Lately there have been quite a few articles and stories talking about the over consumption of water in turfgrass. As many of us know parts of California have put strict demands on water usage and one of their main targets are home lawns. Over the past few years we have seen everything from districts paying home owners to take out grass, to people putting in artificial synthetic lawns. What we’re not seeing is a lot of information about how you can have a lawn and also conserve water. How do you know if you’re using water wisely? Today’s blog is all about tips for saving water and what you should be doing as a homeowner, landscaper, or golf course to help protect our natural resources. Read the rest of this entry »No Comment
I thought it would be nice to put up some pictures of common summer issues–and some easy solutions. While there are several areas I could expand, I’ll leave it to the most common areas of concern for now……
During the summer months you will see scalping in turf for a variety of reasons but some of the most common are:
1. Lawn is too lush or juiced up on fertilizer
2. The lawn is too thick and it needs to be verticut to remove dead material between grass blades.
3. The mower blades are too dull or the wheels of the mower are set to uneven heights. The picture above represents this very well. Read the rest of this entry »No Comment
Pets are as much a part of our families as our kids, and keeping them happy is important. Do you know what makes for a happy dog? A beautiful lawn!
Did you know that putting in grass has been shown to reduce ground temperatures by as much as 30 degrees? We continually see a trend for people to use rocks in their yards because they don’t like the perceived maintenance of a yard. In this day and age it is important to think about the environment. Sod cleans the air and helps recharge our groundwater supplies. Turfgrass is one of nature’s finest and least expensive filters, and works to improve the environment. The front lawn of just 8 homes has the cooling effect of 70 tons of air conditioning. Just think how happy you and your pets would be to walk around during the summer months if everyone had natural grass in their yard. You can have a beautiful lawn and be responsible if you water wisely. Grass doesn’t waste water–people waste water.Comments Off
With the rising temperatures we have quickly entered the best time of the year to plant sod. I’m sure a few of you just read the first sentence and thought that I was crazy since we’re hitting 105-110 degrees most days. Warm season turf is so well adapted to this type of weather that establishing a lawn during the summer is a simple process with the right prep work and follow up. I’m going to outline some simple cost effective steps for those looking to put in a lawn this summer.
Living in the desert we all know that water is scarce so we want to do our best to preserve it and not overuse it. One of the best water saving tips is putting in an automatic sprinkler system. Before I proceed I will tell you that I don’t recommend putting in a new lawn without one. A good sprinkler system will allow you to put out the correct amount of water in a given period of time and will help eliminate waste.
Setting up a manual sprinkler or hose is inefficient, time consuming, and most of all it is very tough to gauge the amount of water you actually put out. Before putting in an irrigation system you should by a small gauge to check your homes water pressure. Knowing how much water pressure you have will determine how many sprinklers can be on each valve. Depending on the area you will be watering you may need a couple to several valves to correctly operate your irrigation system. Most sprinkler systems are set up with a valve that controls the drip lines to the plants and then a valve for each section of the turf. A home with 1000 square feet of turf will typically have two valves to control the lawn. If you have very low water pressure you will probably need to add a third valve so less sprinklers are running at one time.
The word transition tends to conjure up some ugly thoughts in people’s minds. Transition is often used to describe moving from one stage to another or in the case of sports teams are often transitioning from one style of play to another. Fans of sports teams cringe when they hear the word transition and the same is true for most turf managers but with turf it is often an easy fix. My goal today is to answer some frequently asked questions on transition, sod install, fertilizer and watering for the summer. If you have another question that I didn’t list please let me know.
Q. I overseeded my lawn last fall and I can’t get the ryegrass to die off. Can I turn the water off and kill it?
A. Yes and no. You can turn the water off and severely stunt or kill the ryegrass but you will also do some serious harm to your warm season turf. It is best to cut your water back 30-40% and let it fade away with the warmer temperatures.Comments Off
We are starting to field calls now about the best ways to transition your lawn and as the temperatures warm up there is no better time to get started.
Here is a step by step process that can be implemented into everyone’s program over time. Please note that I will be drying down the sod at the farm to help aid in spring transition. It is not ideal to provide lush ryegrass at this time of the year that will shade out the bermudagrass.
Some people fear putting down an overseeded lawn at this time of the year but there is no need to worry. The roots of the ryegrass actually help the grass knit into the ground quicker and as the temperatures warm up the ryegrass easily transitions out. I will note that you don’t want to buy sod with 3” ryegrass but we keep our turf at ½” to ¾” at this time of the year so it makes for an ideal transition without any fuss.Comments Off
No matter how many years I live in Arizona it always surprises me how quickly the temperature goes from 50 degrees to 90 degrees. I can’t say that I’m very excited to see our first 90 degree day this coming weekend. I would be okay if we could make it until April for this to happen but we don’t get that choice. Since we rarely have a winter in Southern California and Arizona February is the month to apply your pre-emergent herbicide to control summer annuals. If you’re from back east or the mid-west you will realize this is about three months earlier than you would apply one but timing is everything in turfgrass. I spend so much time discussing weather in these blogs because every part of the grass cycle is controlled by temperature.
Summer annual weeds can be everything from spurge to any number of broadleaf weeds. These weeds attack weak areas of your lawn and fill in voids because of the lack of competition with your grass. There are a few options to controlling these and the first is to maintain a healthy balanced lawn. The second is to apply pre-emergent fertilizers, and the third is to treat weeds that pop up with post-emergent herbicides or by hand picking them.
Most people don’t want to deal with an invasion of weeds in their lawn so the easiest and most efficient way is to apply a pre-emergent herbicide. One thing you must keep in mind when you apply these is that they won’t control weeds that are already present but they will help prevent new weeds from emerging from the ground. When you’re looking at different herbicides to apply you need to carefully inspect the label and see if the product is okay for overseeded turf, non-overseeded turf or both. Most of the herbicides are okay for both but different rates will be listed on the label.Comments Off
Fall has finally made its way to the valley and with the onset of shorter days are cooler temperatures. We’re right in the middle of the overseed season and with a few weeks left to get seed down I wanted to address what to do if you haven’t seeded yet and the next step for those of you that have overseeded. The window of opportunity to overseed is actually quite large but optimally it is done between October 1st and the second week of November. That is not to say you won’t have great success if you go a little earlier or later but historically this is when the weather is on your side.
Let’s start with those of you who haven’t overseeded yet. There is no need to worry or get out there this afternoon and do it; but you should have a plan. Part of your plan should include purchasing ten pounds of perennial ryegrass seed for every 1000 SF of lawn area, a starter fertilizer, and doing a full irrigation check. I have received a lot of questions about using a seed cover or mulch to protect the seed. This is completely up to you but it isn’t necessary during this time window. The seed cover or mulch will keep the plant moist and allow heat to stay in the ground but unless we really dip down in temperature the conditions are already favorable for growth. Birds seem to be another concern but you can rest assured that you’re putting down more than enough seed to get your lawn established even if the birds throw a party on your lawn. I know many people have always covered their lawn to speed up the growth of the ryegrass. I can’t say scientifically if this works or not but I do know that we don’t cover our seed here on the sod farm and golf courses do not cover the courses wall to wall to prevent birds or to help speed up growth. A cover is typically only necessary if you’ll be applying seed to an area after a frost has occurred.Comments Off
For the past few days the deserts have finally woken up to some fall temperatures. It almost seems like the weather knew to change with the calendar on Friday but looking at the not so distant future it probably won’t stay this way. Driving around this week I’m starting to see lots of places begin the overseed process but it is still a little early to do unless you absolutely have to get the lawn done for an early event. For those of you that are new to overseeding I’m going to describe exactly how to overseed your lawn, what it means to overseed, and answer the questions if overseeding is right for you. This time of the year can be tricky for home lawns but with the right care your house will look just like West Coast Turf’s farms.
Overseeding is mandatory in the south and western portions of the United States for people that would like to have a green winter lawn. When the air and soil temperatures drop too low warm season grasses will lose their color and go into dormancy for the winter. If you’re from an area that usually receives significant snowfall or cold temperatures you’re well aware of the dormant season. For those of us that have warm temperatures during the day we have the ability to overseed our lawns with BOBSeed perennial ryegrass for the winter months to keep our lawns green.
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As we approach the end of August we are starting to get people asking about overseeded turf. When can they overseed or when will out turf be ready? I know most of us are optimistic that the end of August should indicate the end of a hot summer but we’re still a long ways off. The month of September will typically see at least 10-15 days above 100 degrees and night time temperatures will still be in the low 80’s. The last thing you want to do to your lawn is cut the growing season a month short and pay for it in the spring by having weak turf.
For those of you who follow my blog monthly you know how important it is to have a minimum of 100 days of growth for your summer lawn without any competition from ryegrass. One thing you need to keep in mind with that statement is that even though many of us think all of the ryegrass has been eliminated by June, it is doubtful unless you chemically transitioned your lawn like most golf courses do. Today’s ryegrass varieties are so strong that it takes a few days with high temperatures and high humidity to completely remove them. Have you ever gone on vacation in the month of July with a perfect lawn and returned to a lawn rich in ugly brown hues? The humidity is the final straw for ryegrass so once it hits it will eliminate your grass stand overnight if you’re not treating it with a fungicide. Many of us will try and hold on to ryegrass under a shade tree as long as we can but once the monsoon’s arrive you can say goodbye to your pretty lawn. My point being that you really need to start your 100 day count around July 1st, not June 1st because the ryegrass sticks around a lot longer than you think.
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