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16
Apr

Tips For Mowing Your California and Arizona Sod

Maintaining a lush, green lawn in the arid climates of Southern California and Arizona can be quite a challenge. It’s totally achievable though, with the right approach. Mowing plays a pivotal role in keeping your lawn healthy and attractive. Here are some tips on the best way to keep your lawn beautiful when mowing:

1. Choose the Right Mower: It is crucial to select the appropriate mower to achieve optimal results. For Southern California and Arizona, where lawns often consist of warm-season grasses like bermudagrass, Zoysia grass, or St. Augustine grass, consider using a rotary mower. These mowers are well-suited for cutting thicker grass types commonly found in warmer climates.

2. Adjust Mowing Height: Maintaining the correct mowing height is vital for the health of your lawn. In hot and dry climates, it’s recommended to keep your grass slightly taller to provide shade to the soil and retain moisture. Adjust your mower’s cutting height to leave the grass blades around 2 to 3 inches tall. Taller grass also helps to inhibit weed growth by shading the soil.

3. Follow the One-Third Rule: Adhere to the one-third rule that states

you should never remove more than one-third of the grass blade’s height in a single mowing session. Cutting more than this can stress the grass and make it more susceptible to drought and diseases. Aim to mow your lawn regularly to maintain a consistent height.

4. Mow When the Grass is Dry: Mowing wet grass can lead to an uneven cut and cause clumping, which can smother the grass beneath. Additionally, wet grass is more prone to tearing, resulting in an unhealthy appearance. Therefore, it’s best to mow your lawn when the grass is dry, preferably in the morning or late afternoon when temperatures are cooler.

5. Sharpen Mower Blades Regularly: Sharp mower blades ensure clean cuts, promoting healthier grass growth. Dull blades tear the grass instead of cutting it cleanly, leaving ragged edges that are more susceptible to disease. Check your mower blades regularly and sharpen or replace them as needed to maintain optimal cutting performance.

Alternate Mowing Patterns: Changing your mowing pattern regularly helps prevent soil compaction and encourages upright grass growth. Consider mowing in different directions each time you mow to avoid creating ruts and uneven wear on your lawn.

6. Leave Grass Clippings on the Lawn: Grass clippings are a valuable source of nutrients for your lawn. Instead of bagging them, leave them on the lawn to decompose. This practice, known as grasscycling, returns essential nutrients like nitrogen back into the soil, promoting healthy grass growth. For more information, visit westcoastturf.com 

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25
Jan

A Guide to Repairing Patches and Bare Spots on Your California & Arizona Sod

Maintaining a lush and vibrant lawn in the California and Arizona desert areas can be challenging due to the arid climate and water restrictions. However, with the right knowledge and care, you can revive your lawn by addressing patches and bare spots effectively. Here are some practical steps to repair and rejuvenate your lawn. Southern California and Arizona are known for their hot and dry conditions, making lawncare a unique challenge. Patches and bare spots can result from various factors, including:

  • Drought Stress: Limited water availability can lead to dry and bare areas in your lawn.
  • High Temperatures: Intense heat can cause grass to wither and die, creating unsightly patches.
  • Poor Soil Quality: Many areas in these regions have sandy or clayey soil, which may lack essential nutrients.
  • Overuse of Fertilizers: Improper use of fertilizers can contribute to patchiness and bare spots.
  • Foot Traffic and Compaction: High foot traffic can compact the soil, restricting grass growth.

Repairing Patches and Bare Spots:

  1. Watering Strategy:

Water deeply and less frequently to encourage deep root growth.

Invest in a smart irrigation system to optimize water usage based on weather conditions.

  1. Choose Drought-Tolerant Grass Varieties:

Opt for grass types like Bermuda that thrive in arid climates.

  1. Soil Improvement:

Consider using a soil aerator to alleviate compaction issues.

  1. Appropriate Fertilization:

Use a slow-release, balanced fertilizer to provide essential nutrients without causing excessive growth. Follow recommended application rates to avoid fertilizer burn.

  1. Overseeding:

Overseed the existing lawn with drought-resistant grass seeds to fill in bare spots.

Ensure good seed-to-soil contact by raking the area lightly after seeding.

  1. Mowing Practices:

Set your mower blade to the recommended height for your grass type.

Avoid cutting more than one-third of the grass height at a time to prevent stress.

  1. Adequate Shade:

Plant shade trees strategically to provide relief from the scorching sun.

Use temporary shade structures for vulnerable areas.

  1. Pest and Disease Management:

Keep an eye out for pests and diseases, as weakened grass is more susceptible. Use eco-friendly pest control methods to minimize environmental impact.

Repairing patches and bare spots in your lawn in desert areas in Southern California and Arizona requires a holistic approach that considers the unique challenges posed by the arid climate. By implementing water-wise practices, choosing appropriate grass varieties, and addressing soil health, you can enjoy a resilient and green lawn year-round. Stay committed to regular maintenance, and your lawn will become a thriving oasis in the midst of the desert landscape. For more information, visit https://westcoastturf.com

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07
Sep

The Importance of Water in the Hotter Months When Laying your Arizona or California Sod

With the intense heat of the summer, it can be an intimidating task to lay sod. Often, the ideal time to lay sod is early to mid-fall, or in the spring. For many people though, summer is the perfect time to get it done. 

Summer can be a hard time for new sod, since it’s hot and the sod can be vulnerable to drought. But with the right strategy and lots of water, you can install warm or cool season sod any time of the year. Here’s how:

  1. Test your soil. Your soil’s health determines the overall health of your grass and testing to make sure it will thrive is the right way to a successful lawn. It helps to balance your soil’s pH so when you apply nutrients found in fertilizers, your grass is able to absorb those. When soil’s pH is off, nutrients can’t be absorbed as effectively and fertilizer you buy may be a waste of money. Taking a soil analysis and sending it to a laboratory is an affordable way to test. 
  2. Choose the right sod for your lawn. Does your lawn have a lot of shade? What grass colors, textures, and physical aspects do you want in your sod? These are questions to ask yourself when choosing. Of course, the climate you live in – in our case, dry desert – plays a huge part in the selection as well. Luckily, this part of the process can be made easy by consulting one of the experts at West Coast Turf. 
  3. Measure the planting area. This will help you determine how much sod you need to order and is crucial whether you’re laying sod in the summer, fall, or spring. There are many apps and tools to calculate how much surface area you’ll need to cover and how much sod is needed. 
  4. Kill and remove old grass. When you install new sod, it’s important that all currently existing grass and other vegetation be removed. 
  5. Prep soil and level. This step is especially important for laying sod in the summer months. Proper site preparation makes it easier for new grass roots to penetrate deeply and evenly—this allows your sod to establish quickly during the stressful heat of the summer. Although you will still need to water your lawn a lot during the summer, deep roots will make the lawn denser and drought resistant, allowing for more efficient use of water and nutrients. A dense lawn will outcompete weeds and resists insects and disease a little better as well.
  6. Lay the new sod. It should remain on the pallet a very short time during summer installations as this will cause the sod to dry out. If you notice the sod is heating up on the pallets, unstack them and spray them with water.
  7. Water and fertilize. It is crucial in the summer months to make sure you are watering your grass adequately!

Please let us know if you have any questions or want to talk about installing new sod! Visit https://westcoastturf.com for more info.

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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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