It’s Spring! Time for Bermuda Grass Transition

Spring Transition-thermometer on grass

The temperatures are climbing and the phones are ringing with people seeking advice on how to properly transition winter ryegrass back to summer bermuda grass

Dangers of Home Remedies

You may be tempted to try a number of “home remedies” like turning your water off for a week to dry the rye grass out. However, you will be cutting off the water supply to the hybernating bermuda grass.

The wilting rye grass may cause you to think your lawn isn’t getting enough water, so you increase the water supply. This can nurture the rye grass and make for a more difficult transition period.

Completely scalping your lawn can not only kill the rye grass but your bermuda grass as well. Then nothing will spring up from your lawn.

7 Steps to an Effective Spring Transition:

An effective spring transition is achievable if you adhere to the following steps:

Early Stages

Step 1.  Monitor your local temperatures.  Once nighttime temperatures start exceeding 65 degrees  on a consistent basis (typically late April/early May), it’s time to start the spring transition.

Step 2. Reduce your watering to 70-80% of your normal usage.  This will start stressing out the rye grass but will continue to support the bermudagrass.

Step 3. Lightly verticut your grass to open up its canopy.  This allows more sunshine to reach the bermudagrass below.

Aeration and Mowing

Step 4. Aerify your ground. Aeration is the process of breaking up hard pockets of soil. This increases water penetration and nutrient uptake, breaks up soil compaction, and allows more oxygen to reach the root zone.  Most home supply stores rent verticutting and aerifying equipment.

Step 5. Gradually lower your mower settings and increase your mowing intervals to twice a week so that the grass height does not exceed 1/2″ to 3/4.”  Make sure to bag all clippings.  If they remain on the ground, they’ll create a mat layer that will inhibit the growth of the bermudagrass.  Use a rake to collect clippings if needed.

Step 6. Beware of shady areas in your lawn.  The ryegrass will grow aggressively in these area so you must maintain a low mowing height to allow the bermuda grass to get its needed sunlight.

Fertilizing

7. Fertilize and increase your watering schedule.  After about 2 weeks, you should notice that the bermudagrass is overcoming the ryegrass. Broadcast a balanced fertilizer (i.e. 16-20-0) at a rate of 9 pounds per 1000 square feet and increase watering back to a normal summer watering schedule.

Letting the Rye Grass Grow

If you allow the ryegrass to grow unchecked, it will out compete the bermudagrass. When June comes with its Arizona heat, the ryegrass will finally die and you’ll be left with nothing but bare spots. To avoid that, follow the 7 steps listed above: you’ll have a summer lawn the whole neighborhood will envy!

If you have any questions, please contact us at 602-271-4266 or info@southwestsod.com.

OVERSEED IS NOW AVAILABLE!

Congratulations!  You have survived another summer in the Valley of the Sun.  Now, you can start thinking about your winter landscape plans because our OVERSEEDED SOD IS NOW AVAILABLE!
Right now we have overseeded Midiron available, and we hope to have Tifway, Tifgreen, and Santa Ana available on the 4th of November (this date is an estimate and can change due to growing conditions).

 
Also, we are getting a lot of questions right now regarding preparation steps, so listed is a quick guide on how to properly prepare your turf area.

  1. Clear away any rocks and debris.
  2. We recommend, but it’s not necessary, to add 1 inch of mulch (8 cubic feet per 1000 sqft) and incorporate it into the ground by tilling it in 4-6 inches.  Most home supply stores offer tilling equipment for rent.  If you have an existing sprinkler system, beware of your sprinkler heads and underground pipe when tilling.
  3. If you don’t have an existing sprinkler system, now would be time to install it.
  4. After the irrigation system has been installed, level your ground using a rake to its final grade.  We recommend setting grade 1 inch below and sidewalks, driveways, and/or curb.  This will keep water from running away from the turf.
  5. Water your ground, especially around the areas that have been trenched for irrigation lines.  Make sure the ground is settled and backfill and regrade where necessary.  You don’t want to install your sod without making sure your ground is firmly settled because once your sod is firmly established, it will be difficult to re-level the ground.
  6. Order your sod because now you’re ready to install!

If you need any clarification regarding sod preparation or have additional turf related questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.  Our knowledge is here to help you with all your turf needs.

When Will The Overseeded Sod Be Ready?

“Is the overseeded sod ready?”  Over 50 percent of the phone calls we’re receiving right now are asking this exact question.  Therefore, I want to use this post to let you know when we’re expecting to have overseeded sod available.

Based on our planting dates and current weather conditions, we’re expecting to have overseeded Midiron to be available the last week of October to the first week of November, and Tifway 419, Tifgreen 328, and Santa Ana to be available the first to the second week of November. These dates can vary depending on growing conditions.

We appreciate your patience as you wait for the overseeded sod.  We do want to remind you that we are still currently providing sod, but it is not overseeded so it will go dormant for the winter as the temperatures continue to decrease.

Stay tuned to our website.  We will post an update once the overseeded sod is available to harvest.

Stop the Fertilizer

Temperatures are rising, weeds are growing like gangbusters, and your rye grass needs mowed more frequently.  That means spring is coming and it’s time to transition your lawn.
Your first step is to stop fertilizing.  You don’t want to encourage aggressive rye growth because it will compete with the awakening bermuda grass, which will need all the sun, water, air, and nutrients available to it to recharge itself from its winter dormancy.  If you allow the rye grass to grow too aggressively due to over-fertilization, you risk losing your bermuda grass when nighttime temperatures reach 65 degrees.

You won’t see the immediate impact of over-competing rye grass until the summer when it finally dies and you’re left with bare dirt instead of bermuda grass.  This will not be an issue if you stop fertilizing now.  Check back for subsequent steps in the spring transition process.

Monday’s Test Cut Results

The harvest crew has just returned from the fields with the results of the test cut for the overseeded sod.  They’ve informed me that the turf still needs a couple more days of growing time.  They said the turf looks great.  It has great color, but the roots are still a little immature. 

This causes the sod rolls to be weak and makes them difficult to handle during installation.
We’re going to do another test cut on Wednesday.  We believe with a few more days of growing the strength of the sod will improve drastically.  Stay tuned.  I’ll give another update on Wednesday. 

In the meantime, we do still have non-overseeded stock available. Thanks for your patience! 

If you have any questions, call our office at 602-271-4266.

Overseed Update: 10/20

I just walked the fields. We’re extremely close to opening up our overseeded stock for the winter season. We planted seed two weeks ago. Fertilizer has been applied and we continue to water efficiently to ensure strong germination. Our goal is to start harvesting overseeded sod next week (Oct. 24-28).  In the meantime, we will continue to ship non-overseeded sod.

Monday morning (Oct. 24), we’ll test cut the overseeded sod to see if the strength of the turf can withstand the harvesting process. If the sod is mature enough, we’ll begin shipping it to our customers, who have been waiting to order it. Thanks to everyone for being patient!

Check-in with us Monday via this blog, Facebook, or Twitter to find out how our test cut went and be one of the first to get your premium, overseeded sod for the 2011-2012 winter season.

Time to Plant-Go Get Your Seed!

The summer heat is finally breaking.  The nights are getting colder with temperatures constantly dropping under 65 degrees.  If you have plans to over seed your yard for winter green color, you need to stop by your local nursery and purchase your rye grass seed. Buy enough seed that will cover your lawn at a rate between 10-12 pounds per 1000 square feet. If your lawn’s area is 500 square feet and you want to plant at a rate of 12 pounds per 1000 square feet, you’ll need to purchase 6 pounds of seed to cover your lawn’s total area. I have seen nurseries selling bags of seed at 7, 10, 25, and 50-pound intervals. 

Be sure not to buy more seed than you need, unless you plan on storing it for next year’s planting. If you do end up buying too much seed and want to store it for next year, make sure to put it in a dry and dark place, free from intruders like rodents, insects, etc.

Now, it’s crucial for the overall health of your lawn to plant the correct rates of seed. Too little seed will result in poor coverage and traffic recovery during the winter months, creating a poor aesthetic appearance until spring. Planting too much seed will put undue stress on your bermuda grass during spring transition-the most critical time for a bermuda grass lawn-as it tries to come out of dormancy. The density of the rye grass will choke out the bermuda grass, and in June and July, you will start seeing dead spots in your yard. We don’t want dead spots!

Call our office at 602-271-4266 if you are unsure how much seed you’ll need for your yard. We have an eager staff waiting to assist you.

Overseeding is tough chore, but it can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. In essence, you become a farmer, one who preps the ground, sows the seed, irrigates, and provides the necessary nutrients to produce a healthy crop, a beautiful, lush lawn. Enjoy the experience!  And remember, Southwest Sod is here to help!

Overseed Update-When Will It Be Ready?

Last week I offered you key steps to make certain that your overseeded lawn will have the best opportunity to thrive during the winter months.  Right now we’re receiving a lot of phone calls asking for overseeded sod.  So, I want to offer you a quick update as to what the farm is doing right now to get ready for fall overseed.

Our projected start date to begin seeding is October 1.  This date could be pushed back depending on weather conditions.  Ideally, we want to begin seeding when temperatures are consistently dropping below 65 degrees at night with daytime temperatures averaging around 80-85 degrees.

In the meantime, we will continue to do general maintenance-mowing and watering.  We have stopped fertilizing however, the fields that will be overseeded to stop the aggressive growth of the bermuda grass.  We don’t want the bermuda grass to out compete the rye grass after we plant.  About September 19, we will raise the height settings on our mowers, causing the stolons to grow more vertically than horizontally, so that when we verticut to open up the canopy of the grass, 1-2 days before planting, we will have an upright stolon with 1-2 leaf blades-perfect for the bermuda grass going into dormancy.

Once October 1 hits, we will then dispatch our Brillion®  planter to fields to begin planting the perennial rye grass.  This type of planter is a drill planter, commonly associated with planting alfalfa, wheat, oats, soybeans etc., that slices the ground open to  3/4″ creating a nice little seed bed in the soil for the planter to drop seed into.  The germination rate that results from using a drill planter as opposed to a broadcaster that slings seed on top of the ground is far higher, resulting in a stronger, more vibrant lawn earlier in the fall.  The last thing that you want from your winter lawn is to have brown spots appear (dormant bermuda grass) after the first freeze where the rye grass never really germinated.

The planting usually takes about 2 1/2 weeks to complete due to the amount of acres that need to be planted.  We will start seeing germination about a week after the seed has been planted.  Two weeks after our planting date, we will apply a starter fertilizer, ammonium phosphate (16-20-0) to get the rye grass to tiller out.  Then a week later (3 weeks from our planting date) we will begin our mowing schedule.  If we are able to follow this schedule, weather permitting, we will be able to start shipping you over-seeded sod by the first week of November.

Please follow our blog or call the office, 602-271-4266, to get the most updated information on when your overseeded lawn will be ready.