14
Oct

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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14
Aug

Late Summer Sod Tips for California and Arizona Lawns

Summer Sod Tips for California and Arizona Lawns

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

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

summer lawn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Till next time,

Jay

 

 

 

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07
Aug

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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28
May

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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08
Apr

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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18
Jul

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.

Jay

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11
Jun

Summer Care Tips for Your Bermudagrass Natural Turf

In the warmer months, your Arizona sod has needs above and beyond the rest of the year. Here are some tips to keeping it in the best shape possible. 

1. Mowing

Many people believe bermudagrass is one of the hardest to mow. This is a misconception, as the issue here is simply using the right mower. Ideally, bermudagrass should be clipped to a height of 1.5 inches. Many mowers don’t have the capability to mow this low without scalping the whole yard. Watch for areas where your bermudagrass is being scalped – this will appear as a half moon shaped cut in the grass. The best way to avoid this and to cut your bermudagrass with the right tools, is to use a reel mower. 

2. Watering

Keep an eye on whether your bermudagrass is thirsty! One way to tell, is if the blades bow down a little. Bermudagrass is among the most water-efficient of turf and generally only needs to be watered once a week, or twice at most. The correct watering depth is around six inches. This promotes deeper root growth. If you want to test your level of watering, take a screwdriver and push it into the soil. If you can push it down without much difficulty, then the watering you’ve done is enough. If not, then water again to make sure your bermudagrass has been saturated. 

3. Aerating

This is something that needs to be done once a year, and early summer is the perfect time, as this is when the grass grows fastest. In order to aerate your lawn, you will take an aerator, which pokes thousands of holes down into the soil. This process allows water, oxygen, and other nutrients to reach down to the roots. Many people prefer to rent a core aerator to complete this process.

4. Monitoring yard activities

Backyard BBQs are a must in the summer. The problem is keeping the party from ruining your grass. Make sure you are monitoring the placement of your bbq and not letting it kill the bermudagrass beneath it. Moving it from one area of the yard to another periodically does the trick. 

Be sure to read our care FAQ’s for more information.

At West Coast Turf, we are experts in Arizona sod and all Western sod. Please contact us for any of your needs, large or small. https://www.westcoastturf.com/

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18
Apr

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, 

Jay

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15
Mar

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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13
Dec

Cooler Turf for Hotter Climates

In hot desert climates, many people look for ways to find water-saving methods with their lawns and sporting fields. One seemingly wise remedy that is by using artificial turf. On its face, this seems like a good solution. However, there are several major reasons why natural turf is still king. 

Chief among these reasons is the temperatures artificial turf can reach in hot weather. In warmer months, artificial turf can reach 200º – no, that’s not a typo. That temperature is so much higher than the 122º that’s considered safe for use by professional athletes, much less your family and pets. This temperature of turf is such that you couldn’t put your bare feet or hands on it for longer than a few seconds before it would burn you. This means that during summer months, artificial turf simply is not suitable for play during daytime hours. So one might ask, are its water-saving benefits worth the cost of installation if it is unusable during the daytime for several months out of the year. One way to cool down the artificial turf, users say, is to hose it down and it is suggested to do so every thirty minutes in order for it to stay cool enough to safely play on. However, this practice when used on turf installed specifically to conserve water, defeats its own purpose (while creating humidity in the attempt to cool the artificial turf down).

In addition, using artificial turf has other consequences, some unintended. One is a phenomenon called the urban heat island effect. This means that the artificial turf, similar to concrete and asphalt, actually radiates heat back into the night air, causing warmer nights for the areas that have it and causing nearby plants and grass to need extra water.

At West Coast Turf, we are experts in natural grass, specifically Arizona sod (and you Arizonans know better than anyone how hot the summer months can be!) and have provided the natural turf for many professional fields, including MLB, NFL, professional training fields, college football and baseball fields, racetracks, Major League Soccer, and more. Contact us to find out more about why we’re the best in our field and what we can do for you!

https://www.westcoastturf.com/

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