Now that temperatures have consistently been above 65 degrees in the evenings, it is time to start phasing out the Winter Ryegrass in your community- making way for the revitalization of Summer Bermudagrass. Here in the Arizona desert, our climate calls for two different grass species; Bermudagrass in the Summer and Ryegrass in the Winter (should you choose to overseed). This time of year the Ryegrass starts to wilt and turn brown as it dies off for the Summer and the Bermudagrass begins to sprout. There are lots of landscaping tips and tricks that YOU can do to help this transition go smoothly!
Scalping Winter Rye
It is a good practice to scalp Winter Ryegrass to about 1/2 of its typical length. This allows the heat from the sun to get through to the soil and stress the Winter grass into submission- enabling the Bermudagrass to become dominant and begin to grow.
Decreasing Water Usage
Temporarily decreasing water usage to the Ryegrass will allow it to die off. Bermudagrass thrives with less water and warmer temperatures while the Rye does not, therefore decreasing competition between the two.
Fertilizing turf using a high ammonium sulfate fertilizer weakens the Ryegrass while strengthening up and coming Bermuda. Using the right fertilization practices will not only decrease competition between the grass types but will later provide a healthy and lush Summer lawn.
While many people shy away from lawn aeration due to the unsightly holes that result, this practice is one of the best things that can be done for a transitioning lawn! Aeration allows water, oxygen, and the fertilizer to better reach the roots of the grass and will help that Bermudagrass grow in strong, healthy, and beautiful!
It is important to remember that the grass will typically appear brown/yellow and sparse during this transition time. This is perfectly normal and means that the process is underway! Being patient and allowing the grass time to go through this process will lead to amazing results and a beautiful Summer lawn!