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
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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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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21
Jun

Arizona Sod Summer Watering Tips

You don’t need to check the forecast every day to know that for the next few months…it’s hot. These high temperatures can be the death of your Arizona sod – literally. The high temperatures and extreme heat can dry out your sod and kill your grass if it isn’t watered properly. On the other end of that spectrum, overwatering kills even more lawns than any other cause! Don’t lose hope – you can keep your Arizona sod alive and thriving if you follow our summer watering tips.
-Water areas that are shaded about 30% less than areas in direct sunlight. This will keep you from overwatering – which can lead to fungus!
-Don’t water your sod lawn in the middle of the day! Waiting until nighttime or early morning, when the water won’t evaporate in the sunlight and the wind won’t affect the water’s ability to soak into the sod. This helps the water to get down further, nurturing the roots. Between the times of 4 am and 8 am are perfect to water!
-Think of rain as nature’s watering system and give the grass a day off! We know, it doesn’t rain much in the summer. But on the occasion that it does, you don’t need to water your sod lawn further.
-Water slowly and evenly. This makes sure all the grass is getting the water it needs and no more or less. One method of ensuring this is to divide the lawn into sections and do one at a time.
-Decrease watering frequency. Even on the hottest days of summer, most lawns don’t need to be watered daily.
Here are some signs to look for to tell if you are underwatering.
1. The grass doesn’t spring back up after you step on it.
2. The lawn still feels warm even after the sun has gone down
3. You aren’t able to easily push a screwdriver down into the soil
On the reverse side of that, some signs of overwatering:
1. Presence of mushrooms or algae
2. The grass emits a musty odor
3. Puddles of water are present in any areas
4. Soft soil when you walk on it
We are experts in Arizona sod lawns and can answer any questions you may have about maintaining yours!
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24
Apr

Arizona & California Sod – Managing Pet Urine

Pets are as much a part of our families as our kids and keeping them happy is important.

Do you know what makes for a happy dog? One of the best ways is by putting in a new lawn. Did you know that putting in grass has been shown to reduce ground temperatures by as much as 30 degrees? We continually see a trend for people to use rocks in their yards because they don’t like the perceived maintenance of a yard but in this day and age it is important to think about the environment.

Sod cleans the air and helps recharge our groundwater supplies. Turfgrass is one of nature’s finest and least expensive filters, and works to improve the environment. The front lawn of just 8 homes has the cooling effect of 70 tons of air conditioning. Just think how happy you and your pets would be to walk around during the summer months if everyone had grass in their yard.

Stewy the dog

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19
Apr

Arizona Sod Mower Maintenance

While technically the calendar says spring, it feels like summer here in the valley of the sun. As we go through the transition period in California and Arizona from ryegrass back to bermudagrass or paspalum I want to touch a little bit on getting your mower ready for the season. It’s always a good idea to start each season off with a clean, sharp, and ready to use mower. There is nothing worse than going out to cut your lawn and pulling on the lawn mower cord a dozen times only to find the mower won’t turn over. There are some simple things you can do to keep it running well and last for several years.

Before I go into maintenance of your mower I will touch on the two different types of mowers on the market. You can choose between a rotary mower and a reel mower. The reel mowers I will refer to will be self-propelled mowers instead of push reel mowers. The reason I’m skipping on the push reel mowers is because it’s tough to push through thick bermudagrass during the summer months. While it can definitely be done, its just not my favorite thing to do on a 115-degree Arizona day.

There are several brands of reel mowers on the market so deciding which one to buy is going through the various options and deciding what is most important to you. Some of these choices include desired height of cut, number of reels on the mower (the mower reels, the tighter you can mow), weight of the mower, cutting width, and deciding if you will be collecting clippings or letting them lay on the ground. Most of the new reel mowers have a front bucket attachment but there are still a few on the market that drop clippings out the back of the mower.

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02
Apr

Arizona Sod Care

As residents know, spring in Arizona feels like summer most other places. We aren’t well into April yet and already temperatures are well into the 90s. This makes spring a perfect time to transition your sod from winter rye grass to summer bermudagrass. As the experts in Arizona sod, we are asked about this often and have gathered a list of tips for transitioning your lawn.
1. Timing
Typically, the best time to make this transition is late April/early May, but it all depends on the temperature. On a consistent basis, when daytime temperatures are 95-100 and nighttime temperatures are above 65, you will know this is the optimal time. At this point, the winter rye starts to wilt and bermudagrass tries to grow.
2. Mowing
You can aid the bermudagrass’s growth by simply lowering the blades on your mower and giving the grass room to flourish. Be sure to collect all clippings when you mow, as these can impede the growth of the grass if left to create a layer atop it.
3. Watering
You’ll want to slightly reduce your normal water usage on your sod (by about 25%). Be mindful not to overwater – even if you see brown spots as temperatures get hotter. This is common during the transition process.
4. Aerifying
In order to allow oxygen, water, and other nutrients to reach the lawn’s roots, aerating the sod is necessary with a bermudagrass lawn. For this, we recommend a core aerator, which is a machine that contains hollow spoons that pull up soil plugs when the machine is moving around the yard.
5. Fertilizing

Be careful not to put your fertilizer out at full rate yet, as that will allow the rye grass to grow. You want to use your complete fertilizer at half rate until about June when the bermudagrass is at the height of its growth.

When you are ready to transition your Arizona lawn from winter to summer grass, West Coast Turf can help you! We are the leading experts in Arizona sod and can answer any of your questions. Call us at (888) 893-TURF or visit us at www.westcoastturf.com.

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