In Arizona, we are blessed to have an abundance of sunshine and weather that affords the opportunity to have a yard full of green grass throughout the year. However, with the extreme heat in the summer and mild winters, two types of grass and a process known as overseeding is required to produce that year-round green lawn. There is simply not one type of grass available that can stay healthy and green during both the extreme heat in the summer and cold winter nights.
Overseeding For Year-Round Green Grass
Bermudagrass is typically used during the hot summer months in lower desert elevations such as Phoenix and Tucson. While bermudagrass can handle the heat of the summer, it goes dormant during the winter months and loses its green color. In order to have a year-round green lawn, warm-season bermudagrass needs to be thatched and removed. Cool-season grass such as annual ryegrass or perennial ryegrass is then planted for the lush green winter lawn.
Many factors must be taken into consideration and proper steps followed in order for your overseeding to be successful. Perhaps the biggest factor is making sure overseeing is done at the proper time. Generally, the best time for overseeding is late September to early November, with October generally being the ideal time. It is important for the daytime temperatures to be in the low to mid-80s with the nighttime temperatures dipping below the 60-degree mark. If the weather is too warm, the bermudagrass will dominate the ryegrass preventing growth. If the overnight temperatures become too low you risk frost.
When it is time to overseed, the following steps should be taken:
- Stop fertilizing the bermudagrass about one month before you plan on overseeding.
- Cut your irrigation by 30-50% a couple of weeks before overseeding and stop irrigation all together at least a week before thatching.
- Mow the bermudagrass down to ¼” to ½” and save the clippings to use as mulch later.
- Spread the ryegrass in amounts directed on the packaging. Rake the seed in order to ensure contact with the soil.
- Cover the seed with mulch or the grass clippings you saved when mowing down the bermudagrass.
- Water the new seed 3-4 times per day for 5-10 minutes each watering for about 1 week.
- As seeds begin to establish, you can gradually reduce the watering to a couple of times per week. Once fully established irrigation can be gradually reduced to once every 1 to 2 weeks.
- Mow the new grass when it reaches a height of 2”-3” making sure to not to mow too short the first few cuttings.
- After the first cutting (approximately 2 weeks after emergence), fertilize the new grass.
One important note is the bermudagrass does not die during the cool season. It simply goes dormant and loses its green color. Because of this fact, you do not have to overseed if you do not want to. It is simply to maintain a green yard year-round. In late spring, when temperatures begin to climb and overnight lows remain above 60 degrees, the bermudagrass will begin to regrow.
With a little planning, effort, and following the proper steps, you can enjoy a year-round green lawn to enhance your beautiful newly constructed or remodeled home by A Finer Touch Construction.