WCT installing the new Sewallo GC

This has been an extremely long summer so far and I’m not quite sure if that is because I’ve spent every morning out on the trails or if it has just been hotter than normal. For those of us that are in Arizona we know July was one of the hottest ever recorded. Then we started August with 9 straight days without going below 90 degrees. That is absolutely brutal weather for us runners and non runners, but it has been beautiful for your lawn. Who would have ever thought the more we suffer the more your lawn thrives?

If you were able to get away for a little while this summer you were probably extremely surprised when you came home and saw your lawn growing out of control. It really seems like it shouldn’t, but grass thrives in heat and humidity, and it absolutely loves it. One of the biggest things I have noticed this summer with my lawn and several that I’ve taken a look at is the density of the turf. Warm season grasses except EZ Turf have a tendency to become a thick mat during favorable weather, so it is important to get the verticutter out and thin out your lawn.

Verticutting will help thin out the grass canopy and allow more sunlight and water to get into the plant. When the grass is able to take up water, nutrients, and utilize air more efficiently it helps you maintain a healthier lawn. I know that people don’t want to think about doing yard work in the summer months, but this simple little act can cut your water bill and fertilizer bill in half, and also keep you from scalping your lawn. When a lawn is too overgrown and dense your mower has a tendency to bounce over the turf profile causing scalping. Some people view scalping as a way to limit the amount of times they have to cut their lawn in the summer, but it is causing long term health problems to your lawn and you can expect the life expectancy to dramatically decrease if this is your MO.

Since we’re just a few days from September, overseeding will start to be on many people’s mind. It’s funny that anyone can even think about overseeding a lawn when its 108 degrees out, but let’s face it property managers and golf courses sometimes put extreme pressure on maintenance crews to hurry up and get a winter lawn established. This is not the best idea and you’re cutting the warm season growing window early. If you’ve read any of my past blogs you know that you want to have a lawn with no competition for 100 days prior to overseeding so September 1st will hardly fit this window for most people. Golf courses and home developments have a different animal to deal with and that is bringing in money to their respected business. A golf course knows that it takes about 4 weeks to have a fully playable ryegrass golf course and since October is typically beautiful weather they start early so they don’t lose any sales. Golf courses go to extreme measures to get a strong ryegrass stand early in the fall because they are governed by revenue not by agronomics. If they had their way no superintendent would ever drop seed before October 1st, but that would cause a loss of revenue.

In order to combat an early overseed it requires slowing down the warm season grasses with a growth regulator and realizing that what they’re overseeding into probably isn’t as mature as they would like it to be. As a landscaper or homeowner you have the option to wait so don’t get impatient and give your summer grass another month to grow.

Thick turf causes scalping

The month of September is a perfect time to really back off on your nitrogen in your lawn. The grass is already growing well because of the monsoons and humidity so there is no need to add any extra nitrogen. September is a perfect time to work on your roots by adding products such as Soil Burst 5-15-10 or Soil Burst 4-0-6. These will help keep your lawn green and not cause you to have excessive growth. During the month gradually take down your mowing heights and begin to slowly thin out the canopy to get it ready for overseed. I will tell you now and again when it is time to scalp that it is more important to have an open canopy so you can get seed to soil contact than it is to take your lawn down to the nubs. You can overseed a lawn that is an inch long, but if all of a sudden you take your lawn to a ½” without verticutting and opening the canopy the seed just lays on top of the surface for the birds to eat. Mowing shorter is not the answer; an open canopy is the answer.

You should continue to water 2-3 times per week at a 1 ½” depth and if we get any supplemental rainfall make sure you adjust your clock accordingly. If you’re using the low output nozzles make sure you’re running double the time you would run for a normal sprinkler. People often are confused because the manufacturer says they use less water. Those heads do use less water, but you have to water double to make up for it.

Overseed right the first time

As we get closer to the overseed season I wanted you to know that you can find our products in Ace Hardware stores across Arizona and California, and also Sprinkler World. Look for our Soil Burst fertilizer line for your easy 1,2,3 steps to overseeding and pick up your BOBSeed for a sod quality lawn. When you look at seed this fall make sure you spend some time looking at germination rates, weed rates, and the type of seed. You don’t want to overseed with any annual ryegrass and you want a sod quality seed like the BOBSeed. Our seed is the exact same seed we use on our sod farms to provide you with turf throughout the winter months. New to California and Northern Arizona is the West Coaster Tall Fescue seed which can be used to seed your entire lawn or to do some patch work.

I will update you as the overseed progresses and give you a detailed step by step process to make sure you have a perfect lawn all winter long.