When you live in Tucson, AZ, you don’t have the winter weather that your neighbors in the northern states have. This means that you won’t have to wait for the ground to dry out before beginning your spring yard cleanup. When it comes to spring lawn care, you’ll need to start by raking your lawn to remove any leaves and debris. Here a few things you can do to ensure a healthy lawn this spring in Tucson.
Reseed Bare Spots
Once you’ve raked your yard thoroughly, then you can see where your problem areas lie. There could be bare patches from neglect, high traffic or from your dog using the yard as a bathroom. If you have these spots, overseed your lawn by applying grass seed to the places which are bare. This is typically more successful in the fall. But if the spots are severe, you may have to overseed in the spring, so weeds don’t crop up in the problem areas.
If you’ve noticed an area in your yard which is uneven, you can repair that too. Because low spots can cause poor drainage and high places can be scalped by your mower, you can fill in low areas and remove areas which are too high. If you do this, it will improve the growing conditions for grass.
Plus, in a high traffic area, the soil can become compacted. When the dirt is densely packed, then the grass has a hard time taking root. This will let weeds overpower the grass and take over. To see if you have this problem in Tucson, take a garden fork and stick it in the ground. If the tines of the fork don’t go into the ground two inches, then your soil is compacted. It will need to be loosened by using an aerator on your lawn which will remove small plugs of soil from your yard.
Another issue you may have when preparing your lawn in the spring is thatch. Thatch is common among spreading grasses like Bermuda and Zoysia. The roots are tangled above ground in a mat which makes it difficult for nutrients and water to reach the soil properly. You can use a rake which is created to break up thatch or if you have a large job, a mechanized dethatcher is better to use.
Transition Your Grass Type
When spring is in the air in Tucson, you may wonder how to transition your winter Ryegrass into Bermuda grass. These are two separate grass types, so in the spring as the ryegrass dies down, the Bermuda grass starts to grow. One thing you don’t want to do is to not water your grass for a week, so the ryegrass dries out. This will cause the water supply to stop for the Bermuda grass which is still hibernating. If your ryegrass is wilting, don’t increase the water supply because this will make the ryegrass grow instead of going into hibernating.
If you scalp your lawn with your lawnmower in hopes of starting new growth, this will kill both the ryegrass and the Bermuda grass. Then nothing will be growing in your yard but weeds.
If you want to successfully transition your grasses in the spring, then start by monitoring your temperatures. When nighttime temperatures are higher than 65 at night consistently, then you can begin transitioning. Cut back on your watering by 70-80%, so the ryegrass starts to stress, but the Bermuda grass will start to come out of hibernation. Also, to open up the canopy of your lawn, lightly verticut (slicing motion versus punching) it.
Next, aerate the lawn so the water can penetrate better and increase the intake of nutrients. When mowing, lower your mower settings and step up your mowing intervals to twice a week, so your grass remains between ½ inch to ¾ inches. Bag all the clippings, so it doesn’t create a mat to prevent the Bermuda grass from growing. If you have shady areas in your yard, monitor the growth of the ryegrass and maintain a low mowing height. If not, the Ryegrass will take over, and Bermuda grass won’t get its sunlight. Fertilize and increase the watering schedule, after two weeks the Bermuda grass should outgrow the ryegrass.
Adequately preparing your lawn in the spring will give you a lush green lawn for the summer months. Need additional help with your spring lawn care? Visit our Tucson lawn care page for more information!