As we approach spring I want to give everyone a few tips to help assist in the transition process. Transitioning from ryegrass back to a warm season grass can be difficult, but if you follow the instructions provided you will have no trouble getting your lawns perfect for the summer.


As the temperatures warm up we start to field calls about transitioning lawns. Here is a step by step process that can be implemented into everyone’s program over time.

1. Gradually lower your mowing heights to reduce the turf canopy. Warm season grasses are not shade tolerant and excess ryegrass provides shade. No need to scalp the lawn, just lower the height down and begin to thin out the grass.

2. Lightly verticut the lawn to open up the canopy and let sunlight into the grass below.

3. Be careful of fertilizer rates at this time of the year and stick to slow release products such as Soil Burst 4-0-6, 7-7-7, or 16-0-4. These can be applied in low nitrogen doses and will keep your lawn dark green (1.5 qts/1000 SF).

4. If you have standing water it is a great time to aerify so you can help air and water better infiltrate the soil.

5. Increase your mowing frequency to two times per week towards the end of March.

6. Gradually back off the water in April to stress out the ryegrass when soil temperatures reach 64 degrees (usually around mid April). Turning off the water completely will stress out the warm season turf and ryegrass so this is not the optimal approach. Use 60% of your normal water rate.

7. When soil temperatures reach 64 degrees apply Soil Burst 5-15- 10 at 20 pounds per 1000 SF to give the grass a jump start on the year.

8. Enjoy the beautiful summer lawn!

If you follow these quick and easy tips you’ll have a successful summer lawn, and as we all know the better the bermudagrass/paspalum the better the ryegrass is in the winter. The fertilizers I laid out for you are available through West Coast Turf and Sprinkler World locations. The Soil Burst fertilizers were designed for easy application through a built in nozzle and the non-staining products makes them an ideal product for high end residences, parks, fields, and all other lawn areas.