Lawns in the Valley of the Sun can be difficult to cultivate, as well as expensive to irrigate. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have one, though. With a little preparation and some understanding of how to successfully start and maintain your lawn, you can have gorgeous grass throughout the year. You can even save money by scheduling your lawn irrigation so that you get the most bang for your buck when it comes to water usage.
The Basics of Starting a Winter Lawn
With summer winding down (at last!), it’s time to start thinking about your winter lawn. The process of starting a winter lawn can be extremely traumatic for Bermuda grass, even those lawns that have been growing well for years. Make sure you’re giving your lawn time to rest by avoiding a winter lawn once every three years.
Winter lawns in the Phoenix area do very well when a cool-weather grass like rye is over-seeded after the Bermuda grass has gone dormant. Bermuda grass typically goes dormant when fall rolls around, but you can help it into dormancy a bit earlier by reducing the amount of fertilizer you use, as well as decreasing the amount you’re watering.
Once the Bermuda grass has become dormant, it should be mown to a very short length; one-quarter to three-quarters of an inch is recommended. This is called “scalping” the lawn, and gives the new seed a chance to reach the soil while providing the rye seedlings room to grow and breathe. Make sure when you scalp the lawn that you don’t remove any roots, rhizomes, or stolons; these must remain for your Bermuda grass to come back in the spring.
Once nighttime temperatures fall to below 65 degrees, overseed the lawn with rye grass seed. When the seed has been spread, rake the lawn lightly and cover the entire area with a thin mulch layer. This helps the soil retain its moisture and keeps the temperature steady so the seeds can germinate properly.
For good lawn irrigation during the first week, water for ten minutes at a time, two to four times per day. Once the seedlings have emerged, water only once per day for about ten minutes. Continue this routine until the lawn is ready to be mowed the first time, when it’s about two inches tall.
When the lawn has reached this stage, reduce watering to once every three to 10 days and increase the duration from ten minutes to fifteen. Check to ensure you’re on the best lawn watering schedule by sticking a screwdriver or other thin metal instrument in the ground. It should penetrate to a depth of about six inches before meeting resistance. If yours sinks lower, or doesn’t sink to the desired depth, you need to adjust your watering schedule accordingly.
Lawn Irrigation Schedule
In order to get the best use from your lawn irrigation, schedule it during early morning, late evening or even overnight hours. If you’re using a sprinkler system to irrigate your lawn, make sure the sprinklers cover the lawn evenly as areas of high or low irrigation will affect your lawn over the long term. Don’t water during periods of high winds, either, as this can cause the water to spray everywhere except where you need it.
The Perfect Phoenix Lawn
At ACE Home Services, we believe in making the most of our water in the desert. We’ve been helping Phoenix residents for years, and we look forward to helping you, whether you need service on your sprinkler system, or a whole new HVAC setup for your home. Contact us today to learn more about our great services and commitment to customer satisfaction.