If you are new to the southwest and have some questions regarding your lawn then you are in the right place. I try and give my readers weekly updates and a little bit of turf knowledge that can help them make an informed decision about which product to buy or how to grow your lawn properly. Believe it or not we are in the best time of the year to put sod down because you are giving your grass optimal weather and well over 100 growing days to get your lawn established.

Your summer lawn needs at least 100 days to fully establish itself during the year and the earlier you get it in for the summer the better off you will be. If you have an overseeded lawn that rule is also extremely important because that means your lawn needs to be free of ryegrass at least 100 days before you plan on overseeding next fall. Our warm season grasses rarely get enough time to grow properly and establish themselves before we scalp it down and overseed winter ryegrass in them. Use this opportunity early in the year to get your lawn going, transitioned early and ready for a full growing season.

Today I want to just hit on some of the bullet points of individual grasses and I made a short video of our farm turf plots so you can see the various colors and leafs textures of the warm season grasses. If you want to skip the bullet points and go right to the video click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ff5W93G2QYY.

Before I get into the grass types and the video let me give a couple quick weekly updates for your lawn.

1) Make sure you are mowing 1-2x per week at a maximum height of 1 inch. Gradually lower your mowing heights to help remove the ryegrass.
2) If you have an extremely thick ryegrass canopy rent a Ren-o- thin and lightly verticut the turf canopy to remove ryegrass competition.
3) If you have not fertilized yet for the season use the Soil Burst starter fertilizer 5-15-10 at a rate of 18 pounds per 1000 SF for bermudagrass and 9 pounds per 1000 SF for paspalum
4) If you are transitioning nicely and would like to give your lawn a boost use the Soil Burst 16-0-4 foliar or Soil Burst 7-7-7 at 1.5 quarts per 1000 SF.

If you would like to hear more about these products I have attached a short video and the link to the website for pricing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2kcJM79wPs or click here for website: http://www.westernsod.com/soilburst.php or click here if you would like to see a list of pickup locations in your area: http://www.westernsod.com/where.html

I wanted to share some pictures with you of a homeowner named Larry who has paspalum in his yard and started using the Soil Burst this spring. Check out the before and after pictures of his yard. He has done an excellent job experimenting with different products and ideas to help work on dog damage and winter kill and I think he figured it out.

Hi Jay,
As you know, I had already begun to transition my lawn (having not overseeded) when you dropped off my Soil Burst package on 3-23-2011. I thought you might be interested in my progress so far.

3-16-2011 before applying the 5-15-10 granules on 3-24-2011 (2 bottles per 900 sq. ft. – lawn is 21 by 42):


One month later on 04-22-2011:

I applied the 16-0-4 (1 bottle) on 4-24-2011 and this is how things look today – just mowed and watered this morning (5-4-2011):


The area where there was considerable pet urine damage (upper left-hand corner) and the bare spot next to the tree well have almost completely filled in.

I would certainly recommend paspalum to anyone planning to put down sod and, by all means, purchasing the Soil Burst package. And most of all, don’t hesitate to Ask Jay. My yard would not be what it is today without your help – thanks!!!

Enjoyed your Zane Grey report. Bet you’re probably already planning next year’s run and how to go without a “nap” and come in under 12 hours.


5) Is your lawn compacted and water never infiltrates the soil, then it is time to aerify.
6) You should be watering about 1 inch per week and this should be broken up into 2-3 cycles per week. If we continue to have very windy, dry conditions then you may need to increase your watering one extra time per week.
7) For extra shoot growth and for quick color use a application of 21-0-0 ammonium sulfate at 5 pounds per 1000 SF. Don’t get carried away with these applications as it is not a balanced fertilizer and you will build up a thatch layer quick if used repeatedly. DO NOT USE ON A PASPALUM LAWN.

Now if you are about to put a lawn in and you have some questions regarding the soil prep here is a good guide for you to follow: http://www.westernsod.com/sodblog/726

Here are some quick bullet points and a short video on some of the warm season grass varieties on the market. There has recently been news that a new bermudagrass will be able to handle the shade but please read the fine print where it says it still requires 5-6 hours of full sunlight per day. The only real option for the shade is the St Augustine but keep in mind this is not a grass that likes to be overseeded for the winter. All living plants need sunlight and bermudagrass definitely needs sunlight to survive so be careful about claims.

Paspalums (Platinum/Sea Spray/Sea Isle 1)

• Darkest color of any of the warm season turfgrasses
• Can be mowed between 1/10th of an inch and 2 inches with a rotary or reel mower
• Highest salt tolerance of any warm season grass which means it can tolerate high sodium water sources such as effluent water
• Shortest dormancy period of any of the warm season grasses (often as little as 2-3 months)
• Full sun between 9am and 3 pm
• Uses 2/3rds the nitrogen as bermudagrass (stick with the Soil Burst products for low nitrogen, high calcium applications)


• Most popular homeowner/landscape variety on the market
• Deep blue/green color
• Maintain between ¼” inch and 1 inch with a rotary or reel mower
• Uses very little nitrogen, has virtually no seed heads, and is a slow growing turf which means less mowing
• Top rated bermudagrass in shade studies by Mississippi State but prefers full sun between 9 am and 3pm. Can tolerate 1-2 hours of shade during this time period.
• Grass is very soft with a carpet like feel


• Perfect grass for low maintenance lawn
• Open turf canopy which makes it ideal choice for rotary lawn mower
• Coarser leaf blade than BOBSod or Tifway
• Medium green color and fast growing turf

Tifway II

• Medium leaf texture
• Shortest dormancy period of any of the bermudagrasses
• Maintain between 3/8” and 1” with a sharp rotary or reel
• Very dense growth habit with dark green color

Tifway 419/Tifgreen 328

• Very dense turfgrasses with medium fine leaf texture. Tifgreen 328 has shorter internodes which allows it to be maintained lower.
• Aggressive growth habit and requires full sun
• Best maintained with a reel mower but Tifway 419 can be mowed with a sharp rotary
• Excellent sports turf with a soft surface

St Augustine

• Coarse bladed, plush growing turfgrass that does well in the shade or ideally full sun.
• Can be maintained with a rotary or a reel
• Dark green color in the summer months but should be left dormant for the winter months

I could go on and on about all the different types of grass but I want to keep the selection process easy for you and only touch on the points that are relevant to most lawn purchases. If you are new to the area and are interested in learning more about your lawn make sure you have put your email in to receive the blog and check out the past archives. I am always willing to answer any questions you have or feel free to send me pictures of your lawn.

Nanny Goat 12 Hour Run

I have been getting anxious to get back out and run a race ever since Zane Grey so I decided I will be heading over to Riverside, CA on the 28th to run the 12 hour Nanny Goat race. This does not present some of the obstacles such as elevation, steep descents, rocky trails, or Manzanita bushes that I am used to, but this is a 1 mile circular track that I will run for 12 hours straight. I am not sure I am ready for this mentally because I love the technical trail races but it is good practice to be on my feet before my 100 mile race in August in South Dakota. I am setting a goal of 72 miles for the 12 hours which is pretty bullish and would be a course record but my hope is to run the first 50 miles in 8 hours and the last 22 in 4 hours. We will see how things go as the mind and body always manage to play tricks on me. I am hoping that I don’t have to lie down and take a nap during the race, but I am sure I will manage to do something to cost me miles and minutes.