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April Lawn Transition Tips

For most parts of the country spring means a return to warmer temperatures and usually some good rain storms. For the desert southwest this typically means hot temperatures and the occasional rain event. We were lucky enough to get some late season El Niño storms this month which will have a nice impact on our warm season grasses.

The transition season has officially begun and over the next month you will start to see your underlying warm season grass start to push out the winter ryegrass. The hot temperatures will start to take their toll on the ryegrass and it will start to die out. It’s not uncommon to start to see dry patches emerge in your lawn that looked perfect the week prior.

As much as it may pain you to see sections of your beautiful lawn start to die back remember this is a good thing. Sections of your lawn will always dry out before others areas simply because of the soil texture, compaction, or sprinkler coverage. It’s important to rule out sprinkler issues and if it is merely a transition dry spot rest easy. For these spots I recommend taking a hard toothed rake and rake up the dead ryegrass that lies on the surface. This dead material is shading out the bermudagrass down below and preventing it from getting water and sunlight. Keeping your lawn mowed below ¾” during this time of the year and power raking or verticutting will also help remove dead material from shading your summer grass.


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Spring/Summer Transition and Your Lawn

We all know that transitioning from ryegrass back to a warm season grass is difficult (especially for California and Arizona sod), but throw in some cooler than normal weather and now you have a battle. Every year the producers of ryegrass seed seem to make their seed a little more heat resistant in search of that year round turf. The problem with this is that we’re shortening the growing window of our warm season turf. Not to mention that cool season grasses in the desert areas use much more water than the underlying warm season turf. The solution is to aide your lawn in transition, and to get your lawn free and clear of ryegrass in the next couple weeks.

Before I go into techniques to remove ryegrass I want to make a couple points about how the average lawn looks at this time of the year. We all love our winter lawn for its color, texture, and feel, but it’s important to remember that it puts agronomic stress on your lawn. When you have two different grasses competing for nutrients, water, and sunlight you’re bound to have an “ugly period.” The turf world refers to this as the transition period. This is the period of time when the cool season grass is starting to die off slowly and the warm season grass is trying to emerge. What creates the ugly period is the competition.

(BTW...this beautiful turfgrass is NOT going through and ugly stage!)

(BTW…this beautiful turfgrass is NOT going through an ugly stage!)

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Evaluating Your Summer Lawn

As we move through the dog days of summer in California and Arizona, now is a good time to evaluate your turfgrass lawn. The summer is the optimal time to grow warm season turfgrasses so it is important to get good growth before the end of the season. The golden rule is that all warm season grasses need to have 100 days of growing without any competition in order to maintain their health. That is 100 days without any lingering ryegrass in the way. Think back to when the ryegrass was completely out of your lawn? Was it June or did it hang around until July? If you didn’t transition it by mowing lower and verticutting then most likely you still had some ryegrass until the humidity increased and wiped it out in July. Read the rest of this entry »

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Suffering Through a Tough Lawn Transition?

It’s been one of those transition years that make us in the turf industry want to get back to the drawing board and find that magical year round grass. Will there ever be a grass like this? It is doubtful, but at least in the mean time there is paspalum!

If you are a bermudagrass grower or going through a tough transition this summer I am going to give you a few tips and try to alleviate some of the panic that may be setting in as you see your beautiful ryegrass start to turn brown. I want to explain just a few things in today’s blog that will help everyone understand the different phases of growing grass and how to get through the growing pains. I have attached several pictures that will make everyone see just how normal it is to have a few minor issues during transition. Read the rest of this entry »

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You may not be excited for 110 degrees, but your lawn is!

Yes, that is the title for my blog this week.  I would agree that no one looks forward to the extreme heat, but there is nothing better to help get rid of any remaining transition issues out there.  If you have stubborn ryegrass that has been sticking around despite your low mowing heights and reduction of watering,  a few good days above 110 degrees should take care of those issues.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Summer is the perfect time to put in your new lawn!

While many of us are dreading the summer heat, your summer grass is actually looking forward to it!   Bermuda, paspalum, and St. Augustine grasses do very well in the warmer climates, while fescue and blue/rye thrives in the cooler climates of northern California and Arizona.  Grasses flourish on temperatures that range from 90-105 degrees for warm season lawns, and 65-85 for cool season grasses. Read the rest of this entry »

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