lawn.

Visit us at https://www.westcoastturf.com

Share
Comments Off on Hot Weather Lawn Care for your California & Arizona Sod
19
Jul

Best Surfaces for Dogs in the California and Arizona Climates

If you’re a dog-lover (and who isn’t?) and want to make sure your four-legged friends are as comfortable as they can be in the hot desert temperatures in Arizona and California, read on for more info. We know, we know – it’s a dry heat! But that heat can wreak havoc on your furry pal’s paws. Many vets have treated dogs for severe burns to their paws in the summertime. They have a test for people to try before letting their dog walk on a surface: place the back of your hand on the surface before letting your dog onto it. If you struggle to keep your hand there comfortably, that surface is too hot for a dog to walk on. This doesn’t mean you can’t walk your dog in the hot summer months, but you need to be mindful about the surfaces around you. Studies have shown that certain surfaces retain heat far better than others. Of all the surfaces tested, artificial grass was consistently the hottest. Artificial turf, along with asphalt and the synthetic rubber material used to make running tracks, can easily measure up to 122º on a hot day. 

What was the coolest surface for pooch’s precious paws? Natural grass. Plants and grass transpire by releasing oxygen and evaporating water, which allows them to stay cool in warm temperatures. Not only does natural turf feel amazing, lush, and somewhat cool in hot temps to your own bare feet, your dog’s paws will thank you as well. It’s important to remember that brown grass is drier and will feel hotter. This is where maintenance of your natural grass comes into play. At West Coast Turf, we are experts on Arizona and California sod and can answer any questions you have about natural turfgrass, sod installation, or anything else grass related!

Visit us at: https://www.westcoastturf.com

Share
Comments Off on Best Surfaces for Dogs in the California and Arizona Climates
16
Feb

Annual Weed Control and Your Lawn

With the recent rise in temperatures and a little moisture you have likely seen some weeds pop up even if you had put down a pre-emergent in the fall. We have hit the end of the window where the fall application will control the weeds. It is now time to control the weeds that have snuck through your barrier and to put down a control for the summer annuals.

Let us start with controlling the weeds that have made their way through your turf. There are a couple different types of weeds to treat. Before we can give you chemicals to spray its important to recognize the type of grass you’re treating. I will put the recommendations down for a dormant turf lawn and one that has been overseeded with perennial ryegrass for the winter. If you did not overseed in the fall you will follow the dormant turf guidelines. My recommendations will be for bermudagrass so if you have paspalum or St. Augustine make sure you read the herbicide label prior to applying and follow the correct rate. These are usually different than bermudagrass.

Dormant Turf

If you let your Arizona and California lawn go dormant for the winter, it is starting to see a little life now with the warmer temperatures. You will not see any growth until the soil temperature reached 64 degrees which is usually in April, but your lawn will green up in color in March.

First step will be to clean up your lawn by mowing any debris and dead material off the top. This is not scalping the lawn, just get a good clean up. Next step will be to treat any broadleaves or grassy weeds that may have popped through your turf. For broadleaves you can apply 2,4-D and grassy weeds such as poa annua or volunteer ryegrass can typically be hand pulled, dabbed (not sprayed, think bingo dabber) with tiny amount of roundup or a product such as Revolver or Kerb. Because of its very shallow root system you should not have to use any products to kill it. It pulls out of the ground very easily and is usually caused by low areas and too much water.

Poa annua

Read the rest of this entry »

Share
Comments Off on Annual Weed Control and Your Lawn
10
Feb

Pre-Emergent Weed Control/Watering/Fertilizer

We are spending lots of time outside, and I know you all want to have your California and Arizona lawn looking its best!  I’d like to talk about a few weeds that may be starting to appear in your lawn that are perennial problems. Let’s discuss getting down a pre-emergent herbicide on your lawn before all the spring and summer annuals start to show their faces. Weather obviously plays a key role in everything we do concerning turfgrass so it is important to get the timing right.

This has been a mild winter with little rain causing the ground temperature to stay slightly warmer than normal so we will have some early season weed issues. If you are in a cooler part of town and are still getting hit with the occasional frosts I would hold off until the first part of March. These cool areas can get the pre-emergent down as late as the middle of March, while areas such as Phoenix and Palm Desert should be putting one down between now and the end of the month.

Since most homeowners have an overseeded lawn for the winter I want to make it clear that there are two options on a herbicide bag. One is overseeded rates and the other is non-overseeded rates. If you would like to keep your ryegrass make sure that you follow the overseeded rate or it could take a turn for the worse rather quickly. Read the rest of this entry »

Share
Comments Off on Pre-Emergent Weed Control/Watering/Fertilizer