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.


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

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.