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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18
Sep

California and Arizona Sod Tips: It’s ALMOST Time to Overseed Your Lawn!

With the recent heavy rains and slightly cooler temperatures no doubt people are thinking about overseeding their California and Arizona lawns. While the calendar says September 18th and you will surely see people overseeding, I suggest you wait a few weeks. Follow my California and Arizona sod tips for a beautiful lawn. Overseeding does not need to be a one day process. You can begin the process a little early. Then, when temperatures are in the 60’s at night, you will just need to give your lawn one last haircut, drop the seed and begin watering.

Preparing to Overseed

Prepping for overseed is often a large ordeal. By starting the process gradually you can eliminate the headaches associated with trying to do it all in one afternoon. I want to reiterate something I have been saying for the past few years. The height of the grass is not associated with a quality overseed. In other words scalping the grass down to the dirt does not guarantee good results. Opening up the turf canopy does.

The shorter you mow your lawn the tighter the leaf blades become. This makes it harder to get the ryegrass seed into the plant. If the seed is lying on the surface it will be slow to germinate and much of the seed will be lost. The seed needs a base to grow out of. Getting inside the grass plant allows for perfect moisture, heat, and a solid growing medium. By looking at my last statement you can now understand why I say without a good warm season grass base (used on popular California and Arizona lawns) you will most likely have a poor ryegrass season. The seed will establish much faster inside a healthy grass stand than it will on bare dirt.

Arizona Sod

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22
Aug

Preparing Your Lawn for Fall Transition

We’re halfway through August and the temperatures are still soaring well into the hundreds. As I sit here ordering my ryegrass seed for the farms I figured it was a good time to put out a short blog on preparing your lawn for the fall.

The hot/humid weather is ideal for warm season grasses, especially with sod in Arizona and California. If you had any weak areas in your lawn you saw one of two things happen over the last couple weeks. You either saw the weak areas begin to grow in size or you saw your problem areas fill in as the stolons moved across the open ground.

If your weak areas are getting larger you should take a close look at your irrigation system. Sometimes it appears sprinklers are getting great coverage but when you put out bowls to check for water volume you often find that area is being missed. One of the most common areas for this is right in front of your pop up sprinklers. That triangular spot right below the sprinkler is the hardest spot to cover on the whole lawn. The easiest way to fix this issue is to put in a dual spray nozzle. These cost around $3-$4 and can be installed in under a minute. Read the rest of this entry »

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25
Sep

Fall Overseeding and Your Lawn

The days are getting shorter and the heat is starting to die down a little as we enter the fall season. With fall comes the onset of overseeding in many parts of the country and the West Coast is no different. For those new to overseeding let me give you a brief definition. Overseeding is simply the process of seeding a cool season grass into your warm season turfgrass in order to maintain winter color. This is not a mandatory process if you have grass, but it is one of the options that are out there for homeowners and professionals.

There are a few options during the fall months to take care of your lawn, and without question the most popular is to overseed. Outside of overseeding you have the option of using turf colorant such as Endurant to give your dormant grass a nice green appearance.  Or you can just let your lawn go dormant for the winter months (brown can be the new green!). There is no right or wrong approach, so decide what you would like to do as the temperatures begin to drop over the coming weeks.

If you will be letting your lawn go dormant it will stay fairly green until the first hard frost which is around Thanksgiving and will start to green up in late March. If you have a paspalum lawn you can usually get through the month of December with a green lawn and it will start greening up in early March.

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14
May

Transition is in Full Swing

Let me save you the time from watching the weather forecast over the next 4 months and we can all just say it is going to be HOT! Yes we will see a few days under triple digits but the majority of them will be above 100 and the Bermudagrass and Paspalum are going to start taking over and pushing the winter Ryegrass out.

We are seeing soil temperatures that are favorable for warm season growth and with a little bit of time you can make this a painless transition process. If you opted not to overseed your lawn last year I am sure by now you’ve mowed the grass plenty of times and are starting to see it develop into a lush turf. The idea is to keep your lawn perfect and not get behind by forgetting to add fertilizer and a great choice with overseeded or non overseeded turf is the Soil Burst 5-15-10. The magnesium, calcium, and iron will jump start your lawn and get it the right nutrients to have a healthy start to the year. Below you will find instructions on making sure you have a good transition and your lawn stays healthy as the weather changes. Read the rest of this entry »

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16
Jun

Verticutting 101

I am pretty sure that I have utterly confused a lot of people about just how to verticut your lawn, and why I only suggest dethatching or power raking every few years. I put together a little video talking about the basics of verticutting and showing how and what machine to use for this process. Read the rest of this entry »

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14
Sep

Overseeding Your Lawn–PLUS “TIP OF THE WEEK” & College Football Week 2

As we inch closer to temperatures that are in the overseeding range, it’s important to be ready and prepared for the process.  I am going to draw out a step-by-step process for you today on how to overseed, and attach a short video on doing so.  I think everyone can have a successful lawn this winter, and next summer if you follow these instructions.  A thriving overseed can be accomplished when the nighttime temperatures are in the 60’s, high quality seed is used, and you don’t get too aggressive with the scalping of the lawn. Read the rest of this entry »

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