It’s November and if we had any leaves on the trees in the desert floor I imagine they would be changing color now that we are finally starting to experience a little bit of the fall season. Most people have either overseeded for the season or decided to let their lawn go dormant for the winter, but if you still wanted to overseed there is still plenty of time. You will not have any issues getting your seed to come up through most of November albeit a little slower than October it will still come up very well and be a nice thick lawn for the winter. I was going to just touch on some of the common questions that I have received so far this season relating to both overseeded and non overseeded turf.

Q. I seeded my lawn a couple weeks ago, how long do I continue with my 3x a day watering schedule?

A. Once your grass reaches 1 inch in height and it is filling in evenly all over you can cut the watering back to once in the morning and once in early afternoon until you have a full stand of grass. You should be watering 5-10 minutes per cycle, but making sure that your lawn does not flood and you are keeping the grass moist. During the third week cut your watering to one time per day for 10-12 minutes and then after a month and it is fully established you can start to develop the root system by watering deep and infrequent. During the winter months you can get away with watering 20-25 minutes every 3-5 days.

Q. When is it okay to make my first cut on the newly seeded turf?

A. Once the grass is fully established around the 10-14 day mark it is a good time to go ahead and dry down the lawn during the day and get a clean cut on the lawn. There will be so much moisture in the grass from watering in the seed that it will cause the turf to clump up if you mow it wet and there is also a big potential to cause damage to the ground by rutting it up so make sure to dry it down.

Q. When is the next time I fertilize the ryegrass after the starter fertilizer?

A. After you make you first cut it is a great time to get the second application of fertilizer down and give the lawn an extra push. I like to use the Soil Burst 7-7-7 at this stage as it hardens up the leaves canopy and replenishes the turf with all the nutrients lost during the grow in.

Q. I want to sod my lawn in the winter, is it okay?

A. This is such a good time to put sod down because the soil temperatures are still high and the grass is all overseeded for the winter months. In the spring as the temperatures begin to climb make sure to gradually lower your lowing heights to allow the bermudagrass to grow through the ryegrass. Sod can be planted year round with great success as long as the soil is prepared correctly. Check out my old archives on Soil prep for more information.

Q. How much water should I be applying to my non overseeded turf during the fall and winter?

A. If you are not overseeding this fall it is a great time to really conserve water. If you have paspalum I suggest watering a couple times a week to hold the color as long as you can and if you have bermudagrass you can cut the watering back to one time per week for 20-30 minutes depending on your soil texture. During the winter months it is only important to keep moisture in the soil so there is no winter damage to the root system so watering once every 21-28 days for 60 minutes is sufficient. If we get timely rains you may be able to get away with not watering at all during the winter months and picking it back up as the temperatures warm up in March.

Q. There are weeds coming up in my ryegrass, can I treat them?

A. Weeds get into seed very easily and that is why it is so important to buy a weed free seed to begin with. Remember that just because the price tag looks initially cheaper it will probably end up costing you double in the long run. Since the ryegrass is so new it is too early to put down a post emergent herbicide so you would have to wait till the grass is fully established with a good root system and it has been mowed a few times.`

Q. What fertilizer should I use on my dormant turf heading into the winter?

A. You want to put down a balanced fertilizer at this time of the year and get some potassium into the turf to maintain its strength. I suggest putting down the Soil Burst 5-15-10 @ 20 pounds per 1000 SF on bermudagrass and 10 pounds per 1000 SF on paspalum. This is also a dark pelletized granule that will keep the heat in the plant and keep the tissue green for longer.

Q. Are there any other secrets to keeping the grass in longer into the fall on my dormant turf?

A. A dark pelletized granule is important and so is your mowing height. The longer the turf is, the easier it is for frost to attack the leaf canopy. You don’t want to scalp down your turf because it will not recover at this time of the year but by utilizing foliar feeding and gradually lowering your mowing heights you can get it down to a lower height before applying the 5-15-10 later in the month.

Q. What fertilizers are recommended during the winter months?

A. As soon as we receive some frost and the soil temperature drops the granular fertilizers become very inefficient. During the time frame of December to March it is best to use the Soil Burst foliar spray products can they can easily be taken up by the grass plant. I suggest alternating the three products every 21-28 days to maintain a deep dark green color. You will quickly notice yellow lawns once we get a freeze and that is because of lack of nutrients.

Q. My lawn looks beautiful now but often turns yellow in December. What am I doing wrong?

A. Your lawn is just reacting to the nutrients that are present for uptake so as I said before you need to utilize foliar sprays during the winter months. The other important thing to do is to really get your lawn growing before we get that first frost. In my past blogs I laid out a 3 step process and alternated the three foliar fertilizers all before the first frost arrives and it is important to follow these steps to keep your lawn from ever heading downhill.

Q. I have dog urine spots all over my yard, is there anything I can do?

A. This is a much easier fix during the winter months versus the summer and the best way is to get some extra BOBSeed and make a sand/seed mix just like you would see made at a golf course. Simply dig out the damaged turf and fill the area with sand and seed and it will come up during your normal watering.

Since you are a month into the overseed season it is also a good time to check your irrigation clock, sprinklers, and valves to make sure that everything is running properly. It is very easy to get small rocks stuck in the valves causing tiny leaks in the valve box, or broken sprinkler nozzles from the lawn mower hitting the shorter grass. Turn on each station for a couple minutes and check to make sure you are getting even coverage, good sprinkler output, and that you don’t have too much over spray in non lawn areas.

If you have a couple broken nozzles they are easy enough to change out and if the valve has a rock or two stuck in it you will have to take the set screws out of the top of the valve and change out the diaphragm inside. This is an easy fix and usually they need to be changed out once a year because rocks get inside and don’t allow the valves to close completely which results in small leaks.

If you have any additional questions or have something strange going on in your yard that you’re not sure about please email me pictures to and I will answer them as soon as I can.

Until next time,