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05
Jul

Sod: Not Just for Your Lawn

We often talk about sod on a large scale, from athletic fields and golf courses to housing developments and private homes. But our sod has many more uses, as you’ll see.

Events

One place sod can be very useful is at events. You can lay down temporary sod for an outdoor area you’d like to soften up and give a more natural look. It looks great as decorative pieces, as well. We recently served a wedding where sod was used as a tabletop, as well as side accents.

Compost 

One popular and helpful way to use sod is by creating a sod composting pile. When you take out sod to create a hard path or walkway, you will have extra and wonder how to dispose of it. The answer is not to dispose of it at all, put it to use! While the sod is still fresh, find a corner of your yard and lay down a piece of sod grass. Stack face down pieces of sod on top of that, wetting each piece before adding another. Once your composting sod pile is as high as you’d like it to be (not to exceed 6 ft), cover the it  in thick black plastic. Weigh the edges down against the ground with stones or cinder blocks, making sure not to let any light to get in. Let your composting sod pile sit until the following spring and uncover it. Inside, you will find rich compost ready for use!

Gardening

Another great use for sod is creating the base for a garden or flower bed. Follow these steps to starting your new garden base! Pile the sod, grass down, in your new garden space until it reaches the desired height. Then cover it with 2–3 inches of topsoil. Finally, add 3–4 inches of mulch. This is a great way to use old sod to increase garden height for better drainage, or even build a tall, raised bed if desired. The sod slowly decomposes into rich soil which will eventually feed the plants in your garden.

Those are just a few small-scale uses of sod. Talk to us about your sod projects – large and small – and see what we can do for you! For more information, visit our website westcoastturf.com

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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

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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

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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 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 »

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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.

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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

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07
Jun

Arizona and California Summer Sod Tips

As summer approaches, people have more free time and the weather is conducive for spending lots of that free time outside. If your lawn needs care and you are laying and maintaining new sod, here are some simple tips to follow. 

Watering

Making sure you water your sod correctly is crucial to maintaining its health. You will need to water your grass often and will want to keep the soil damp for three to four inches below the surface. It is important to make sure your lawn is moist but not overwatered. Sod that is overwatered is susceptible to disease. You may need to water several times a day – in the morning, midday, and early afternoon – to make sure it doesn’t dry out. You won’t need to water as much in shady spots, as these areas are more prone to fungus.

Mowing

Make sure the blades on your mower are sharp. This is something a lot of people don’t think about, but dull blades can tear up grass rather than cutting it. This will not only degrade the appearance of the grass, but will also leave it susceptible to harmful conditions. As a rule, try to mow your grass about once every two weeks. You don’t want to mow the grass too short, as taller grass grows deeper roots which then allows it to survive in hot, dry conditions. 

Fertilizer

Look for fertilizers specifically designed for summer use. Certain fertilizers contain large amounts of nitrogen. This encourages fresh growth, which is normally helpful but is not in the hot summer months. The reason for this is that young grass isn’t as durable as older grass which causes it to work harder to stay healthy, putting stress on your lawn.

Remember that keeping sod healthy in the summer in desert weather can be a bit more challenging than other times of the year. West Coast Turf can help you determine the type of sod that suits your particular needs best.

Visit us online https://www.westcoastturf.com/ or contact us to find out how we can serve you.

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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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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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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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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