I’d like to go over some common questions I have received through the blog in the last few weeks and see if it can help others with some of the same concerns. I always encourage everyone to send over your lawn questions and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

When should I start to transition my lawn to bermudagrass?

I always recommend starting the process slowly in March and ramping up in April so your lawn has transitioned by May. I know that was a mouth full, but the truth is it’s not a short process unless you chemically transition your lawn. In March its ideal to start to gradually lower your mowing height and remove some of the turf canopy. This is not a scalp, this is lowering the height so the bermudagrass can breathe and get some sunlight. By mid-March you should be mowing two times per week and starting to see some thinning in the ryegrass. By thinning I mean bermudagrass leaves are starting to show between the ryegrass blades. Currently there is no need to fertilize the ryegrass, its time to back off on nutrition until bermudagrass season. In early April you can lightly verticut or even lightly power rake the lawn to remove some of the ryegrass giving way to bermudagrass. The more sunlight you can get in the grass, the faster you will transition. If the ryegrass remains extremely thick and lush you can expect it to provide excessive spring shade slowing down the bermudagrass. When soil temperatures reach 64 degrees (around April 15th) go ahead and apply ammonium sulfate 21-0-0 at 5 pounds per 1000 SF to jump start your bermudagrass. Continue mowing two times per week and gradually lowering your heights until you see the bermudagrass take over.

Spring Transition, keep lowering the height…..

Can I still put down pre-emergent for broadleaves?

Most of the grassy weeds and broadleaves are now germinating so putting down the preemergent will not yield the results you’re looking for. At this juncture its best to spot spray weeds depending on the type. Make sure the product is labeled for the weed you’re trying to control and can safely be used on bermudagrass. Grassy weeds use different chemicals than broadleaves and not all chemicals are safe and effective so check with specialty stores for better products.

What can I do to repair the urine damage from my dogs?

You will always see more damage during ryegrass season than you will during the summer when bermudagrass is actively growing. While bermudagrass will still suffer some injury, it is aggressive growing in nature and will fill in the voids if you remove any dead material. The best way to treat a lawn with damage is to treat it like a golf course divot. Remove the dead material either with your hand or a hard toothed rake and fill the area with sand. If you have ryegrass these voids will start to look better as you get your mowing heights down and the bermudagrass begins to grow. While you can add seed to these areas its important to remember that if you sodded your lawn you put in a hybrid bermudagrass and those seed heads are sterile. By adding seed to the areas, you are now incorporating common bermudagrass into the lawn and it does have a different growth habit than hybrid bermudagrasses. My suggestion is to just fill the areas with sand and level them out. They will repair themselves over time with normal watering.

It’s not me killing the ryegrass……!

How much should I be watering right now?

Everyone has different sprinklers, nozzle types, soil types so this question can’t be answered in terms of minutes per set. At this time of the year there is no reason to water more than a couple days a week. Bermudagrass is not growing even though it is greening up a little with the increase in temperature. A quick and easy test is can you stick a long screwdriver easily in the ground right after watering. If the screwdriver doesn’t go in easily you know you will need to add additional time to your irrigation cycle. This is also a good time to test the output of your sprinklers and make sure they are running consistently. Set 4-5 cans out in a section of your lawn and run the sprinklers for 10-15 minutes and check the cans for volume. They should all be very close in volume. If you have a can that is well short of the others you know to make a sprinkler or nozzle adjustment or replacement. The same holds true if you put out more water than a can will hold. During the growing months you will apply about an inch to inch and a quarter of water per week.

Why do the areas in front of my sprinklers always die?

No one is immune to this problem. Remember that pop up sprinklers throw out to a certain distance, but they often start watering a couple feet beyond the sprinkler head. If you’re not getting head-to-head coverage from the sprinklers you will no be irrigating right in front of the sprinkler. The easiest fix for this is a dual fan nozzle that shoots out and down at the same time. This is a $2 fix and will keep you from getting the dreaded ring in front of the head. Another important item it to keep grass short enough the sprinklers aren’t throwing off the grass blades.

My lawn is quite shaded–what can I grow in the summer?

The best choice is St. Augustine for the shade. This can be grown in full sun or shade so you don’t need to mix varieties on your lawn for different areas. St. Augustine is not a grass that likes to be overseeded so either let it go dormant in the winter or paint it with Endurant FW.

St. Augustine for shade….

At this time, I can’t sod, when can I seed my lawn?

Bermudagrass seed can be planted around April 15th to May 1st when soil temperatures are 64 degrees in the morning.

I would love to grow something besides the normal warm season grasses, what are my options?

Kurapia groundcover is the best choice on the market right now for a drought tolerant, low maintenance ground cover that is green year-round. Kurapia rarely exceeds 1” in height. During the summer months it does establish little white flowers that can be left alone or mowed or left to grow for a natural look.

Kurapia maintained for home lawn……

This is a perfect grass for low traffic areas that you want a unique look in. Some people like to maintain Kurapia like a regular lawn and mow it weekly for a manicured look but its not necessary to mow more than monthly during the growing season. Kurapia has a 30 day grow in period like all turfgrasses where it needs regular watering to establish and then you can reduce the water by 50% and keep it aesthetically pleasing to your wallet and to look at.

Kurapia flowers during summer……..

What is the easiest way to level my lawn?

Topdressing with sand and brooming it into the grass is by far the best way to slowly fix your unlevel areas. This is not a practice of dumping a few inches of sand on the lawn and fixing holes but a process of adding ¼” of sand to the existing lawn every 10-14 days until you fix the areas. If the area is extremely low I recommend cutting it out with a sod cutter and fixing it with sand before replacing the roll of sod. If you do this keep the grass wet for a couple weeks after you put it back down.

Sand topdressing to level…..

I’m putting sod in now, can I put in non overseed?

Its ideal to put in non overseed sod at this time of the year even though it doesn’t have the color of ryegrass. It will start growing in a few weeks and there will be zero transition issues over the summer. You have the next 8 months to relax and mow a perfect summer lawn.

 

Non-overseed color in March……

As always feel free to email me your questions and pictures and I will get you going in the right direction. Just hit the “Ask Jay” button at the top right of the page.

Until next time,

Jay

 

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