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 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 »

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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

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06
Nov

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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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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