Here are some helpful suggestions from our team, to help you keep your property looking beautiful.
If you have turf areas on your property, now is the time to ensure it stays lush and green throughout the winter and spring. Mid to late October is the ideal time for overseeding Bermuda grass lawns with Rye grass. The Bermuda naturally goes to “sleep” in the fall and starts slowing down its growth in mid-October when the day length becomes shorter and night temperatures are below 65° F.
Turn the irrigation off to the Bermuda for at least one week. After it’s dried out a bit, begin by lightly verticuting in at least two directions. Next, mow the Bermuda to approximately 1Ž2 inch in height. This will allow the new Rye seed to make contact with the soil. After the scalp, pick up the clippings with a rotary mower and bag them, or cut them in place using a mulching mower.
Perennial ryegrass is seeded at 15 lbs. of seed per thousand square feet. The seed can be spread by hand or push spreader. The newly seeded areas should then be top-dressed lightly with composted (weed-free) steer manure.
Irrigation, Fertilizing and Mowing
Water the turf 3 times daily at 10 a.m., noon, and 2 p.m. with just enough water to keep the top 1Ž2 inch of ground wet. This is necessary for the seeds to germinate and emerge. Once the seedlings reach a height of 4-5 inches, mow the turf at 3 1Ž2 inches. Afterwards you can continue to lower the mowing height based on desired appearance. After the third or fourth mowing, fertilize the lawn with a high phosphate fertilizer or similar blend. Irrigation can slowly be reduced based on weather and turf conditions.
Watering your winter lawn (Rye Grass) should be done no more than three times per week for only a few minutes depending on weather. Overwatering can lead to Algae and other cold weather diseases. Your Rye Grass lawn will require feeding, just like your summer lawn. Feed your ryegrass monthly with an analysis such as 21-7-14 or 22-3-9. Look for a fertilizer that contains iron or use an iron product like “Ironite” for the best results. Application rates will vary depending on size of lawn and soil conditions, however 3-6 pounds of Fertilizer per 1,000 sq ft is usually recommended. Visit your local nursery or garden center for more information.
The desert is typically dry; however, when you get rain like we have recently, flash floods become a serious problem. These can occur within minutes or sometimes hours of excessive rainfall. Sometimes heavy rain miles away can cause flash flooding in your area while the sun is out and shining. These floods are no joke. They can roll boulders, tear out trees, and wash away vehicles in seconds. People get stranded and sometimes die attempting to cross running washes. Be very careful around desert washes during monsoon season, and please do not ever attempt to cross a wash with water flowing. It takes just a few inches of water to float a vehicle. Flash floods typically don’t last too long, and it’s much better to be safe than sorry.
Rain. Wind. Dust. Hail. Ready or not, Arizona’s Monsoon Season will be here until September 30. So, if you haven’t yet, now is the time to prepare. Here are our top five tips to get your home ready for the summer storms:
The lush green turf that looks so beautiful throughout the community during the summer months is Common Bermuda grass. Known as Couch Grass or Wiregrass, its scientific name is Cynodon dactylon. We call it Bermuda Grass because it was introduced to the U.S. from Barbuda. However, it is actually a type of weed that originated in the African Savannah and India. Bermuda grass is a perennial species used for lawns or sometimes as forage (pastures) in warm climates. It needs lots of sun and grows well in tropical, sub-tropical and the transition zones. It is particularly common in the Southern US, South America, Australia, Africa, and India.
As noted earlier, trimming your palm trees is key to maintaining their health and integrity throughout Arizona’s Monsoon Season. It’s also important for minimizing damage to your property during high winds. Here’s a quick list of do’s and don’ts for properly maintaining your palms:
Following these steps will help keep your palms healthy and beautiful while avoiding costly replacements.
What is Monsoon Season? A Monsoon is a seasonal change in the direction of prevailing, or strongest, winds within a region. The Arizona Monsoon Season starts June 15 and ends September 30. The peak of the season in Arizona is from mid-July to mid-August. During the Monsoon Season, Arizona will receive approximately half of its annual rainfall statewide. Along with rain and impressive lightening these storms bring, we also are likely to experience other weather events, such as microbursts (brief, strong localized rain showers and wind), Haboobs (large dust storms), and flash flooding. Of these, flash floods are potentially the most dangerous. Please do not attempt to cross running washes. Flows can be extremely strong, and it only takes a few inches of water to turn dangerous.
When picking summer flowers, make sure you read the plant tags or speak with the nursery personnel. It’s critical with summer flowers to know which sunlight conditions are best for each species. Some cannot handle being in full sun all day or in areas where there is reflected heat from concrete, asphalt, pavers, windows, etc. We are limited in Arizona with flower selection due to these conditions. So, choose carefully and enjoy beautiful color all summer long.
The rich emerald green of perennial rye grass is incredibly inviting throughout the cooler months. However, as the daily temperatures rise and the sunshine intensifies, that lush color slowly begins to fade. To keep your turf areas beautiful throughout the warmest part of the year, you need to wake the underlying Bermuda grass carefully and deliberately from its long winter’s slumber. Some people kickstart the process abruptly by shutting off the water. This certainly will stress the ryegrass into submission, but it won’t do your Bermuda any favors. A better approach is to slowly drop your mowing height down to that which is customary for Bermuda. You should also fertilize with nitrogen every two weeks until the turf area is at least 90 percent Bermuda. Finish up by de-thatching your lawn to remove the rye grass as it dies out, clearing more space for the Bermuda to grow. If done properly, you will see a smooth transition and enjoy a beautiful lawn throughout the summer.
Last month, we offered up some advice about renovating your Deer Grasses. With warming temperatures, you can now safely move on to the remaining plants on your property. Renovate ground cover plants, such as Lantana, Dahlia, etc. by cutting them down to roughly 8 to 12 inches tall. Shrubs, such as Jojoba, Fairy Duster, Sage, Brittle Bush, and Cassia should be trimmed to a height of 12 to 24 inches. Doing so will create more open space, allowing sunlight to reach the middle of the plants. This will promote natural growth, create more plant structure, and enhance the plant’s ability to blossom and flower. If you follow this simple procedure each spring, you’ll enjoy a healthier, more beautiful property all year round.
Spring is on the horizon and it’s a great time to renovate the plants around your home. We recommend our residents do this once a year. Renovating plants promotes natural growth and increases the overall health of your landscaping. When you renovate your plants, you will notice more lush plants that are full of color. Your plants also will require little to no fertilizer as more photosynthesis occurs after renovation. The best place to start is with grass species. The proper way to do this is by cinching a strap or rope at the base of the grass about six to 12 inches from the ground, depending upon the size of the plant. Tighten the blades together and cut the grass just above the strap/rope. Afterwards, discard the clippings; remove the rope and continue to the process until all your grass plants have been trimmed. As temperatures warm, we will provide more tips to help you renovate your other species of shrubs.
The cooler temperatures we have had may have caused frost damage to some of the plants around your home. The damage occurs when ice crystals form within plant tissue, harming their cells. Leaves and tender new growth are usually affected first. Initially, they will appear wilted. This means these affected parts of the plant have died. Most plants that look dead after a frost will start to recover as soon as warm weather comes. The way they recover and how they appear may not be what you expect. The extent of frost damage and possible recovery depends upon the type of plant and how much cold they were exposed to. At this point we will learn how many of our plants did not make it through the winter. We recommended you wait until there is no longer a risk of frost before beginning spring plant renovations. Industry standard is to begin your renovations with the grass species. Grass is more hardy and can withstand a late frost if one should occur. Other plant renovations should begin in late February or early March and be finished by early June.
How can you protect your plants from cold temperatures this time of year? Glad you asked. Believe it or not, a great first step is to water the area surrounding your plants the night before a frost is predicted. Wet soil holds heat better than dry soil. The soil releases this moisture, raising the air temperature and keeping the plants warmer throughout the night. You can also cover your plants with bed sheets, drop cloths, blankets or plastic sheets to help them retain warmth. Use stakes to keep the material from touching the plants. This is especially important if you use plastic. Make sure you remove the coverings when the temperatures begin rising the next day.