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Getting Your Arizona Lawn Ready for Spring and Summer

As the temperatures begin to rise in the spring, your lawn will likely be changing color. Don't be alarmed by the color change—this is normal.

On over-seeded lawns, rye grass is beginning to wilt away as the Bermuda grows in. Trying to keep that rye grass green at this time of year will only make it more difficult to transition to the Bermuda.

Here are some easy steps to help you get your over-seeded or dormant Bermuda lawn ready for warmer weather.

Steps for Over-Seeded Lawns

Begin by lowering your mowing height. Gradually work towards removing approximately 50 percent of the leaf blade. This will open the canopy for heat to reach the soil surface of the root system.

You also have the option to aerify your lawn. This is another way to get the necessary heat to the root system and encourage Bermuda to come out of dormancy. But keep in mind aerification should only be done after May 1.

Cut back on water for about a week. Don’t stop watering completely though, the Bermuda still needs the water. By cutting back on water, the rye grass will begin to show signs of stress—this is good.

Next, use a fertilizer high in ammonium sulfate, such as Screamin’ Green 16-2-3. This will weaken the rye grass even further, but will supply the Bermuda with the nutrients it needs to come out of dormancy more quickly.

Be sure to rake the rye grass as it dies out. If it remains on the surface of the lawn it will shade the Bermuda and keep it from greening up.

General Watering Guidelines for Over-Seeded Lawns

Season Watering Sessions per Week Length *
January – March 1 15 – 20 min.
April 2 10 – 15 min.
May – October 2 – 3 15 – 25 min.

*Times based on standard spray nozzles.

Steps for Non Over-Seeded Lawns

If you opted to let your lawn go dormant without over-seeding, you will have a much easier time with the spring transition. Beginning around April, or when nighttime temperatures are consistently above 65 degrees for at least five days, you’ll want to make some slight changes in your lawn maintenance.

First, rake your lawn well to remove any dead grass or thatch that may hinder the sunlight from reaching the new plant growth. Higher temperatures and sunlight are key components to a smooth and effective transition.

Apply a turf fertilizer, such as Turf Royale 21-7-14 or Turf Supreme 16-6-8, or an even better choice, Screamin’ Green 16-2-3. This synthetic/organic combination fertilizer gives the soil much needed organic matter that has been stripped from it after years of synthetic fertilizer use.

Increase watering to twice per week at 15 to 20 minutes each time. Deeper watering will encourage root system growth.

Once your lawn begins to come out of dormancy, you may also apply iron-rich fertilizer like Super Iron 9-9-9 to help with the greening process.

General Watering Guidelines for Non Over-Seeded Lawns

Season Water Sessions per Week Length *
January – March 1 15 – 20 min.
April 2 15 – 20 min.
May – October 2 – 3 15 – 25 min.

*Times based on standard spray nozzles.

TAGS: Fertilizer, Lawn Care, Irrigation, Turf, Overseeding