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

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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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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 »

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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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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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23
Jul

Score a Home Run! Go Natural with West Coast Turf

When it comes to baseball, natural turf is a home run! While astroturf was used on a few Major League Baseball fields in the past,  a myriad of problems arose that helped owners to go back to natural turf. Many players incurred injuries caused by the abrasive and unforgiving astroturf from days past. Currently, West Coast Turf provides the natural turfgrass for several MLB ballparks in California. Those parks include: Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Oracle Park (formerly AT&T Park) in San Francisco, Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, and RingCentral Coliseum, in Oakland.

For Angel Stadium, we use Tifway 419 bermudagrass and is the only ballpark in the MLB to sit atop its natural soil (rather than sand) since there is virtually no threat of a rainout. At the legendary Dodger Stadium, they use our homegrown bermudagrass hybrid, which is overseeded with rye. The rye is better able to tolerate the cool temperatures early in the season and by summertime as temperatures heat up, the heat-tolerant bermudagrass supersedes the rye.

A lot goes into the research and decisions for which type of sod is used on which ballpark. Much of that is environmental factors, but each park has its own unique needs. West Coast Turf has the native knowledge of turf – from Arizona sod, bermudagrass, ryegrass, to Kentucky bluegrass – to best and most effectively provide the turf needed to any ballpark. In addition to major league baseball and their Arizona spring training facilities, we also provide the turf for NFL fields, professional training facilities, college baseball and football, racetracks, Major League Soccer, colleges, high schools, amusement parks, golf courses…and too many others to name. Head to our website to check out our list of clients and our unique qualifications to help with your sod!

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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30
Oct

NFL Turf

In the NFL, the football fields players practice and play on have either natural grass or artificial turf. More than half of the fields boast natural grass, but there has long been a debate over which surface is better. Many aspects factor into this: injuries, cost, and personal preference. 

On artificial turf, studies have shown that injuries are more prevalent than on natural grass. A 2012 study showed that more college football players suffered ACL injuries on turf than on grass. John Brenkus, creator of Sport Science videos, said that turf increases stress on the ACL joint by about 45% and talked about a study covering over 2,600 NFL games, saying players were 67% more likely to sprain their ACL on turf than on grass. As we all know, an ACL injury can mean the end of a player’s season.

Turf typically comes with a hefty price tag. Many explore the benefits of natural grass and its cost to maintain/replace worn areas throughout the year. Preserving the natural grass playing surface would results in cost saving. Many coaches and training staff prefer natural grass, whenever possible. Said Casey Carrick, the director of athletic grounds and turf management at the University of North Carolina, “Natural grass was the preferred surface by players, coaches, us, and trainers and it was the cheaper option. By the end of the season, we had only used half of the amount of sod we had budgeted for, a significant savings versus going synthetic.”

West Coast Turf are specialists in natural grass, particularly Arizona sod. With such clients as the former Candlestick Park, San Francisco, CA-Old Home of the San Francisco 49ers, Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA-NEW Home of the San Francisco 49ers, and Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, CA-Home of the Oakland Raiders, the los Angeles Coliseum—current home of the LA Rams, and STUBHUB Center—current home to the Los Angeles Chargers, as well as 8 Super Bowl fields. We are the experts in natural grass fields for all of our sports clients, from college football to the NFL. 

Visit us online to learn more: https://www.westcoastturf.com/

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28
Sep

Winter Overseeding Your California and Arizona Sod Lawn

We often see overseeding your warm season California or Arizona sod lawn as a process that should be done in a weekend. For some this may be the most convenient way to prep but for others its okay to take a week or two to complete the process. Trying to knock it all out in one weekend can result in some really long days out in the heat. My suggestion is to slowly start the process now so in a couple weeks when the overseed window opens you’re ready to go and won’t be wasting your entire Saturday on the lawn. Remember that the ideal window is when nighttime temperatures are in the 60’s. We’re currently sitting in the high 70’s so I would expect a couple more weeks. To follow overseed instructions scroll to bottom of this blog.

Prepping for overseed is often a large ordeal, but starting the process gradually can eliminate a lot of headaches. I want to reiterate something I have said 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, but opening up the turf canopy does. The shorter you mow your lawn the tighter the leaf blades become making 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, and getting inside the grass plant allows for perfect moisture, heat, and a solid growing medium. This is why it’s so important to have a good warm season grass base. If you have a new lawn or a weak summer lawn it can have a direct impact on your overseed. The seed will establish much faster inside a healthy grass stand than it will on bare dirt.

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