The Overseeding Process: First Steps to a Healthy Winter Lawn
Overseed season is right around the corner and that means it is time to prepare your turf for what is to come! In Arizona, the best time to overseed turf is in October, when temperatures are consistently below 65 degrees.
Overseeding is a process with multiple steps and it is important to follow each step methodically in order to achieve the best results! The first steps of this process should begin in early September, prior to scalp and overseed. These small adjustments will hopefully begin to slow the growth of the turf, dry the areas out, and make it easier to transition the Bermuda into dormancy. You will begin to notice the change in color and quality of the Bermuda.
Lowering Mow Height
Lowering the mow height on your turf is an important step towards the overseed process. Keep in mind that when you begin to lower the mow height it is a good idea to also stop fertilization, ensuring that the Summer turf you are trying to deplete does not continue to grow. By lowering the grass height of active Bermuda, you are also removing old dead grass and thatch buildup. It is important to remember that the initial lowering of the mow height is not the scalping event. Rather, it is a practice you can do to actively help for when actual scalping begins.
Decreasing water to existing Bermuda grass before Rye seed is to be distributed is a great idea. This helps decrease competition between the two grass types and helps in efforts to start to diminish the existing Bermuda, making way for its Winter counterpart. This can be done by reducing water by about 30% in the week prior to scalping and then stopping all water distribution about 1-3 days before.
By taking these actions now, prior to scalping efforts are to be made, you will be setting yourself up for success in overseeding. It is important to remember that during this process, turf may look different or spotty as Bermuda begins to die off. Scalping, the next step in the process, will affect the look of the lawn even more but is necessary to make way for the new rye seed to be distributed. Be sure to be patient with the process and take all meansure necessary to prepare for a beautiful Winter lawn.