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.No Comment
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.No Comment
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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With the fourth of July landing on a Thursday this year many of you will have a long weekend so I figured I would give you a to do list for your lawn. We’re probably a week or two away from getting any monsoon activity so now is a great time to clean up the yard and get it ready to grow when the humidity starts to kick in.
Living in the desert it is often tough to get ideal growing conditions for a warm season grass. The high temperature help bermudagrass and paspalum grow but what they really desire is humidity. The humidity is a kick starter for your grass and if your grass has space to grow you can expect to see some quick changes to your lawn. Before I go into detail about what you will gain from the humidity I should address anyone that still has lingering ryegrass from the spring. Ryegrass has a tendency to stick around in shaded areas at this time of the year but you can bet the first blast of humidity will wipe it out. If you’re looking to hold on to this grass because you can’t grow bermudagrass in that spot then you will want to apply a fungicide now and every 14-21 days throughout the monsoon season. This is not a guarantee of success but the best way to try and save it through the summer. Read the rest of this entry »No Comment
I know it has been sometime since I last wrote a blog. Since I last blogged I took over a new position at West Coast Turf. I previously spent all of my time on sales and consulting and for the last few months I have spent 90% of my time managing the farms. I have been bouncing back and forth between our farm in Scottsdale and our farm in Eloy so my blog time has really been limited.
The good news is I have some good new tips for your lawn as we go through the transition period. With a pretty mild start to our summer here in Arizona we can expect that these new and improved ryegrasses will be harder and harder to completely remove.
I’m giving you one goal for the next month. Eliminate the competition with your warm season turf. Read the rest of this entry »No Comment
We all know that with the rain showers the weeds are going to start to appear in our grass soon if we don’t take some action. The best approach for early season weed issues is to down a pre-emergent and with temperatures that will be on the rise soon. There is no better time than in the next few weeks. I will be outlining the specific steps needed to take action before the weeds become an issue.
Normally when we have this cold of a year the weeds will emerge a little later than normal from the heavy freeze but with timely rains and some warm weeks we’re starting to see quite a few annual weeds appearing. If you live south of Tucson or up north where you are still getting morning frosts you can hold off on weed control until the end of the month, but for the Phoenix and Palm Springs area now is a great time to get this product down.No Comment
The past five days have brought in a weather pattern that us desert dwellers are not used to and I’m pretty sure many of you have noticed your dark green lawn turn to an ugly shade of yellow and brown. While your plants outside have been suffering pretty bad with the deep freeze there is nothing to worry about with your lawn. Ryegrass is well adapted for the cold weather and even though it is below freezing at night the daytime temperature is moving into the 40’s which will keep the lawn from going dormant. It would take a couple weeks of freezing temperatures combined with very low daytime highs for you to lose all the color in your lawn.
I have been watching all my neighbors throwing covers over all their plants in hopes of preventing any frost damage and running their irrigation water for the trees on a trickle to keep the foliage but this is not necessary for your grass. I have been by several neighborhoods where people are watering at 7:00 to 8:00am to try and get the frost off their lawn and instead of removing the frost they’re creating an ice rink.No Comment
With the holidays right around the corner I’m sure everyone wants to spruce up their lawns to show off to family and friends, so I’m going to give you a few tips to help make that happen.
We have been pretty fortunate to not receive any frost yet which has allowed the ryegrass to really take hold and start to flourish. If you’ve been following the overseed plan you should be seeing a good amount of growth and the color of the turf should be bright green. If you’ve missed a couple fertilizer applications, now is going to be your chance to really catch up and get that color back before the holidays.No Comment
By now most of you have overseeded for the fall or made the decision to let your turf go dormant for the winter. I think now is an appropriate time to talk about the best way to control your water bill and at the same time give your grass the best chance of thriving. Our extreme summers often give homeowners the wrong idea of just how much water is necessary to grow a green lawn. Read the rest of this entry »No Comment