By Jose Verduzco, Golf Course Superintendent
Lower temperatures and shorter days mean it is time to overseed your summer grass. Here in the desert, no grass can stay green and healthy in both summer’s heat and winter’s low temperatures. Due to this, many homeowners and golf courses overseed with ryegrass. Ryegrass is a cool-season grass that can stay green and healthy from October to June. October has the perfect weather to overseed; temperatures are ideal for fast and even seed germination. The following are some tips for a successful stress-free overseed:
Before you drop the seed, you will first have to prepare the seedbed. Scalping is the process of lowering your mowing heights to about 2/3 below the height you ultimately want your lawn to be at. Once scalped, you want to fertilize the lawn by using a complete fertilizer like 15-15-15 before you seed. This will help the seed have all the nutrients required to root and grow. Once planted, identify areas that are either south-facing or usually dryer than the rest of the lawn. Apply a layer of organic mulch over them. By mulching, you will prevent the risk of slower germination due to low moisture compared to the rest of your lawn. You are now ready to water. In the first week, you want to make sure your seed is taking up water and never dries out. Be careful not to overwater! This can cause your seed to wash out. Ideally, you want to have 5 to six irrigation start times during the day.
Run times will depend on the type of sprinkler and the location of the home. Once you start to see the seed germinating, make sure to reduce watering cycles. Keep cutting back on water until you are down to one or two start times per day.
It is now time to mow. Gradually start lowering your mowing height until you are at the desired height of cut. Never mow off more than 1/3 of the plant’s total height. Once established, make sure to periodically fertilize your lawn as well as audit irrigation for any leaks or clogged sprinklers. We hope you have a great overseed and that our tips are of some help.